Motorsport Duality and the Modern Data Center

first_imgIn motorsport racing, Formula One (F1) and IndyCar provide a great experience for spectators, an impressive safety record for the drivers considering the nature of the sport, and great returns for their sponsors. They also have evolved different approaches to solving their technical challenges, in particular how they spread their costs across the teams participating in each sport. There’s a close correlation between the divergent approaches taken by F1 and IndyCar, and the strategies we use in selecting infrastructure for enterprise datacenters. I’ll be diving deeper into this topic at Cisco Live! 2017 in Berlin later this month (details below), but read along and give me feedback if you’d like a preview.Formula One cars are individually designed, hand assembled by each manufacturer and precisely tailored to the driver, the engine and the powertrain. They are the pinnacle of optimization. They also carry a price tag appropriate for that optimization, with many teams spending upwards of $100M each year just on the R&D and production of the cars.All teams in IndyCar racing use the same chassis and running gear, one of two engine options, and for most teams, aero packs supplied by the engine manufacturer. They are as fast on the straight and banked curves as F1 cars, but unlike F1 cars, they cannot maintain that speed around the flat corners and chicanes common across all F1 tracks. The selection of a single chassis and two engines allow costs of R&D and manufacturing to be shared across all teams, resulting in a typical IndyCar team spending a mere $3M each year on their car, about 3% of what an equivalent F1 team will spend.Neither F1 nor IndyCar are wrong with their strategy. Both organizations have selected an approach that works for their sport, their sponsors and their spectators.What works in motorsports also works in the data center. Some applications benefit from tight optimization between the application and infrastructure, and it is both practical and a good investment to spend a little more for that optimized approach. Other application environments, particularly those providing more of a cloud-centric capability, don’t realize any meaningful benefit from optimizing for a particular goal. They are better deployed using Engineered Systems, which includes the Dell EMC Vxblock System, Dell EMC VxRack and VxRail, where the cost of R&D and manufacture is amortized across all users.Imagine a system that arrives in your data center, ready to go, with ACI provisioned on the switches, the compute blades and the hypervisor; a system where the network traffic is appropriately and correctly distributed across all switch port groups; a system where the storage traffic and the production network traffic are balanced, and where licenses for network and SAN ports are not a sudden surprise.There are other clear benefits from integrating all components into a system. The sunroof and the radio in many modern cars are fully integrated into the operational aspect of the car. Answer a call on your Bluetooth equipped cellphone, and the radio mutes, while the speakers become a part of the phone audio system; press the lock button on the remote, and the sunroof automatically closes.The network is a critical component for all services in the data center, and yet too frequently, it is treated as an after-thought. Engineered Systems design and build-in the network as part of the overall system in the same way that the radio and sunroof are part of the system in modern cars. The network is integrated as part of the design process, not as an optional component, and the rest of the system benefits from that integration. That means you get to benefit as well.These benefits extend into the day to day operational aspects. We’ve all muttered “there but for the grace of god” as we read horror stories about supposedly redundant networks that turned out to be anything but redundant. As each engineered system is, like the IndyCar chassis, a manufactured object rather than an ever-evolving prototype like the F1 chassis, the redundancy designed-in to an Engineered System will always exist when those systems are operating in the data center.There is a place for highly optimized environments in the data center, where the performance of the application demands that optimization, and where the benefit justifies the incremental cost. Many applications however, don’t need, and provide no incremental benefits from over optimizing. For those environments, you can benefit from the reduced costs and integrated network that Engineered Systems provide. Dell EMC is unique in offering a selection of products from servers, network switches, storage arrays and software through to fully Engineered Systems. A single supplier can now meet your needs for optimized environments and for general purpose, re-usable infrastructure.If you are planning on visiting Cisco Live! in Berlin later this month, I’d like to invite you to a session I’ll be co-hosting with Stefan Daiber from ScanPlus on “Letting software drive your data center foundation services”, where we will be discussing this topic in greater depth (Wednesday, February 22 at 12:30 CET in the Innovation Theater, Hall 3.2). Sources for comparisons: read more

Giving Tuesday: Dell Team Members Make a Difference in Puerto Rico

first_imgIn the rural, mountainous town of Jayuya, Puerto Rico, Dell Services Director Jeff Poyner looked around and surveyed how locals were reacting to the devastation of their homes. Weeks earlier on September 20, Hurricane Maria slammed into the island as a fierce Category 4.Poyner and his volunteer team arrived from the U.S. by a humanitarian flight to help. A self-described “tech guy,” Poyner lives in Oklahoma and found himself here after learning how severely disconnected this isolated area was from the rest of the island – and the world.Jeff Poyner’s volunteer work in Jayuya included mobilizing a local school’s kitchen and securing a satellite phone for the community’s use.His goal: to re-establish emergency communications by providing satellite broadband in the hardest hit parts of Puerto Rico. As it turns out, Poyner and his co-volunteers did much more.When Poyner and team arrived, it had been a week since supplies were last delivered to this area – and the roads were still impassable. Right away, they noticed some things: Bamboo was being used to direct spring water from a local river for drinking and washing. The villages had gardens, but the winds had stripped the plants bare. While the local store had some food, the doors were locked. The banks and ATMs couldn’t distribute cash, so people had no way to pay for things.So, Poyner helped organize the purchase of food, infant formula and bottled water – funded by Dell – and had it delivered by a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) helicopter. He then worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to make sure those supplies were distributed fairly.“I’ve learned from leaders in my work, when you’re analyzing a business situation, you have to focus on people first. In a disaster, that’s even more important. You need to be thoughtful about connecting people with the things they need the most, like food and water – before you look at everything else,” Poyner says.Poyner’s trip was part of a volunteer effort organized by the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC), a non-profit started in 2008 in Fort Worth, Texas, with the mission to provide communities with the technical resources necessary to continue operations and begin recovery after a disaster. Much of ITDRC’s efforts after disasters are made possible due to the partnerships and cooperation with numerous partners such as Dell, Dish network, Google, and more. Poyner and ITDRC first volunteered together after Hurricane Harvey, setting-up internet access stations in over eight shelters.These are tech professionals with the skills to tackle big obstacles.Poyner arranged for the shipment of over 50 Dell Chromebooks for use by Puerto Rico residents at over 23 sites where he and ITDRC made internet-based communications possible. This Dell equipment is still being used today so citizens can contact FEMA and loved ones.ITDRC Operations Director Joe Hillis says, “Disasters typically interrupt telephone and Internet communications for days, or even weeks. In this case, it’s been months – leaving survivors feeling isolated and afraid. Technical skills like Poyner’s and those of ITDRC’s 900-plus volunteers nationwide are critical to restoring communications – and the physical, emotional, and economic security of a community.Hillis says it could take years to rebuild the telecommunications infrastructure in Puerto Rico.“Our mission is to provide temporary communications and technical resources for key critical resources like hospitals, public safety agencies, as well as public gathering spaces in the interim,” Hillis adds.Jeff with the ITDRC team in Puerto Rico. The team installed Wi-Fi and telephones for the Puerto Rico Secretary of State’s team inside the convention center (pictured).Since joining Dell in 2007, Poyner has volunteered hundreds of hours. He’s developed a knack for figuring out how to get the right Dell technology, volunteers and more to help after natural disasters. His previous work experience as a Dell disaster recovery specialist has come in handy, he says. Poyner’s mom, a long-time American Red Cross mental health volunteer, continues to inspire him.“Volunteering can take you to new places and introduce you to new people and new things,” Poyner says. “I’ve learned a lot from getting out there and figuring out how to support others in tough situations.”Many Dell employees share this sentiment – with adventures in volunteerism experienced by over 42 percent of Dell professionals around the world in 2017. Dell encourages community service for many reasons, including that it boosts team members’ happiness and helps team members gain new skills and insights they can use in service to Dell customers. Team members may volunteer for any charity of their choice, during or after work hours.“In this challenging year of catastrophes, Dell team members have volunteered hundreds of hours to relief and recovery efforts and donated more than $643,000 toward disaster relief.Share“In this challenging year of catastrophes, Dell team members have volunteered hundreds of hours to relief and recovery efforts and donated more than $643,000 toward disaster relief,” says Dell Latin America Giving/Global Disaster Relief Response Manager Alicia Lopez. This amount includes Dell-match funding; Dell matches every dollar donated up to $10,000 USD per team member, per year.Dell is celebrating Giving Tuesday by recognizing Poyner and others for their volunteer work. Dell volunteers from many facets of Dell’s business traveled to Puerto Rico to assist FEMA, American Red Cross and ITDRC to help restore critical infrastructure.Highlights of efforts by Dell team members include:The Dell Logistics Team gathered and delivered donations – including food, batteries, and first aid kits – from global Dell employees to the Puerto Rico Community Foundation.Magda Sanchez, a strategist with Dell Customer Support Services; Ileana Isern-Flecha, a senior advisor for Dell SDS Business Intelligence and Mariely Franzetti, Dell Vice President of Support Services IT, volunteered over 100 hours collectively in numerous initiatives for Puerto Rico. These employees coordinated Dell’s purchase of two generators that Poyner then used to mobilize the local schools’ kitchens in Jayuya.“We treated this like a work project and used our skills to network and work through logistics to get supplies to our Dell employees and whomever else we could help in Puerto Rico,” Sanchez says. With the help of their colleagues, family and friends, they raised over $83,000 and donated it to the Puerto Rico Community Foundation.Luis Feliciano, a Dell project manager in Texas, volunteered for over a week and continued Poyner’s onsite work with ITDRC. Feliciano grew up in Puerto Rico and in a twist of fate, found himself helping in Barceloneta – his own hometown.“We were asked if we could bring their 911 dispatch system online, as well as deploy Dell Chromebooks to help expedite the process of processing FEMA and other emergency assistance applications. We were able to do just that,” he says. “It’s difficult to express how happy I was to lend a hand to my hometown neighbors and to the island as it recovers.”Today, only half of the island’s more than three million residents have had their electricity restored.There are many ways to help Puerto Rico. A few options:Support the Puerto Rico Community FoundationSupport ITDRCHelp people affected by Hurricane Maria by visiting org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MARIA to 90999 to make a $10 donation.To learn more about how Dell technology and Dell employees support others:Support for Hurricane HarveyTeaming Up with K9s For Warriors to Help Veterans in NeedTeam Rubicon Military Veterans Take Dell Rugged Where Disaster Strikes This article shares one example of how Dell is committed to driving human progress by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet. We call this our Legacy of Good.Explore our FY17 Annual update on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan at read more

Technology Tales of the Unexpected

first_imgCome meet us! Visit the Dell EMC OEM & IoT Solutions Team at Dell Technologies World, Booth#1629, Mon 4/30 through Wed 5/2.To learn more about Dell EMC OEM Solutions, visit: in touch. Follow @DellEMCOEM on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn OEM Showcase page here.[i][ii] National Patient Safety Agency -March 2010[iii] World Health Organization -World Cancer Report 2014[iv] US figures -AAMC 2014 When I was a kid, I used to love watching TV programmes with an unexpected twist. This week, as I attend Dell Technologies World, I’m reminded once again that technology is turning up in all sorts of surprising places. It’s technology with a twist!From days to hours in the labTake the science lab. Scientists and doctors have made huge advances in medical research but we rarely hear about the role of technology. Did you know that Dell EMC PowerEdge R730 servers. powered by Intel’s high-powered Xeon processors and Isilon storage products form part of a next-generation solution that is speeding up genome sequencing and helping advance medical research into cancer and other serious diseases? I was amazed to learn recently that scientists can now sequence an entire genome in 22 minutes, while the process previously would have taken days. [i]Undergoing testsWe’ve all undergone medical tests at some stage in our lives. Traditionally, pathologists prepare the sample for viewing on a glass slide under a microscope. Sometimes, they decide to re-test or seek a second opinion. Apart from the time delay in communicating the results to patients, the cost of shipping glass slides is high and specimens often get lost or damaged in transit. In fact, I believe that in some instances, health authorities are using taxis to transport slides between hospitals! Can you imagine the cost overhead and the risk of damaged or mislaid slides?Delays in diagnosisFrom the human perspective, studies suggest that slow decision making can account for up to 41 percent of delays in cancer diagnosis, adding to the awful stress already endured by patients and their families. [ii]As the number of cancer cases continue to grow globally[iii], the number of tests that need to be applied is also increasing exponentially but there is a general shortage of pathologists with over 60% of active pathologists aged 55 years or older. [iv]Technology to the rescueCan technology help solve these tough challenges? The answer is a resounding yes. While reliability, speed and performance are important factors for any business, they are crucial when it comes to medical research and patient care. Picture an automated digital solution with Dell EMC PowerEdge servers processing the data while a Precision workstation is used to view the scanned images with Dell EMC Unity or Isilon providing storage capacity.Replacing the microscope with the computer screenFolks, this is not the future – these kinds of solutions are already revolutionising healthcare. Did you know it now takes a mere 60 seconds for a glass slide to be scanned and available for viewing in 3D at 40x magnification? The reality is that a computer can analyse samples faster and more accurately than the human eye, using a microscope. In fact, a computer can detect differences in samples that look identical to us humans.Faster, more precise analysisLooking ahead, this means a high volume of samples could be accurately screened by technology with pathologists focussing their expertise on the small sub-set that need clinical review. The result? Faster, more precise diagnosis of tissue samples, a better patient experience and increased diagnostic confidence. The good news is that this technology is now on the cusp of mainstream acceptance and is a great example of how limited resources can be used to cope with growing, ageing populations with chronic diseases while also achieving better results.Analysing data real-timeIf a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy visits the doctor, the big questions top of mind will be how am I doing? Is the chemo working? To address these important questions, regional clinics can now analyse the data on site in real-time, using the OptiPlex XE3 diagnostic solution and the Dell EMC PowerEdge XR2 server. Both products feature enhanced operating temperatures, which allow the technology to be used in a non-typical data centre environment, for example, the clinic’s back closet where it addresses the need to compute closer to the Edge – near the patient.Predictive analysisSome clinics are even taking things a step further, realizing that there is a lot to be gained from this data that they have collected and analysed. Using Dell EMC’s Isilon storage at the clinic’s primary headquarters, data is being used to predict patterns and trends, which will hopefully lead to better patient diagnosis and outcomes.Fast record retrieval and automated medication stock systemsThe list goes on. At the bedside, doctors are using all-in-one screens and data archiving systems to retrieve patient records. Many hospital pharmacies have automated medication stock intake, recording, storage and order picking with a customised desktop operating as the control unit for the solution. Streamlining these processes helps reduce the potential for human error and saves a substantial amount of time, which can help hospitals facing ever-tightening budgets.Remote and preventative careWe are also seeing doctors using technology to remotely monitor patients with cardiac disease after discharge. With an emphasis on preventative care, there is an explosion of data with IoT wearables and appliances. Imagine using a smart toothbrush that can predict your likelihood of developing heart disease or wearing contact lens with built-in sensors that can detect biomarkers for diabetes – the ultimate in predictive healthcare!New disease insightsMost importantly, technology is helping doctors to support patients. Sharing knowledge helps clinicians make informed decisions while large sets of clinical data and aggregated views of a patient’s clinical work-up offers the potential of new insights into diseases. Experts believe that all these developments will support the broader adoption of personalised medicine with the promise of tailoring diagnosis and treatment to patients based on their genetic makeup.That’s our hope too – exactly why we’re investing in additional resources in this area. Expect to hear more on the role of technology in healthcare from David Warke, our newly appointed Business Development Manager for EMEA.Dell EMC OEM is proud to play its part in revolutionising healthcare. Please join the conversation. I’d love to hear your comments and questions.last_img read more

Beginning With the End in Mind

first_imgI’m fascinated by the ability of design to solve problems. At its core, the circular economy is a revolution in both intention and design. It’s s an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative and it aims to ‘design out’ waste. Waste simply does not exist—products are engineered and optimized for an extended initial lifespan before entering the cycle of disassembly and reuse. I was fortunate to get to talk about just this at a recent virtual panel put on by GreenBiz at their Circularity 20 Conference. I was joined by representatives from the apparel and DIY industries to explore the sustainability impact of product design that emphasizes repairability and resilience.Unfortunately, designing for extended life and repairability has not always been at the forefront of product concepting, for several reasons. It’s often more expensive and can take more time upfront in the design process. It’s also not compatible with a business model of planned obsolescence — which has contributed heavily to today’s throwaway culture that prefers replacing over repairing. However, designing for product durability and an ability to be easily repaired is a key component of the circular economy because it keeps a product out of any potential waste loop for as long as possible.“The design mind needs to focus not on generating difference and change seasonally but rather generating the opportunity for the redeployment of a first-generation object to new second-generation material.” — Paul Dillinger, VP, Head of Global Product Innovation, Levi Strauss & Co.In addition to the physical structure of a product, however, designing for circularity also includes specifying the right materials. Using recycled or repurposed materials – preferably sourced from a closed loop — is one tactic. But if those resources are made from a composite mix, it creates issues at the end of the new product’s life cycle, because mixed materials can be very difficult to separate for reuse. To be truly sustainable, materials need to be easy to break down for proper repurposing. Again, this can add expense during the initial product’s creation. In some cases, it can also limit consumer choices; for example, the fibers of denim jeans that include spandex for stretch cannot be teased apart.Right now, not very many virgin materials are even getting that chance for a second use. According to McKinsey, six out of every 10 garments purchased are incinerated or buried within the first year after production. When it comes to e-waste, the statistics are equally disheartening. Even though it’s one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world, less than 20 percent of electronics are responsibly recycled today.“Dell’s designers are the only designers who go to the recyclers every year and take apart their own products.” — Kyle Wiens, CEO, iFixitAt Dell Technologies, we are leading the way in reducing and recycling e-waste. One of our key principles regarding the circular economy is Transformation – changing the way we design and deliver products and services to align with responsible sustainability. Our design standard is simple: no computer should go to waste. This commitment begins with a systems-level view of all of our product lifecycles. Our designs emphasize ease of repair and recyclability from the start — with very successful results. In fact, the Dell Technologies Inspiron laptop received the top score of 10 from iFixit for the way its design supports easy repair and upgrades. Other exciting initiatives we’re working on involve the use of AI and ML to design products with self-healing technologies that can actually reconstitute and repair themselves to avoid downtime.“It is critically important to incorporate circular principles in the design phase. We are always seeking ways to make our products easier to repair and disassemble — and that starts with design.” — John Pflueger, Principal Environmental Strategist, Dell TechnologiesDell also offers PC as a Service (PCaas) by combining hardware, software and lifecycle session in exchange for monthly fees. Consumers who subscribe receive the latest technology every 36 months yet support sustainability. The program’s easy takeback allows us to easily refurbish entire PCs for resale or dissemble them to reclaim components for upcycling or recycling — a process made easier with thoughtful design.That thoughtful design includes looking for ways to make it easy for the materials we use to be recycled. For example, we will take the plastics recovered through our takeback programs and if they cannot be repurposed, we work with our partners to shred, melt and reblend them. We then use this recycled plastic at a 35 percent blend rate to make new parts. Currently, these “closed-loop” plastics feed parts into more than 125 different Dell products.More companies are beginning to adopt circular design initiatives as consumer opinions change with regards to what sacrifices they are willing to make for the sake of environmental responsibility, such as a higher price or a particular style. Also — and this is the key because the bottom line is always a driver — it’s becoming easier and more affordable to support the circular economy as technology improves.That technology improvement includes advances in AI and ML. Some exciting initiatives we’re working on involve the use of AI and ML to design products with self-healing technologies that can actually reconstitute and repair themselves to avoid downtime. And there will come a day, sooner than you might think, where AI will be able to manage a computing “subscription” and identify exactly what you need, based on how you use it. There are many roads to circularity, and at Dell Technologies, we’re exploring as many as possible to achieve our goal of a more sustainable future.last_img read more

Italian premier resigns, setting off scramble for new allies

first_imgROME (AP) — Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has resigned after a key ally yanked his support from his government. Conte is hoping to get President Sergio Mattarella’s support so he can form a new coalition government to steer Italy through the pandemic. Mattarella can ask Conte to try to form a broader coalition government, mandate a new prime minister to try to form a government from the same parties, appoint a largely technical government or call an election two years early. Conte’s government was thrown into turmoil this month when a junior coalition party headed by ex-Premier Matteo Renzi yanked its support. The president will begin consulting with leaders of political parties on Wednesday.last_img read more

Myanmar, Russia pose early tests for Biden’s foreign policy

first_imgWASHINGTON (AP) — A military coup in Myanmar and a mass crackdown on dissidents in Russia are presenting early tests for the Biden administration as it tries to reestablish American primacy as a worldwide pro-democracy leader. President Joe Biden and his nascent foreign policy team have been confronted with two serious challenges in two parts of the world. The U.S. has invested decades of time, energy and money into promoting democracy in both Myanmar and Russia but now faces challenges in each that could affect the global balance of power. Yet, the tools at its disposal — sanctions — have proved unreliable in prompting change in the past.last_img read more

Boeing giving employee bonuses despite losing $12B last year

first_imgSEATTLE (AP) — Boeing Co. will pay out annual performance bonuses next month to most employees despite losing $12 billion over the last year during the coronavirus pandemic. The Seattle Times reported that most employees did not receive annual bonuses last year after the company lost $636 million in 2019 because of the grounding of the 737 MAX by the Federal Aviation Administration. In response, the company in February changed the structure of its incentive plan, tying its financial goals to the timing of the first delivery of a 737 MAX after its ungrounding. The company’s bonuses were previously based on profits.last_img read more

US Marshals deputy shot, suspect killed in Baltimore

first_imgBALTIMORE (AP) — Authorities say a U.S. Marshals Service deputy has been shot and wounded and a suspect has been killed while law enforcement officers served an arrest warrant in Baltimore. Baltimore police spokeswoman Lindsey Eldridge said in an email that the suspect was shot by return fire and died after Thursday morning’s shooting. The Marshals Service tweeted that the deputy was taken to a hospital with serious injuries and was recovering from surgery. The shooting occurred while members of the U.S. Marshals Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force were serving an arrest warrant on a suspect wanted for armed robbery and attempted murder.last_img read more