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Dell Innovation Labs Tour
November 21, 2019 News

 

During the recent Dell Technologies Summit in Austin, Texas, members of the media visited the Dell Palmer office campus in Texas to find out more about the latest innovations being developed at their campus as well as speak to some of the engineers and researchers behind some of these innovations.

The tour was designed to offer a glimpse into how Dell Technologies is innovating for the future across key growth opportunities including Edge, IoT, AI and Cloud. Members of the media learned how Dell is solving customer challenges with solutions designed to help them reach their goals in the next data decade.

The tour covered six different labs which included the wireless lab, rugged lab, design lab, HPC/AI lab, Edge lab and Futuresville lab. The media were divided into various groups and had a chance to visit all the labs. Here are the highlights from our tour at the labs.

Futuresville

The Server and Infrastructure systems mission is to perform research, projects and concepts influencing server technologies and roadmaps for driving both internal and industry innovation. Some of the past and ongoing innovations include NVMe, RedFish, Gen-Z and CXL.

Futuresville spokesperson Jon Hass explained how server disaggregation is one of the composable infrastructure systems they are working on. By collecting all resources into shared pools, the management software configures the network to connect components and assign resources. The result from this is a disaggregated server, true bare-metal bootable server and ready for installation of any OS and application.

 

The benefits of composable infrastructure include increased agility, being able to operate efficiently and unlocking values whereby technologies can evolve and be deployed independently.

For Visual Analytics Research, Bill Dawkins explained the challenges of utilising and understanding telemetry. He said the increased scope and volume of telemetry for compute and IT infrastructure meant many more dimensions of information that are traditionally dealt with by management systems and IT administrators. This includes challenges to identify what data is relevant and how to process the data meaningfully.

According to Bill, Dell is researching methodologies on visual analytics for enabling IT administrators to manage the depth, domain and scale, including handling telemetry from 100s to 10Ks sources. Several visualisation analytics techniques are under investigation including 2D and 3D techniques for presenting layered and various metric dimensions.

HPC/AI

The lab demonstrates HPC and AI solutions for Dell’s customers. It houses servers that demonstrates use cases for various industries from healthcare to manufacturing to design. There are also AI applications that can be used for certain use cases.

Spokesperson Garima Korchar said the lab provides customers access through partner technology. Among the innovations in the lab include its ability for liquid cooling of the racks where a tube is inserted into the server racks and is cooled using water with cooling chemicals.

Looking at use cases, the capabilities for design include being able to design and test an entire Formula 1 car on the server without the need of building an actual test model.

Edge

Mark Bailey, a spokesperson for the Edge lab, demonstrated POV and approach to Edge solutions. This includes the data centre at the Edge. The data centre, which is able to process the same amount of workload as an on-premise data centre can be moved around and used on locations on a use case basis or as a support and upgrade to current data centres.

Rugged

Probably the most exciting lab on the campus, the rugged lab is where researchers and engineers test the durability of Dell products for failure and determine how to make them more robust. The lab continues to develop new tests to make sure their products continue to delight customers.

Anthony Bundrant demonstrated the testing the lab conducts on rugged laptops which are used by security personnel, such as police or used in harsh conditions. The laptops are tested for durability in various settings including high and low temperatures, water resistance, shock and drop proof as well as the ease in opening and closing the laptops.

Wireless

In the wireless lab, Johnny Gutierrez and David Graves explained how Dell tests wireless networks, including the impact of 5G. This includes the development of wireless antennas for laptops which have become smaller and less obvious in newer laptops.

The highlight of the lab was Hermes, a robot which moves around the lab 24/7. The robot is used to collect data on connectivity and how it is affected by different positions and environments in an area.

Another interesting highlight in the lab was the tests on 5G, especially on latency when it comes to connection.

Design

Another interesting innovating area is the design labs. Here, designers work on how they can use recycled material, in this case being older laptops and servers, to make new hardware.

The team is also charged with the design and social impact of boxing, aesthetic and make-up of the devices. Among the innovations include the Dell Tote box, which is designed for the transportation of servers and can be reused.

The team is also working with recycled plastic from the ocean for new products. This is in line with Dell’s 2030 moonshot goals.

Moonshot goals

At the recent Dell Technologies Summit, Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Technologies announced Dell’s moonshot goals for 2030. Having achieved the previous moonshot goals set several years ago, the new long-term goals outlined within are grounded in the belief that technology and data combined with human spirit are, and will always be, positive forces in the world.

The 2030 goals include:

  • Recycle an equivalent product for every product a customer buys
  • Lead the circular economy with more than half of all product content being made from recycled or renewable material
  • Use 100% recycled or renewable material in all packaging
  • Advance the health, education and economic opportunity of 1 billion people
  • Digitally transform 1,000 nonprofit organisations
  • Encourage 75% of team members to participate in charitable giving and volunteerism in communities
  • Educate 95% of all team members on an annual basis about unconscious bias, harassment, micro-aggressions and privilege
  • Deliver future-ready skills development for workers in their supply chain

With this plan, Dell is taking the next bold step toward making progress real by setting goals across each of its key areas.

 

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