It was an eventful week for Dell Technologies Inc. in Las Vegas this month.
The company made a series of major announcements, including broad upgrades to its APEX as-a-service portfolio, introduction of new technologies for the edge, and the launch of a generative AI initiative called Project Helix.
TheCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, was at the conference, providing daily coverage from the Dell Technologies World show floor in Las Vegas, from May 22-24. This included interviews with Dell executives and customers, who discussed key trends within the multicloud universe. (* Disclosure below.)
Here are three insights you might have missed from theCUBE’s coverage during the week:
1. Dell is continuing to focus on supply chain alternatives to China.
Michael Dell (pictured) offered his thoughts on China and the company’s interest in building a more resilient supply chain. Tensions between the U.S. and China have led the federal government to restrict the sale of chips and chip production equipment. There were reports in early January that Dell Technologies would cease using Chinese-made chips by 2024 and would reduce the amount of other components made in that country in an effort to diversify its supply chain.
During an interview earlier this year, Dell indicated that the company was “intently focused” on purchasing components from outside China. In his conversation this past week with theCUBE, Dell acknowledged that while “China remains a large market for us to sell our products,” his company had also heard about “desire for more resilient supply chains” from customers.
“We’ve embraced that,” Dell said. “I think we’re probably ahead of others in being able to ensure that our supply chain is resilient. We don’t get to make the rules; we just deal with the circumstance that’s out there.”
Here is theCUBE’s complete video interview with Michael Dell:
2. The long game for Dell involves building out an architecture for connecting clouds, apps and data.
If there was a consistent theme throughout the three days of interviews with Dell’s top executives, it was that the company was fully committed to a strategy of building a common storage layer for on-premises, cloud and edge. Michael Dell described this, co-chief operating officer Chuck Whitten highlighted it, and vice chairman Jeff Clarke emphasized this approach in his discussion with theCUBE.
“We had the natural substrate to do that storage, that we can connect those clouds, apps and data … we’re going to continue to invest in this architecture and build this out,” Clarke said. “We think it’s game changing.”
Here is theCUBE’s complete video interview with Jeff Clarke:
The company’s message is being driven by Dell’s perceived shift in how its customers view the cloud. Customers want options for where to place data and applications, but they also want consistency and cross-platform communication in a simplified structure.
“Customers have moved out of ‘cloud first.’ I haven’t heard that phrase from a customer in a long time,” said Caitlin Gordon, vice president of product management at Dell, in her interview with theCUBE. “A lot of what we’re hearing from customers is just because they can do something, or maybe they even did it in the past, they don’t want to anymore. They need to get out of the business of more things. So, ultimately, it comes down to simplification.”
Here is theCUBE’s complete video interview with Caitlin Gordon and Sudhir Srinivasan, senior vice president of multicloud and data solutions at Dell:
3. An evolving partnership with Nvidia is positioning Dell for generative AI at the edge.
Dell has a history of announcing projects one year and then introducing them as new products 12 months later. The introduction of Project Helix, Dell’s generative AI initiative in collaboration with Nvidia Corp., will likely follow a similar pattern.
Yet the firm has been positioning itself for AI inferencing at the edge long before the announcements this month. In theCUBE’s interview with Ash McCarty, Dell’s director of multicloud product management, he casually mentioned that a key VxRail hardware product can already perform edge inferencing using Nvidia processors.
“The VD-4000 actually has two PCI slots that you can use, and you can put up two Nvidia GPUs or one large GPU,” McCarty said. “That allows you to perform inferencing at the edge, which is pretty powerful for a lot of customers. Generative AI is a huge growth area for our customers, and particularly a lot of this generation of data that they need to basically inference on, once they’ve done their training in their core datacenter, will be done at the edge.”
Project Helix will give customers access to Nvidia AI Enterprise, a software suite that can be used for building AI models and leveraging prepackaged neural networks. The combination of Dell’s hardware with Nvidia’s robust AI capabilities will be a plotline worth following over the course of the next 12 months.
Here is theCUBE’s complete video interview with Ash McCarty:
To watch more of theCUBE’s coverage of the Dell Technologies World event, here’s our complete event video playlist:
Photo: SiliconANGLE Media
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