Dell combines its hardware into a single autonomous infrastructure called PowerOne

*This story was updated Nov. 13 to include additional information and quotes from John Roese and Scalar, a CDW Company


AUSTIN — Dell Technologies is combining its compute, storage and networking portfolios into a single autonomous system called Dell EMC PowerOne, with its subsidiary VMware acting as the glue to help manage multiple clouds.

The unveil took place at the Dell Technologies Summit Tuesday. John Roese, president and chief technology officer of products and operations, said PowerOne is far ahead of the competition’s attempts at building autonomous infrastructures.

“The rest of the industry candidly isn’t capable of doing what we’re doing because we’re automating the entire compute storage network infrastructure,” Roese, who was sitting with Dell founder and chief executive officer Michael Dell, told reporters during a roundtable discussion.

Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell speaking at the company’s summit event in Austin. Photo by Alex Coop.

The two were careful not to label the device as fully autonomous.

“We’re at the state now where automation can be aggressively implemented, but we have to take into account that there are human beings involved and they have to develop trust for these types of environments,” explained Roese.

That trust makes it easier for developers to focus on building applications that help the business, and less about managing the infrastructure.

“Some customers have realized that the time spent managing nerd knobs is not a productive use of their time … [with PowerOne] you don’t see Ansible or Kubernetes,” he said.

PowerOne’s controller uses a Kubernetes microservices architecture and Ansible workflows to automate the configuration, provisioning and lifecycle management of the components.

But people who do want to play around with the PowerOne’s “nerd knobs” can do just that.

“But there are lots of customers that do want to play with those nerd knobs and make configurations. Most people who build automation frameworks don’t bother to think about the second order of effects when someone makes a configuration change. You want a system that isn’t academic and actually works in the real world. That’s why it took us a few years to build this, it’s based on 10 years of doing this type of work.”

Dell  – that’s Michael Dell – said PowerOne wasn’t created in a vacuum.

“This is actually what customers asked us to create.”

With the prospect of self-driving cars looming over cities across the world, executives throughout the summit indicated the importance for this type of autonomous infrastructure to be in place.

Estimates vary, but a single, self-driving test vehicle produces roughly 10 terabytes of data in a single day of driving, according to a 2018 Accenture report, and as cars with higher autonomy levels are released to the market, cars need to handle substantially larger amounts of data.

“It behooves companies to consider data-related processes and infrastructure needs early in research and development to pre-empt the complex issues that arise as operations scale,” the report reads.

PowerOne has an obvious use case in the automotive industry, but it’s likely to gain traction in the healthcare and financial verticals as well, explained Bill Wavro, president of Dell Financial Services for Dell Technologies.

PowerOne is available through Dell Technologies on Demand, a set of consumption-based and as-a-service offerings that added the PowerEdge server portfolio to the offering this week.

Scalar, a CDW Company, was an early adopter of the Dell Technologies Isilon Flex on Demand solution for its StudioCloud offering.

Kris Kostiuk, global director of business development and media and entertainment (M&E), told Channel Daily News that the company is looking forward to bundling Isilon and Dell PowerEdge compute, in addition to Dell Precision workstations for a bundled “Studio-as-a-Service”. But when it comes to PowerOne, Kostiuk wasn’t sure where it would fit best within its M&E vertical.

“Although our M&E vertical may not be the perfect fit for PowerOne, I suspect Scalar’s expanded client base will see tremendous value from the full stack offering of PowerOne for their mission critical business,” he wrote in an email. “As an example, we have seen the Flex on Demand model employed by other Scalar clients such as law enforcement for other large image based data workloads. Also, high performance computing clients have benefited from a full stack solutions from Dell Technologies as we tackle scientific research for projects like Compute Canada.”

Dell EMC PowerOne will be globally available November 22, 2019.


*Alex Coop’s travel and hotel accommodations were covered by Dell Technologies. Dell did not review this article prior to publication.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

Related Tech News

CDN in your inbox

CDN delivers a critical analysis of the competitive landscape detailing both the challenges and opportunities facing solution providers. CDN's email newsletter details the most important news and commentary from the channel.