UPDATED 12:00 EST / OCTOBER 13 2021

INFRA

Dell expands edge product line with servers, gateways and laptops for remote deployment

Dell Technologies Inc. today is stepping up its push to gain a place at the edge of corporate networks with a set of new servers and special-purpose platforms designed to capture and process data in remote and extreme environments.

Edge computing is a distributed architecture that places content, data and processing closer to the applications, devices and users that create and consume them. International Data Corp. predicts that over half of new enterprise information technology infrastructure deployments will take place at edge locations by 2020, up from less than 10% today.

Makers of computer and network hardware, telecommunication providers and cloud platform companies have been jostling for positions in anticipation of this spending surge. Today’s Dell announcements include new satellite nodes based on its VxRail hyperconverged infrastructure, a gateway for connecting multiple edge devices, a platform for streaming data ingestion and ruggedized versions of two models of its Latitude laptops.

Remote VxRail

The VxRail satellite single-node deployments were co-developed with Dell subsidiary VMware Inc. and can be used for operations automation and equipment lifecycle management from a centralized location without the need for local technical resources, the company said.

“You can take what you have today in VxRail, deploy satellite versions into hundreds of locations and have centralized management and control while still letting users in remote environments directly access the resources and information they need,” said Aaron Chaisson, vice president of portfolio marketing at Dell EMC.

A new Dell EMC Edge Gateway can be used to control multiple edge devices with storage and compute capabilities that can run localized data processing and analytics applications. The fanless server is built to withstand temperatures ranging from minus 4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and connect to 5G and wireless networks in harsh industrial environments.

The Dell Latitude 7330 can withstand 140- degree temperatures and a six-foot fall. Photo: Dell Technologies

The Dell EMC Streaming Data Platform uses graphics processing units to ingest streaming video in a low latency and frame rate environment and feed data to analytic servers. Customers can start with a single-core version and scale up over time. Data streams can be fed into either VxRail or Dell PowerEdge servers.

“If you want high availability, go VxRail; if availability is not a priority you can go with PowerEdge,” Chaisson said. “This bridges the operational technology and IT environments with a platform for real-time analytics against independent individual data streams that also bridges to IT environment for correlation analytics and model training.”

Ruggedized versions of the Latitude 5430 and 7330 laptops are both designed to withstand harsh environments, with the 14-inch 5430 optimized for weight and the 13-inch 7330 for size. The 5430 is described as “semi-rugged,” while the 7330 is built to withstand more extreme environmental conditions, including being dropped from a height of six feet. Both support Wi-Fi 6E and 5G wireless networking, deliver battery life of up to 25 hours with dual hot-swappable batteries and feature bright screens for use in daylight.

Vertical plays

Dell is also courting the telecommunication companies that are building out the 5G wireless infrastructure that’s expected to undergird many edge environments. It’s offering Bare Metal Orchestrator telecom software that can be used to automate the deployment and management of hundreds of thousands of servers across geographic locations. The goal is to support deployments based on 5G and the underlying Open Radio Access Network control plane.

The orchestrator gives telecom providers the means to discover servers, bring them online and deploy software through declarative automation, in which the operator specifies the precise instructions for such functions as deploying software stacks and managing workloads.

Finally, the company is releasing a Validated Design for Manufacturing Edge co-developed with Litmus Automation Inc., a maker of industrial platforms for internet of things devices. The specification is intended to help businesses “connect, manage and orchestrate disparate industrial edge devices, data and applications with no programming required,” Dell said.

“This is our effort to accelerate smart manufacturing outcomes,” Chaisson said. He called the design “a fully validated end-to-end manufacturing edge solution purpose-built for manufacturing using compute, scalability and security from VXRail and PowerEdge servers.”

Photo: LinkedIn

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