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Dell sets up research, innovation division

Posted: 05 Feb 2014  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Dell  research unit  security  data analytics mobility 

Dell has recently announced that a veteran IBM storage and systems technologist will head a research division focused on security, data analytics mobility and infrastructure. The company did not release details of the budget or headcount for what amounts to the first independent group dedicated to research at the company.

"Dell has always been dedicated to driving practical innovation, which its individual business units have pursued organically and led in innovative areas such as iSCSI," Jai Menon, VP of research and innovation and head of Dell Research. "The new Dell Research organization is a recent addition to Dell's innovation focus within the last six months, charged specifically with research and innovation from a long-range, disruptive and pan-Dell perspective."

As part of its charter, the group will write the Dell Technology Outlook on disruptive trends. The outlook will help drive Dell's research agenda.

Menon said his research team will start small and remain project-specific, aiming to enable differentiated products and new businesses. It will work with other parts of the company, as well as customers and universities, and it will build strategic alliances with researchers around the world.

Predictive security will be one of several focus areas for Dell Research, said Menon, using the example of firewalls that can modify their settings based on threats perceived in other regions. Menon also expressed interest in homomorphic encryption, a form of computation that uses encrypted data and delivers an encrypted result.

"We believe that, over the next 3-5 years, practical forms of homomorphic or partially homomorphic encryption will become available, allowing customers to benefit from the greater level of security that results," he said.

Dell Research also hopes to deliver data analytics capabilities for Dell's many small and midsized customers that typically lack the on-staff data scientists of their larger rivals. "It's a matter of asking, 'How do I move the customer in the journey from descriptive analytics to predictive to prescriptive analytics?'"

In addition, Dell Research will explore issues its customers face managing mobile systems in the bring-your-own-device era. "Our focus is on delivering both productivity and security for BYOD" for the mobile devices and their data flows.

In the area of infrastructure, the group aims to leverage Dell's position as an x86 server vendor at a time when more networking workloads are moving to such systems.

"The ability of software to do things on standard servers we think is going to be quite disruptive to the industry and to the data center," Menon said. "Increasingly, over time, software running on standard servers can supplant the need for various kinds of specialized hardware boxes inside a data center."

- Zewde Yeraswork
  EE Times





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