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Dell EMC Ready Solutions Leverage VMware-BitFusion for AI Workloads

Dell channel partners are expected to be the main route to market for the new offers.

Lynn Haber

June 2, 2020

5 Min Read
Dell EMC Ready Solutions for AI

Dell Technologies on Tuesday expanded its high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI) efforts with new products. The two key offers are: Dell EMC Ready Solutions for AI: GPU-as-a-Service, and Dell EMC Ready Solutions for virtualized HPC (vHPC).

Dell EMC OpenManage systems management software is included with the PowerEdge servers in the new Ready Solutions. Also, customers get flexible consumption options with Dell Technologies on Demand.

Ravi Pendekanti, senior vice president, product management and marketing, server solutions, Dell Technologies, says AI is underutilized.


Dell EMC’s Ravi Pendekanti

“Data show that over 90% of applications are expected to use AI in five years,” he said in a media briefing. “Yet, only 14.6% of firms are currently in a mode to actually utilize [AI]. What this tells us is that there’s a huge untapped need for providing solutions that our customers can put to use quickly to ensure that they get real-time analysis to make decisions that could impact their business requirements on a day-to-day basis.”

Make AI Real

With Tuesday’s product announcements, Dell wants to make sure that AI becomes real. The company presents this in three ways: AI Anywhere, continuous insights, and AI at scale.

The goal of AI Anywhere is to rapidly mobilize AI applications across a hybrid cloud environment with VMware-enabled portability. Users should also be able to get continuous insights to ensure data and actions stay relevant. AI at real scale ensures that solutions expand from laptops to supercomputers harnessing Dell technology, such as laptops, servers and storage.

Everything Dell introduced Tuesday is available to channel partners; in fact, the company expects partners to be the main route to market for these products.

“We also expect some of our partners to add their own IP, their own value, on top of what [we provide],” Pendekanti told Channel Futures.

Dell plans to roll out training to its direct and indirect partners simultaneously.

A Closer Look

Dell EMC Ready Solutions for AI: GPU-as-a-Service. This offer frees up accelerator access. Co-processors like graphics processing units (GPUs) are typically trapped in individual workstations or servers and often underutilized, sometimes at less than 15% of capacity. Therefore, the Dell EMC Ready Solutions for AI: GPU-as-a-Service deliver two different designs to create virtual GPU pools to make better use of these valuable resources.

The newest design includes the latest VMware vSphere 7 with BitFusion and makes it possible to virtualize GPUs on premises. It is factory-installed. VMware vSphere 7 lets developers and data scientists pool their powerful IT resources and share them across data centers. This helps increase utilization rates by providing self-service access to the right resource for the right workload at the right time.

Dell EMC Ready Solutions for AI: GPUaaS also uses the latest VMware Cloud Foundation with VMware vSphere 7 support for Kubernetes and containerized applications to run AI workloads anywhere. Containers make it easier to bring cloud-native applications into production. They also offer the ability to move workloads as needed to make the most of hybrid clouds.

Dell EMC Ready Solutions for Virtualized HPC aim to speed time from testing to operations. Most HPC workloads run on dedicated systems that require specialized skills to deploy and manage. The Dell EMC Ready Solutions for vHPC architectures can include VMware vSphere 7 with BitFusion. This makes it simpler and more economical to use VMware environments for demanding HPC and AI applications in computational chemistry, bioinformatics and computer-aided engineering, for example.

For very large HPC implementations, the Dell EMC Ready Solutions for vHPC provide …

… an option for VMware vSphere Scale-Out Edition. This provides additional cost savings. Also, with the ability to virtualize HPC and AI operations with VMware, IT teams can quickly provision hardware as needed. In addition, teams can speed up initial deployment and configuration, and save time with simpler centralized management and security.

According to Forrester Consulting, Ready Solutions for vHPC can deliver up to 18 times faster AI model development, thus reducing the time from months to days. It also delivers up to 20% faster hardware configuration and integration than self-installation. Dell estimates ROI of up to 111%.

Dell suggests that vSphere Scale-Out is for HPC environments and vSphere Enterprise Plus with the BitFusion feature is for machine learning [ML] environments.

HPC Market Rising

VMware acquired BitFusion last August. The BitFusion software platform decouples specific physical resources from the servers they’re attached to. Dell considers BitFusion, which pioneered the virtualization of hardware-accelerated devices with a focus on GPU technology, a game changer.

The worldwide HPC server market forecast for the first half of 2019 was $6.7 billion, Hyperion Research reported late last year. Three major forces – AI, cloud and exascale – combine to raise the HPC industry to heights that are exceeding expectations. Hyperion expects the HPC market to approach $20 billion by 2023, for a 2018-2023 CAGR of 7.8%.

Dell EMC Ready Solutions, which include PowerEdge, also feature the Dell EMC OpenManage portfolio. OpenManage includes OpenManage Mobile, OpenManage integration for VMware vCenter and OpenManage Enterprise.


VMware’s Paul Turner

“We can bring very innovative technology on the hardware and software side with BitFusion, but operationally, continuous operational management is important,” said Paul Turner, vice president, product management, vSphere with VMware. “So the integration work that we’ve done with OpenManage and vSphere Lifecycle Manager, we’re able to manage hardware compatibility; we can manage firmware [and] we can keep your system running in a much more efficient way.”

The Dell EMC Validated Design for AI: GPUaaS and Dell EMC Ready Solutions for vHPC are available worldwide. Factory installation of VMware vSphere with BitFusion will be available worldwide on Dell EMC PowerEdge servers in July.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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