Wednesday, 11 October 2017 10:14

Dell ramping up IoT efforts

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Dell Technologies has four new product development initiatives underway to support its new IoT strategy.

Along with its "distributed core" IoT strategy announced today, Dell Technologies executive vice-president and chief marketing officer Jeremy Burton (pictured) revealed four specific projects that are under development in this area.

Dell EMC "Project Nautilus" is software for the ingestion and querying of data streams from IoT gateways in real time, with provision for subsequent archiving to file or object storage (eg, Isilon or ECS) for deeper advanced analytics.

"It is a one-stop shop," said senior vice-president and general manager of unstructured storage Mavuvir Das, as all users would need to do is write SQL queries.

"Project Fire" is a hyperconverged platform for IoT, with simplified management, local compute, storage and applications such as real-time analytics. The idea is to enable businesses to roll-out IoT systems more quickly, and with consistent infrastructure software (VMware Pulse) from edge to core to cloud.

RSA "Project IRIS" will extend security analytics to provide threat visibility and monitoring right to the edge.

Project "Worldwide Herd" will enable analytics on geographically dispersed data. This is increasingly important to enable deep learning on datasets that cannot be moved for reasons of size, privacy and regulatory concerns, said Dell EMC vice-president and global chief technology officer for sales, Patricia Florissi. The results of local analyses can be combined, reducing data traffic and meeting privacy and regulatory requirements that mean non-aggregated data must be kept onshore.

She also noted that Dell Boomi can be used to integrate analytics with systems of record. For example, analysis may reveal that certain units of a product are exhibiting premature failure (perhaps where a certain manufacturing operation was carried out by a specific piece of equipment), in which case it is important to tell affected purchasers so their products can be repaired rather than waiting for failure to occur.

The company is not going it alone. It is collaborating with Intel, Nvidia and Graphcore (which is part-owned by Dell Technologies Capital and is developing a new chip that is ten times faster than a GPU for machine intelligence applications, according to vice-president of sales Gary Nealey) to optimise servers for AI, machine learning and deep learning performance; and continuing to build its ecosystem – IoT partners include Microsoft, SAP and start-ups such as FogHorn Systems and Zingbox.

FogHorn is developing a lightweight platform for edge intelligence. "The edge needs to be more than filtering and normalising data," said chief executive David King. "The whole point is to process in realtime" in order to get the cost/benefit ratio right.

Zingbox is developing a network-based approach to IoT security. This addresses an urgent need in the health sector, said co-founder and chief technology officer May Wang, where there are still a lot of systems running Windows 98 and data is generally unencrypted. Regulatory requirements mean the software running on devices cannot be changed or added to without losing certification, hence the decision to work at the network layer to detect anomalous behaviour.

Other collaborative efforts include participation in EdgeX Foundry (an interoperability project based on Dell-contributed source code), the Industrial Internet Consortium, and the OpenFog Consortium.

In addition to its investments in Graphcore, FogHorn and Zingbox, Dell Technologies Capital has put money into IoT-related companies Edico Genome (which created the world’s first processor designed specifically for gene sequencing) and Moogsoft (which is applying AI to IT operations), among others.

Disclosure: the writer attended Dell's IoT Day in New York as a guest of the company.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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