Lenovo Introduces Infrastructure Solutions for Midsize Businesses

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  March 16, 2022

Business computing hardware launches are usually pretty straightforward. After considering markets, talking with customers and partners, and analyzing component characteristics and availability, vendors develop and launch new products with features they believe will address specific business scenarios, requirements or opportunities. But you can observe this process from another viewpoint: where new solutions reflect how a vendor perceives or understands its commercial customers.

That is an issue worth considering in the new ThinkSystem V2 solutions Lenovo recently announced for midsize companies. Continue reading

Kyndryl Charts a Clear Course with Strategic Partnerships

By Charles King, Pund-IT®

In the tech industry, strategic partnerships are often layered with nuance. Some aim to enter or capture market opportunities that the partners have recognized or targeted. Others subtly shift the stance or terms of long-established relationships. A formalized deal between long time competitors likely reflects negotiations and horse trading that went on for weeks or months ahead of the announcement.

In most cases, partnerships help the respective companies to be seen or perceived in a new light but in certain circumstances, that issue can be vital. One example is Kyndryl which since its spinoff from IBM last November has moved aggressively to ink new or expanded partnerships with IT industry stalwarts, including Microsoft, VMware, Google Cloud, Pure Storage, Nokia and AWS. Those last two provide insights on what customers and investors can expect from Kyndryl as an independent entity. Continue reading

IBM Accelerates Application Modernization with Cloud-Based z/OS aaS Offerings

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  February 23, 2022

“Legacy” systems don’t get a lot of love in the tech industry, mainly because of the way that some vendors derogate the term while hyping their own shiny new products as replacements. But any time that a new server or other data center solution is deployed it becomes, for all practical purposes, a legacy system. Most enterprises understand this and don’t abandon compute platforms without good reason.

Like what? Perhaps the most important point is how and how well vendors adapt well-established systems to support customers’ changing business needs and requirements. The recent announcement of new cloud-based programs and solutions designed to help developers modernize IBM Z applications is a good example of this dynamic and process. Continue reading

Lenovo Flexes High Performance Computing Muscle with TruScale HPCaaS

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  February 16, 2022

Choosing the technology that has evolved most over the past two decades would be a daunting task, but it is likely that high performance computing (HPC) would be among the top contenders. In the early 2000s, HPC installations and performance were largely dominated by systems leveraging proprietary technologies, such as processors and interconnects. But by 2008, eight of the top ten supercomputers ranked by Top500.org (including the top three) were based on x86 silicon from Intel and AMD.

These developments sparked a commercial Renaissance for HPC. However, while considerably less expensive than it once was, HPC still requires significant upfront investments, and tends to become redundant more quickly than other commercial systems. Is there any way that HPC vendors can help customers enjoy greater flexibility and achieve a better return on their investments?

Lenovo’s recent addition of a new HPC-as-a-Service (HPCaaS) to its TruScale everything-as-a service portfolio offers an intriguing approach. Continue reading

Dell Technologies Streamlines and Simplifies Global Partner Program

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  February 9, 2022

Programs for tech vendors’ partners don’t receive as much attention as they should. That’s mainly because as business-focused organizations, partners like solution providers, Value Added Resellers (VARs), cloud service providers (CSPs) and OEM-focused players live and work off the radars of most traditional media outlets. In addition, much of the work partners perform is done behind the scenes where they smooth rough edges, ensure that products and services perform correctly and help their customers shine.

But the vital importance of partners cannot be overstated, especially for vendors like Dell Technologies, whose years of partner development and investment have resulted in a global ecosystem that delivers over half of Dell’s orders revenue. This week, Dell’s Global Channel Chief, Rola Dagher, revealed enhancements designed to streamline partners’ experiences and help them grow and transform their businesses in 2022. Let’s consider what she and Dell announced. Continue reading

IBM UK Survey: How Security and Compliance Impact Modernization

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  February 2, 2022

Many consider regulations a bane to business. After all, can’t companies be trusted to do the right thing? Why behave foolishly or unlawfully if such actions endangered customers or investments? These points might seem reasonable to anyone not well acquainted with human foibles, but they can be harmful or dangerous when it comes to organizations that are vital to the wellbeing of individuals and communities, like banks and financial services.

In those cases, the value of industry and government regulations is clear. However, it’s worth asking a larger question: How can organizations following complex regulations also stay competitive and transform to address modern business requirements and opportunities? A new Consensuswide study sponsored by IBM queried over 600 UK-based IT decision-makers and professionals in financial services, telecommunications and the public sector about how they view regulation, compliance, security and digital transformation. Let’s review the study’s findings. Continue reading

Dell APEX: Reducing Complexity, Increasing Consistency in Multi-Cloud Deployments

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  January 19, 2022

Virtually every computing innovation has potential, often hard to define costs such as higher complexity, lower predictability and compromised security. As a result, calculating the value of IT offerings needs to include how vendors discuss and help customers meet those challenges. That has been a notable issue during the evolution of cloud computing where the simplicity and ease of accessing services from AWS and other vendors obscured concerns that might have dampened or derailed traditional IT solutions.

However, as enterprises have increasingly preferred and chosen multi-cloud deployments over single vendor engagements, the need to define and address complexity has never been greater. Dell Technologies’ new APEX services and DevOps capabilities for multi-cloud applications offer a prime example of how vendors can proceed.

Dell APEX: Increasing multi-cloud consistency

Dell expressed two goals in launching APEX as-a-Service solutions in May 2021: to simplify how customers consumed and managed IT assets and services, and to ease their access to and control of cloud compute resources.

In essence, the company was working to ensure that organizations could deploy and use compute, storage and other IT resources, whether on- or off-premises, as easily as they did public clouds. At the same time, Dell recognized the importance and value of making sure that customers’ IT assets, wherever they were located, delivered the same consistency, efficiency, predictability and security as those in on-premises data centers.

Since then, Dell has steadily added new multi-cloud solutions to the APEX portfolio, including close integration with VMware Cloud solutions, enterprise-ready data storage and protection features and collaborations with all major public cloud vendors and platforms.

Dell’s new APEX and DevOps offerings

The company’s new multi-cloud services reflect this approach for distinct cloud-focused business audiences:

  • APEX Multi-Cloud Data Services offers file, block, object and data protection solutions with simultaneous access to all major public clouds, managed through the APEX Console. This solution is designed to help customers avoid vendor lock-in, excessive fees and the costs and risks of moving data from one cloud to another.
  • APEX Backup Services secures SaaS applications, endpoints and hybrid workloads with end-to-end scalable data protection and centralized monitoring functions. Features including instant threat detection, rapid response and accelerated recovery are designed to protect customers against cyberattacks.
  • New DevOps-ready platforms and a refreshed developer portal are designed to accelerate modern application initiatives and improve developer and IT productivity. Reflecting its ongoing partnerships with leading cloud vendors, including AWS, Google, IBM/Red Hat, Microsoft and VMware, Dell is increasing its support for Kubernetes to include Amazon EKS Anywhere on PowerFlex and PowerStore, and SUSE Rancher on VxRail. The refreshed developer portal offers DevOps professionals and teams continual access to Dell’s latest APIs, modules, plugins and SDKs.

In addition, Dell announced a new cloud storage initiative, Project Alpine, which will bring the software IP of its flagship block and file storage platforms to leading public clouds. As a result, customers will be able to purchase Dell storage software-as-a-service using existing cloud credits and simplify managing and sharing storage in on-premises facilities and across multiple public clouds.

Expanded access and Dell partners

The availability of Dell’s APEX Data Storage Services is expanding to 13 countries across Europe and Asia and is also available with Equinix colocation services in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Australia. APEX Cloud Services with VMware Cloud is now available in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany.

It is also worth noting that while APEX services are available directly through Dell, the company has also designed the APEX portfolio for channel partners’ value-added offerings and customer engagements. Systems integrators with established practices around popular public cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure and Google Cloud are potential beneficiaries.

In addition, partners with storage and data protection businesses that desire to expand into cloud-based solutions can use Dell APEX as a foundation. Finally, cloud service provider (CSP) partners that are building or hosting Storage-as-a-Service and cloud solutions can use APEX Data Storage Services and APEX Cloud Services with VMware Cloud to simplify solution integration and operations while accelerating customer time-to-value and also creating opportunities to layer on their own specialty services.

Final analysis

So, what is the bottom line on these new services and offerings? From the beginning of its work on cloud computing, Dell Technologies focused on demystifying involved technologies while addressing the needs of its cloud-bound businesses. Firmly positioning itself as an agnostic cloud enabler rather than becoming tightly tied to a small handful of large vendors has placed Dell in a prime spot for developing and supporting multi-cloud solutions, including its APEX aaS offerings.

The new APEX Multi-Cloud Data Services and Backup Services extend Dell’s existing solution sets, as well as its leadership position in enterprise storage markets. The new DevOps ready platforms and refreshed portal highlights the company’s support for the increasing number of businesses planning or deploying modern and cloud-native applications and processes. Finally, Dell’s Project Alpine offers insights into the company’s future, and how it will continue to smooth customers’ journeys to multi-cloud environments and help ensure the consistency and security of their experiences.

© 2022 Pund-IT®. All rights reserved.

Dell Technologies at CES: The Importance of Endpoint Evolution

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  January 5, 2022

The tech industry is renowned for its attention to shiny new things, and there are few venues where this is more apparent than the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that takes place every January. However, while many of the products introduced and promoted at CES deserve time in the spotlight, the attention they draw is a distraction from an equally vital practical issue – how well vendors have evolved existing solutions and portfolios.

That is especially important for products used in the workplace, including endpoint PCs and laptops. Those solutions obviously need to deliver the goods in terms of promised features and performance, but customers also depend on vendors to continually enhance endpoints to help employers and employees address business and marketplace shifts. The new solutions Dell Technologies introduced at CES 2022 along with three new workplace Concepts announced in mid-December are good examples of this. Let’s consider them further.

CES 2022: Dell reimagines XPS 13 and collaboration

Launched originally at CES 2012, Dell’s XPS 13 has since become one of the company’s most iconic, top-selling laptops, and for good reason. That first generation (L321X) was Dell’s initial Ultrabook, a class of laptops that utilized a host of new technologies and features to deliver significantly better compute, battery and display performance. The XPS 13 also fundamentally altered the company’s reputation for product design and aesthetics. The XPS 13 wasn’t just a new laptop line—it was a signpost indicating Dell Technologies’ future direction.

Since then, next gen XPS 13 solutions have steadily highlighted new features and technologies developed by Dell and strategic partners, like Intel, and the 10th anniversary XPS 13 Plus introduced this week at CES 2022 continues that progression. This is the first XPS 13 to incorporate 12th gen Intel Core processors. However, new Dell fan technologies (increasing airflow by 55 percent without raising noise or temperature) enable the XPS 13 Plus to use 28W Intel Core chips (up from 15W in prior gen systems), thus substantially improving overall performance.

Along with streamlined design changes that reinforce the XPS 13 line as a solid choice for use in the office or home, the new XPS 13 Plus offers practical enhancements, including Express Charge 2.0 (which brings the laptop up to 80 percent battery life in under an hour), larger (zero-lattice) keycaps, a glass touchpad, improved InfinityEdge display and redesigned quad speaker system. The XPS 13 Plus also meets the social impact plans in Dell 2030 Goals.

Dell’s new UltraSharp 32 4K Conferencing Monitor also offers new and improved features, as well as a sophisticated design aesthetic that fits both home and workplace use cases. The monitor includes Dell’s UltraSharp Webcam (with SafeShutter), echo-cancelling dual array microphones and 14W speakers, enhancing both collaboration and visual experiences.

The UltraSharp’s IPS Black technology and VESA DisplayHDR 400 features enables content to be viewed in 4K resolution, contrast, and color, and ComfortView Plus reduces harmful blue-light emissions without affecting color accuracy. Like other Dell video conferencing monitors, the new UltraSharp is certified for Microsoft Teams and comes with privacy and productivity features.

Both the XPS 13 Plus and UltraSharp 32 4K Conferencing Monitor will be available for purchase worldwide in Spring 2022.

Dell Concepts for seamless work experiences

While the new solutions launched at CES 2022 address current issues and needs, Dell’s vision of the workplace of the future is apparent in the Seamless Work Experience Concepts outlined last month in a blog by Glen Robson, CTO of Dell’s Client Solutions Group:

  • Concept Flow – is designed to remove the productivity-sapping friction workers can experience as they transition from location to location. To address that, Dell engineers are marrying devices, industry standard wireless charging technology, intelligent software applications and Wi-Fi 6E docking technology to create a singular, seamless proximity-sensitive user experience. As a result, workers will be able to get up and running faster and with fewer steps and headaches than they currently do.
  • Concept Pari – Teams and team members often face communication and collaboration barriers when using video conferencing tools. To improve that situation, Dell engineers studied the impact of cameras and camera placement on communication and developed a small (~ 1 ounce/30 grams), simple, moveable wireless webcam with built-in microphone that can be placed and positioned virtually anywhere. Using the webcam, users can more easily maintain direct eye contact with those they are addressing and share offscreen content and images. While designed mainly for people who regularly engage in video calls, Concept Pari could be a worthwhile asset for anyone who regularly transitions between various work locations.
  • Concept Stanza – Finally, traditional work activities, like notetaking can also be improved with new digital tools. Concept Stanza aims to do that by providing workers a thin, light, port-less, 11-inch companion device for PCs. Designed to reduce distractions, using Concept Stanza is similar to handwriting notes but double tapping a note instantly converts it to text that can be saved, retrieved, searched and shared across multiple devices. Designed to be used with either a stylus or microphone, Concept aims to blend analog and digital processes, thus enhancing overall workplace productivity.

Final analysis

The new Dell XPS 13 Plus and UltraSharp 32 4K Conferencing Monitor launched at CES 2022, along with the Seamless Work Experience Concepts announced last month, highlight how the company is effectively addressing business customers’ current requirements while planning innovative future products and tools. What is clear from examining these new and potential offerings is Dell Technologies’ astuteness in balancing the market’s thirst for valuable new solutions and the need to continually evolve its portfolio of workplace endpoints.

© 2022 Pund-IT®. All rights reserved.

Lenovo Delivers AI-Enhanced Edge Computing with NVIDIA GPUs

By Charles King, Pund-IT®  December 15, 2021

The case for edge computing is so compelling that it can obscure the “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” nature of these solutions. The fact is that potentially valuable data has always existed or been generated at the edges of business networks whether they encompassed factory floors, retail outlets, remote locations, city streets or wireless infrastructures. What finally made edge computing possible and increasingly worthwhile are the evolutionary improvements that innovative vendors develop and deliver.

That point is highlighted in the new ThinkEdge SE450 servers that Lenovo introduced last week. By working closely with strategic hardware and software partners, Lenovo offers customers ways to solve complex problems with AI-enhanced solutions. Let’s consider that in more detail. Continue reading

IBM Z – Helping Enterprises Adapt to Cloud Modernization

By Charles King, Pund-IT®

Discussions about enterprise systems often focus on traditional, RAS (resiliency, availability, scalability) performance features, with nods toward developing issues, like securing businesses against rapidly evolving security threats. But a vital point that doesn’t get near as much attention as it deserves is adaptability. That is, how best and effectively businesses can integrate existing systems with new, forward-thinking strategies and efforts, like hybrid cloud and application modernization.

That is especially crucial when it comes to enterprise solutions, like IBM’s Z mainframe offerings that support core, business-critical applications and processes. As a result, the company’s new IBM Z and Cloud Modernization Center announcement is worth close attention. Continue reading