Innovation at Dell › Dell Research
Capitalizing on Dell’s 30-year history of driving practical, real-world innovation, Dell Research delivers long-range, disruptive, pan-Dell research and development to inform and influence Dell’s technology strategy. Dell Research complements the company’s innovative research and development by collaborating across Dell’s technical community to create holistic, organic solutions focused on customer needs, with a two-, five- and 10-year outlook.
By implementing a hybrid innovation strategy, Dell Research augments its organic research with an extended external community, including university alliances, to leverage that wealth of knowledge for the benefit of Dell’s customers. With a team of industry and technical experts, Dell Research is focused on multiple R&D projects within five major technology areas:
- Data and data insights
- Internet of Things
- Mobility and next generation UX
- Next-generation infrastructure and cloud
Dell Research is also charged with creating the annual Dell Technology Outlook, Dell’s point of view about key, disruptive technology trends and inflection points, which have potential to affect businesses in a significant way. The Dell Technology Outlook informs and drives the Dell Research project selection, influences Dell strategy, and includes specific technology forecasts and advice to customers, partners and the community at large.
|Data and data insights|
Dell Research’s database research is aimed at understanding the implications of flash memory and next-generation Non-Volatile memory technologies on database systems. Dell Research believes that “one size no longer fits all” when it comes to database systems, and is conducting research to understand what database capability will be important for the emerging world of Internet of Things.
- The world is moving from simple analytics (tell me how well my stores did last month) to advanced analytics (what will the performance be next quarter and what should I do about it);
- Much of the advanced analytics will be provided in the cloud; and
- Data scientists are going to be in short supply for the near future.
Advanced analytics includes predictive analytics (tell me what will happen) and prescriptive analytics (tell me what I should do about it). Dell Research will focus on prescriptive analytics with particular focus on the healthcare industry. The team will also investigate how to simplify and democratize the availability of advanced analytics technology to make it easier for a non-scientist to consume, as well as provide cloud-based insight services.
|Internet of Things|
A number of technological forces are combining to create a revolution at the intersection of computer control and computer networking. This revolution is commonly called the "Internet of Things" and is, essentially, the product of powerful technology developed for Smart Phones, and the growing, almost ubiquitous, penetration of the Internet. The result is the development of inexpensive machine-to-machine communications unconstrained by human interaction. This is being leveraged to extend computation into application areas that were previously technically unfeasible, or economically unattractive.
The Internet of Things is creating new areas of research into distributed architectures, data analytics, machine control, network protocols, security, cloud computing, and many other areas of computer science.
|Mobility and next-generation UX|
With the proliferation of mobile devices and the growing reliance on them for both business and personal use, innovative technologies that connect, secure and provide reliability in this realm is a prime focus for Dell Research. Given that reliance, the team is also investigating novel ways to interact with computing devices, and how they may be evolved to sense human emotions.
In this project, Dell Research is investigating revolutionary technologies that provide seamless mobility to users wherever they are, whatever devices they are using (enterprise issued or BYOD), and whatever network they are using. The aim is to create seamless connections to the enterprise, always using the best available choice at any time (whether cellular, WiFi or a combination of multiple cellular connections) based on user specified policies and preferences, and providing consistent security independent of location.
Dell Research sees applications for mood sensing in multiple areas including gaming, the workplace, educational environments and professional disciplines like marketing. If a game could sense the player is bored or frustrated, maybe it is time to make things more challenging or offer a clue, respectively. In contrast, the workplace is more about focus, productivity and collaboration. If we can know that an employee is working hard on a task, an intuitive computer system might reduce distractions – such as allowing incoming phone calls to go directly to voicemail. In an educational environment, a teacher can tell how well he or she is keeping the class engaged, allowing them to experiment with different pedagogical styles until they find an effective one. Marketers may be able to create personalized marketing messages that work best for specific customers/individuals.
|Next-generation infrastructure and cloud|
|Dell Research believes that next-generation data center infrastructure will be both software-defined and software-based. In other words, most data center functions can be achieved by software running on standard servers, without the need for specialized hardware appliances. |
We also believe that next-generation Non-Volatile memory technologies will have a transformational effect on the data center, enabling a new generation of applications such as real-time analytics. Our research will explore these
new memory technologies, as well as how they will impact applications.
In the area of clouds, we see the rise of specialized clouds focused on the needs of specific industry verticals, such as Healthcare and Telco. Such specialized clouds will require a next-generation of Cloud technology to be developed. Dell Research will focus on the development of this next generation of cloud technology.
In a software-defined data center (SDDC), software is used to rapidly provision servers, storage and networking on behalf of applications. Dell Research has proposed a new paradigm it is calling the software-based data center (SBDC), which goes beyond what the industry calls SDDC. In a SDDC, the infrastructure being provisioned consists of at least three different types of hardware – servers, storage and networking. However, in an SBDC, there are only servers – storage and networking ultimately become software running on servers. Software-defined storage and software-defined networks will evolve to software-based storage and software-based networks, and our goal is to prepare Dell to best serve customers through this transition.
One of the major applications of high-velocity cloud technology is in the telco industry. Service providers need to be more cost-effective and agile to deploy and manage today’s complex Telco networks and tomorrow’s Internet of Things networks. We believe that software-based networking and software-based data centers will provide the solution. The world’s telecommunications, mobile, and cable industries rely on vertically integrated suppliers for their technology needs today. The result is slow adoption of new innovations and capabilities, lack of competition, and inflexible service deployments. Dell Research’s work in high-velocity cloud and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) positions Dell at the forefront of this industry transformation where general purpose computing infrastructure and software will replace many of the custom-made hardware boxes.
The goal of this project is to examine and evaluate various next-generation technologies as potential replacements for DRAM and NAND flash. Conventional DRAM technology has most likely only two or three generations remaining (18 nm, 11 nm at best), after which alternative technologies such as STT-RAM need to be explored. Similarly, we are also exploring the viability of technologies such as Phase Change Memory (PCM) and Resistive RAM (RRAM) to replace NAND flash in the years ahead. This project seeks to understand which technologies and approaches are most likely to succeed, determine how Dell’s servers, networking and storage products can take advantage of them, and study the implications of these technologies on future systems, software and data centers.
Security threats are ever-evolving, and security responses have traditionally responded to new threats as they have evolved. It is widely acknowledged that for security measures to be effective, they must develop defenses that are more robust to previously unknown attacks and attack strategies.
alley and glimpsing a shadowy figure, a person will quickly perceive a number of things to help guide one’s reactions: if the shadowy figure is that of a person or something else, the gender, what the figure appears to be doing, the size of the shadowy figure, if there are other people nearby, time of day, and so on. Based on these perceptions, a person very quickly makes a judgment call regarding the perceived risk of the current situation, and will react appropriately (such as running away, or just casually continuing their stroll). Dell Research aims to develop software systems that replicate this human perception in order to improve security response.
Dell is pursuing several discrete research projects to interact to provide perceptive security. These initiatives will be applied at two different levels: at the individual level (e.g., via a tablet, phone, laptop, wearable device, website, app) and at the organizational level (as the threat center of the future). These projects range from providing new visualizations and interfaces, new behavioral analytics, the gathering of security-related intelligence, risk determination, and the automatic provisioning of appropriate security controls.
Security intelligence is comprised of more information than just the user’s current context and static information about the user. Within this framework, the team investigates adding information such as the confidence we have in the identity being provided – what information has the user provided to the system in order for a high level of confidence to be achieved? Or, if an identity is being provided by another device that claims to have performed a sufficient level of authentication, how much can we essentially “trust” that device and its statements? Related to authentication and identity is the notion of continuous authentication – once a user has been granted some access, is it possible to monitor their activities in such a way so as to ensure that the identity is in use by the same (authenticated) user all while still preserving privacy? Other information that can be included in making an intelligent security decision regarding user access and activities might include the sensitivity or potential value of the access or transaction, the historical information regarding the user’s activities, or the external threats that have been observed using other identities or against other organizations. By combining disparate types of data and data sources, and applying common analytic tools, the project aims to develop better risk measures and security protections. At the same time, providing these risk measures in a manner that still preserves the privacy of the individual behind the user identity.
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