Forrest Norrod, vice president and general manager of Dell Server Solutions, gives Catalyst the inside story on how 12th-generation Dell™ PowerEdge™ servers were developed with customer input to create a solid foundation for demanding applications and workloads.

What drove the innovation that Dell has put into 12th-generation PowerEdge servers?

Dell has exceptional access to customers through our direct model. These interactions give us a special perspective on bringing innovations to market to meet their needs. Acting on customer feedback is what sets Dell apart.

When we designed our 12th-generation PowerEdge servers, we met with more than 7,700 customers worldwide to listen to their business needs, how they intend to address them with IT, and what they need most from a solutions provider. There is a lot of technology that we could deliver, but we’ve chosen specific innovations in response to real customer needs.

What did your IT customers tell you about the challenges they are facing?

IT professionals have expressed three key concerns:

  • They want the applications that run their businesses to operate with the utmost effectiveness and efficiency.
  • They need to streamline their operations to save time and money.
  • They need a high-performance, highly reliable infrastructure to deliver real results quickly.

They are focused on these three issues because they face common challenges. Our IT customers are caught in the middle of competing priorities. On one hand, end users are telling IT that they receive better service at home than at work. That they need to work anytime, anywhere, and they need IT to help them do that. On the other hand, IT is hearing business stakeholders say that they need IT to help drive business forward, not get in the way.

How are businesses responding to these demands?

Delivering on conflicting demands is not simple. Doing it in a way that is scalable and efficient is even tougher. Data centers today are constrained. Many IT departments are unable to meet current demands with what they have, and they’re even being asked to cut that.

While IT departments are under the gun to produce for the business, gone are the days when the IT decision maker could purchase infrastructure equipment based on its technical merits alone. Today, many IT purchase decisions are heavily influenced by business decision makers who need solutions to run specific applications.

How do PowerEdge servers meet the need for comprehensive solutions?

Workload and application solutions are the driving force behind what we deliver—directed by customer needs and fully supported with broad services, deep engineering support, and best-in-class intelligent infrastructure that provides an easy-to-deploy, easy-to-use, and easy-to-manage solution environment.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all mentality. We provide solutions that meet customers’ needs and help achieve business goals. Customers can feel comfortable knowing that Dell provides solutions that are easy to install and boost productivity quickly. Even more importantly, these open, flexible enterprise solutions help reduce the overall cost of ownership by providing a stable, resilient platform that is easy to maintain and manage.