Month: February 2021

$2.1 Million in Savings and 40X Faster Backups – Fulton County Gets the Best of Both Worlds

$2.1 Million in Savings and 40X Faster Backups – Fulton County Gets the Best of Both Worlds

first_imgWhen it comes to data, is there anything that beats both savings and speed? What about saving $2.1 million and performing your backups at 40X faster than before? Now that’s truly the best of both worlds. Fulton County, the largest county in the state of Georgia, experienced this Daily Double combination when they decided to standardize on EMC technologies including Avamar, Data Domain and  VMAX 20K.With nearly a million residents and counting, in addition to 6,000 IT users in 45 organizations, Fulton County needed a top-notch backup and recovery infrastructure and simple management of their data protection environment. The amount of technology used by the county’s courthouses, health and human services, libraries, public safety, water resources and emergency management agencies is simply staggering.The county was hitting a wall. Restoring backups could take upwards of a week. Costs were spiraling upward. IT staff piled up overtime just to keep systems running.  Disruptions to the County’s public services grew increasingly closer together and longer in duration.  With the county’s data assets growing exponentially, Ryan Fernandes, Fulton County’s Chief Information Officer, was more than ready to take action. He replaced the county’s legacy backup solutions and implemented EMC Avamar deduplication backup software and system and EMC Data Domain deduplication storage systems.Fulton County is now fully protected and confident in their ability to recover their data and systems thanks to EMC. Using Avamar and Data Domain, Fulton County backs up their mission-critical applications including Oracle databases, Microsoft SQL Server databases, Exchange and SharePoint, as well as their ERP and case management applications. Fulton also protects VMware vSphere virtual machines and file systems. The county now performs full daily backups of 724 servers 40X faster, has reduced the backup infrastructure footprint by 85% and replicates to a co-location facility for disaster recovery,Ryan explained, “When we relied on tape, we couldn’t complete our backups within our 12-hour backup window — ever. With Avamar and Data Domain, we execute full nightly backups in six to eight hours. Restores average about 20 minutes instead of a week. Our county operations are much better protected now that we’ve moved to EMC. Reliable, fast data backup is important, providing our County’s nearly one million residents with vital public services.”All this talk about savings, and we haven’t even talked about the savings Fulton County captured in terms of IT resources. Fulton County implemented VMAX when they needed a storage solution that could scale to meet their growing demands. As various departments — from the county courts to revenue and taxation departments — began leveraging more sophisticated applications, Fulton County needed a faster, more reliable storage solution.Since VMAX has been installed, Fulton County has reduced time to manage their storage by 80% thanks to set policies and automated tiering with FAST VP. What’s more, the county has lowered their TCO by reducing power and cooling costs.Avamar, Data Domain and VMAX.  Now that’s what we call a trifecta.In the end, what Ryan claimed was the biggest benefit was the trust he gained going with EMC.  He said it best when he said, “With EMC, the reliability and agility we have to conduct critical operations is second to none. EMC as a whole has been exceptional – especially the customer service.”What would you do if you were able to save the kind of money and time Fulton County did?  Let us know.last_img read more

Business Intelligence Analyst or Data Scientist? What’s the Difference?

Business Intelligence Analyst or Data Scientist? What’s the Difference?

first_imgI am a huge Thomas Davenport fan. His book “Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning” was the first book to make organizations aware of the business potential of analytics, even prior to the craziness brought on by Big Data. I happened upon a recent article of his titled “Looking Outward with Big Data: A Q&A with Tom Davenport” and one item from that article really jumped out at me:“Initially, I didn’t see much of a distinction [between business analytics and big data], and I thought that I could kind of rest on my laurels and not write a book about big data—because the fact is that the analytical tools and approaches used are not all that different for big data. But when I started talking to companies and data scientists, I realized that there really were some fairly substantial differences—some that have yet to be fully articulated and some that are already in evidence.”ShareUnderstanding the DifferencesThere are significant differences between a Business Intelligence (BI) analyst and a Data Scientist, but many folks are still confused. I recently received the following email from a follower (Felix) of my blog series that highlights some of the challenges that organizations are wrestling with on this difference in definitions.“Dear Mr. Schmarzo,I recently came across your January 9th blog post entitled “Business Analytics: Moving From Descriptive To Predictive Analytics.”“Our IT department disagrees on the capabilities of OLAP cubes. To me, a cube does not appear useful for parameterized models or most types of scenario analysis. (I am trained in statistics and other forms of financial modeling.) I showed Figure 1 of your blog to my colleagues, but was told that I do not understand OLAP technology.ShareFelix’s dilemma is typical of what I see in organizations that have spent considerable time and money building out their Business Intelligence capabilities. To me, the situation is similar to the construction worker discovering the “saw.” Doesn’t mean that the hammer is no longer important, but the saw and the hammer perform entirely different but complementary tasks.Here was my response to Felix:“Hey Felix, push back on your IT department. There is nothing predictive in OLAP cubes. Cubes are great for slicing and dicing historical data looking for areas of under- and over-performance in the past week/month/quarter, but they don’t answer any of the questions about the future such as: What will be sales for Product X next month? How many customers do we expect to respond XYZ promotion? What is the likelihood that wind turbine A101 will fail within the next 30 days?“Answering questions about the future requires developing predictive models and getting results that are qualified by probabilities and confidence levels. The key difference is that a BI Analyst uses OLAP cubes and other BI tools to report on what happened in the past, while a data scientist uses predictive and prescriptive tools to forecast what might happen in the future.ShareThere is a significant difference between what a traditional BI Analyst does and what a Data Scientist does. And one does NOT replace the other; they are complementary. Figure 1 does a nice job of summarizing the differences and how these two critical roles play off of each other.Figure 1: Differences Between BI Analyst and Data ScientistData Science is different than the traditional Business Analytics in some key areas. For example, data science…uses predictive and prescriptive analytics to predict what might happen using probabilities and confidence levels, not just report tools to report on what did happen.Note: when we’re dealing with historical data, there is a strong desire and need for the data to be 100% accurate. If you have your financial results wrong for the past quarter, folks are likely to go to jail. However predicting performance for the next quarter is usually measured in probabilities and confidence levels (e.g., “There is a 95% confidence that our revenues will come in next quarter between $200M to $212M). is used for dealing with and mitigating the uncertainty in the data. It uses several analytic and visualization techniques to understand where uncertainty may lay in the data, and then uses data transformation techniques to massage the data into a workable form – not perfect, but again not necessary when dealing with probabilities and not absolutes.is able to create as-needed data transformations (versus the traditional ETL process) to put the data into a format so that it can be combined with other data sources in search in insights about customers, products and operations.To quote our Jeffrey Abbott of EMC Global Services Marketing,“The disconnect is that with BI, people take the historical data and extend the trend lines and factor in cyclical factors. It’s slow, manual, and needs to be rebuilt each month/quarter/year. But with data science, we have the ability to automatically build the predictive apps that actively look for certain combinations of data and trigger a prediction of the future. It’s real time, re-usable, continuous, and automated.”ShareSummaryA recent blog “Data Science: The More Data, the Better”, talks about how Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen uses a dashboard of job data that doesn’t just rely upon a single measure (unemployment rate) to make economic and labor policy decisions. Instead, she uses a dozen different measures to provide a more holistic, more accurate, and hopefully more actionable view of the United States economic situation. She’s a data scientist at heart that realizes that a single measure of anything complex—whether it’s the U.S. economy or even things like customer satisfaction and predictive maintenance—is oversimplifying something to the point of not being useful or actionable.I have written several blogs trying to highlight the differences between a traditional business analyst and a data scientist, some of which I have listed below. Enjoy!Welcoming The Data Scientist Into The FamilyBill’s Most Excellent Data Scientist AdventureData Scientist Lesson:  Micro-to-Macro AnalyticsBest Practices for Analytic ProfilesThe Liberating What If Analytics CycleThinking Like a Data Scientistlast_img read more

It’s Time for Businesses to Foster a Skilled Girl Force: A View From a Technology Intern

It’s Time for Businesses to Foster a Skilled Girl Force: A View From a Technology Intern

first_imgThis year’s International Day of the Girl is all about creating a skilled Girl Force, drawing attention and investment for girls to gain skills, experience and employment. Consistently underrepresented fields for women are the science and technology fields. Women in STEM fields only make up 15 per cent of the workforce with research showing that factors such as implicit and explicit biases, lack of role models and quality mentoring all have an impact on the number of women applying for roles in STEM. The problem goes right back to schooling and the exposure girls are given to STEM subjects, resulting in fewer pursuing the careers.  The growth in the number of female graduates was just 3.1 per cent between 2015/2016 and 2016/2017, whereas the growth in male graduates was 9 per cent.Unfortunately, there is a self-perpetuating cycle whereby women are put off by a career in technology that is seen to be too male dominated an industry. The resulting impact is a lack of women applying and forging a career in a sector that has so much to offer. Just a staggeringly low 3 per cent of females say a career in technology is their first choice.Growing up in Dundee, Scotland, I was always aware of the impact and draw of working for technology companies – but just hadn’t considered it could be an option for someone who studied law. Our university is one of the best in the country for studying technology and Dundee is home to big named companies like Rockstar Games.  A huge number of my male friends went into IT jobs after studying computing, but not one of my female friends took the same path.  It wasn’t until a family member discussed their experience as a woman working within the technology industry that I started to consider the number of different roles open to me.It is vital that the technology industry address the gender imbalance and put practices in place to encourage women to develop their careers in technology. Equally important though is that encouragement is made throughout their career – regardless of the position they hold.During my time working at Dell in its legal department, I have had the opportunity to meet and talk to some of the great women that work for the company. One such person had been at the company for 24 years and was two weeks away from retirement when I joined. They had been instrumental in developing Dell’s Good Governance Policy, and helped me understand the various ways that organisations encourage women to stay in the business, through programs like mentorship schemes, dedicated STEM events, as well as the importance of these initiatives being driven from the very top of the organisation.Business leaders taking a role in the promotion of women in tech is incredibly important to understanding how a company treats its female employees. Michael Dell for instance is part of the Catalyst CEO Champions for Change, striving for gender equality and inclusion in the workplace.The company helps to support women outside the business in the field of technology with its DWEN (Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network) scheme, supporting and nurturing a community of female entrepreneurs by providing access to technology, networks and capital. Dell works with several Universities and Colleges across Glasgow to recruit female undergrads to support them in their transition from academia to the world of work within the tech sector. Working for a business like this that truly values its female staff is helping to slowly change the perception of women working in tech.The “returner” market of women coming back to work after having a baby is worth billions if companies can deliver on proper working practices for women. Businesses need to understand this and be able to assure women that their working practices won’t change if they take time out to have a family. It is estimated that three in five women return to work in lower-skilled or lower-paid roles than when they left and yet if businesses address the career break penalty, there is the possibility of making £4,000 in additional earnings. I got to experience this for myself when I saw a close family member coming back from maternity leave and she was afforded all the opportunities for career progression and training that she would have had if she hadn’t taken time out to start a family.For this year’s International Day of the Girl, I hope that women around the world will begin to look at STEM careers as an area where their skills and personalities are as appreciated and valued as men’s. I think anybody looking to get into a STEM field should look at how the company treats its employees, what the make-up of the board is like and the number of women in senior leadership positions. Getting the opportunity to speak with women at the company is invaluable to understanding the real culture to the business and deciding whether it’s a place you can work and thrive.Laurie Presswood is an intern at Dell Technologies, working in the corporate legal team.last_img read more

XPS 13 is Finally Perfect. Smile!

XPS 13 is Finally Perfect. Smile!

first_imgAt Dell, we are very proud of the XPS 13. Not only is it a laptop that embodies our continuous innovation, it is also a laptop that has garnered the admiration and accolades of the industry as a whole. Throughout the last few years, reviews have more or less deemed it a perfect laptop, except for one small thing – the placement of our camera. When we disrupted the industry in 2015 by introducing the first edge to edge InfinityEdge screen, it enabled us, for the first time, to fit a 13-inch display in an 11-inch frame. But we also found ourselves faced with a conflict. With our top bezel of the display too small to fit the camera, and technology and engineering not yet advanced enough to provide us with a smaller camera, how could we maintain the integrity of our new narrow bezel? For the time being, we compromised on building the camera into the bottom bezel but immediately set out on a mission to one day move it back to the top.Four years later, we’ve come a long way. Here’s our journey of introducing quite possibly the smallest HD webcam ever built – placed modestly back on the top bezel – and officially perfecting the XPS 13. Solidifying a new sensorEarly on in the development process, we were able to engineer down from a 6-7mm camera dimension to 4mm, but that was still far too big for the XPS 13, which was designed for extreme mobility. We found that the microscopic gold wires that connected the sensor to the camera’s circuit board were taking up critical space, and that we needed a new sensor design to further reduce the size. We worked with our partners to create a new generation sensor that was a smaller format, and moved the wiring pads to the sides so it could be attached horizontally. That eliminated ¾ mm to 1 mm in additional camera height.A new approach to lens designNext, we moved on to tackle the lens. We once again worked closely with our supplier to heavily invest in the design and assembly of these ultra-small components. They even needed to redesign their manufacturing process to miniaturize everything, drastically reducing the package of the lens. They had to develop new capabilities to make all the elements thinner and smaller, while still maintaining incredibly tight tolerances that preserve the lens’ optical quality. Traditionally, the lens and plastic body of the camera are two separate pieces threaded together manually to adjust the focus — sometimes by hand. But as we took a closer look, we realized the threads were adding unnecessary thickness to the camera. We took a page from the smartphone industry and implemented active alignment technology, a first for PC webcams.Our supplier built an assembly machine for laptop cameras specifically to support Dell’s products. These machines are unlike anything we’ve used before and comprise an ultra-precise robot. This highly automated assembly also lends to less variation from module to module, ensuring every customer can expect the same performance and quality. Employing this all-new assembly process, however, meant we had to invest in more than a year of testing to ensure reliability. For example, during pilot runs, we discovered sometimes a small amount of glue could expand beyond the camera body, pushing the top bezel larger than acceptable. So we introduced a laser beam to trim any extra glue, ensuring each camera module is exactly the same size. Through this tested manufacturing process, we were able to shrink the height of the camera another ¾ mm, achieving a vanishingly small 2.25mm final height. Bingo.Smaller without sacrificeIn reducing the camera size, we risked lowering the quality for video conferencing in low light conditions.  When it is dark, it is more difficult for your camera to decipher the beginning and end of an object, so we implemented temporal noise reduction (the first PC maker to do so), that looks at multiple frames of data to decide what’s an edge and what is not, and preserves more of the fine details. We were able to see a 3-4x improvement in the noise levels, enabling us to preserve video quality while reducing the camera size.We made it happenThrough this thorough process of tests, failures, redos and continued innovations over the last four years, we were able to reduce the camera from 7mm to 2.25mm and maintain exceptional high resolution video and picture quality. We disrupted the industry first introducing the narrow bezel trend, and now we are changing the game again with quite possibly the smallest HD webcam ever built. XPS 13 remains at the top of its class.last_img read more

Desirability Without Sacrifice

Desirability Without Sacrifice

first_imgA candid discussion of Latitude 7400 2-in-1’s journeyWe’re thrilled that the new Latitude 7400 2-in-1 is finally available for purchase! You have likely seen coverage from CES or read the details in Rahul’s blog, but to understand how the engineering team got here, I sat down with Michael Smith, Dell’s VP of Commercial Design, to wrap my head around some technical hurdles the team overcame while staying true to the original design intent. I didn’t expect an easy, breezy tale, but this rabbit hole turned out to be much deeper than I expected. A “no compromise” stance ultimately meant re-thinking every square millimeter of a business 2-in-1. No sacrifices on size, security, connectivity, or battery life meant breaking a lot of new ground in development. The team would not just be designers and engineers, but also inventors. This is how it started.XPS InfluenceIn 2015 XPS had its break-out moment by fitting a 13” display into a chassis closer to the size of traditional 11 or 12” notebooks thanks to the tiny bezels of its InfinityEdge display. Flying in the face of the “thin at any cost” trend, XPS focused on form-factor and features that matter – footprint, performance and quality – to set Dell’s course that competitors would attempt to follow over the coming years.Latitude has long prided itself on performance, manageability and security, but Michael candidly explained that Dell’s customers grew to expect more. He explains, “I would visit with customers who would hold up an XPS and a Latitude and ask me, ‘Why can’t I have this… in this?’”And there was a reason. XPS 13’s form factor didn’t allow for the features enterprise customers demand. The (until recently) bottom-mounted web cam would have been a non-starter, not to mention its chassis doesn’t have room for mobile broadband antennas, smart card reader, HDMI and USB type-A ports, or a Unified Security Hub. So, while making XPS was hard, creating this new Latitude was even tougher. But that’s exactly the challenge that the engineering team accepted when they set out to re-imagine the 7000 series for Latitude. Simply put, nothing less than a productive and modern icon of design that builds upon Latitude’s 25 years of trusted history would do.Commitment to a visionHaving a commitment to a clear vision, it turns out, would be the key to success. The team set in stone an unmovable goalpost of elevated design and performance in the smallest 14” 2-in-1 on the planet. That “smallest footprint” win would come about thanks to investing in a custom, narrow bezel panel that would accommodate active pen support, a top-mounted webcam and sensor array for a new, first-to-market twist on Windows Hello. This was step-one from which every subsequent decision would pivot. Fundamentals like battery life, usability and wireless performance were slated not only to hold ground, but to dramatically improve as well. So, as the design team began to encounter challenges where the answer would normally be “grow the footprint,” or “compromise on a feature,” they dug in their heels with the mantra of Simplify Thoughtfully. Not budging on the design but keeping and improving every element that makes a 7000-series Latitude our very best enterprise-class mobile PC was a challenge at every turn.No flinchingHow did that play out? That diamond-cut aluminum chassis design was going to look great, but it created a challenge for WiFi and LTE antennas. Aluminum interferes with RF (radio frequency) signals and the Latitude 7400 2-in-1 had to maintain excellent signal at any position within a 360-degree rotation of its hinge. While using a wider plastic border surrounding the display to house the antennas would have solved the challenge, the team was determined not to compromise the footprint or materials. The solution was a custom-designed, tunable, etched polymer antenna with gold-plated copper elements relocated to the base between the hinges, delivering gigabit LTE connection and nearly tripling previous WWAN performance.Problem solved, right? The antenna and other decisions set off a domino effect of changes, each of which had to be solved while maintaining and delivering on other feature needs. The cooling solution had to be relocated to the center of the mother board to maintain performance and increase system density. In fact, every facet of the design was re-engineered. The user experience wouldn’t be compromised, so the team coded power management to work with the onboard gyroscope, giving the system the ability to know if it’s on a table and can run hard or if it’s sitting on a lap and needs to keep the surface temperatures lower for a pleasant experience. Groove-sintered composite-wick heat pipe technology was used for efficiency, but to maximize airflow the team designed a more compact fan from liquid crystal polymer, a resin very similar to the Kevlar material used in armored vests, which allowed a blade thickness of just 0.3 mm. And to ensure heat was rejected out of the chassis and not absorbed, the team strategically applied a new, first-to-market version of GORE insulation only 0.1 mm thick. Infused with the same aerogel used on NASA’s Stardust space probe, it is quite literally the best insulator known to man. Comfort and efficiency? Check.More power, and sweating the small stuffSo the team held the line for the sake of a gorgeous and compact, machined aluminum chassis. And while most 2-in-1s give up battery life or grow size to accommodate the 360-degree hinge needed for a convertible, the team stayed committed to “no compromises.” In fact, while reducing footprint, they upped the previous Latitude convertible’s 60Whrs to a generous 78Whrs for the 7400 2-in-1 and combined it with a new generation of low-power display. That combination, along with adaptive power management, allowed us to lay claim to the title of world’s longest-lasting 14” commercial 2-in-1, because beauty without stamina would be a fail. Space was tight, and two battery choices were designed to give customers the option of including a smart card reader. But to get to that density, one battery layer wouldn’t work. The team considered a number of alternatives including stacked battery cells for power density. To maintain the kind of thermal performance Latitude considered acceptable during fast charge or heavy depletion, they went a different route. The answer was a step-tiered design that not only made use of every available cubic millimeter, but also provided an improved thermal dissipation profile while accommodating the space needed for various configuration options.Aluminum chassis parts, holding to a tiny footprint, expanding batteries and shuffling antenna and thermal solution locations… all these decisions caused a cascade of challenges requiring each sub-system team to work in concert with the others. This interdependency and synchronization is what Michael refers to as “connective tissue”. He explained that it is much more challenging to solve all these problems without doing it at the expense of key design decisions.What else? The near-field communication transmitter was moved under the clickpad with the WiFi antenna next to it, and the team refused to budge on providing multiple type-A USB 3.1 and type-C Thunderbolt 3.0 ports which work with modern type-C docking solutions. Dell’s evolving Thunderbolt and USB ecosystems will work today as well as tomorrow. With all these challenges, something had to give at a foundational level. The PCB layout had to change. After some hard layout work and custom EMI shielding, it ended up being the densest motherboard Dell has ever created for a notebook.Comfortable inputsOh, and the keyboard and touchpad? Michael set the Latitude next to my XPS 15 and told me to put a hand on each. I’d always felt the XPS 13 and XPS 15 keyboards were great, but experiencing these side by side, I could feel the difference. The latitude keyboard has just enough additional travel and a slightly more sharp and defined pressure profile that I immediately preferred. Great… I couldn’t un-feel that. He explained that they also redesigned the keyboard layout with an asymmetrical pitch spreading the keys just a bit more horizontally to help reduce typing fatigue. Next, Michael asked me to try out the new glass clickpad and to pay close attention. As Michael detailed the scrutiny poured into getting the surface friction just right, I ran my finger over the pad to appreciate it. Next, I compared its click to another device… again, focusing on the detail. The feedback isn’t mushy or stiff. Clicks are audible, but not harsh. It’s quiet and refined. The responsive and comfortable keyboard and the quiet clickpad will make for a great office companion that’s also friendly to the ears around you.Michael reminded me that a 2-in-1 is likely going to be used for a sketchpad and note taking. Even with the real estate premium on the crowded innards, they still found a way to include not one, but two magnets so that the active stylus will attach to either side of the device. True story: the team actually came close to removing one of the magnets when the device was right on the threshold of a critical weight metric, but the priority of user experience and flexible choices trumped the fraction of an ounce and the team found a way to keep both magnetic attach points. No compromises.And that hinge? No 360-degree hinge Dell has made before met all their criteria. It needed to minimize the vertical height when open because we all know that guy in front of you is going to recline his seat as soon as the plane is in the air. The variable-torque, sequential drop-hinge design they created also has a beautiful bottom bezel that’s almost as thin as the other three. Comparing the Latitude to other convertibles, I see clearly how this attention to detail delivers a four-sided, narrow border view that I haven’t seen before on a 360 device, and just how obnoxious the bottom bezel begins to look on those other machines. But that wasn’t enough, because the team also demanded one-finger opening for convenience when your hands are full, so the hinge was designed with variable torque. Initial travel comes with light effort and stiffens up around 90 degrees so tapping the touchscreen doesn’t feel like playing with a bobblehead. A another behind the scenes note… if you experienced the prototype Latitude 7400 2-in-1 at CES, the hinges were not quite final and still in the process of being refined. The team was making last-minute tuning to ensure the hinge will deliver just the right level of increasing resistance.Must. Have.At this point I finally understood how much collaboration and work I was holding in my hand. I was more than a little overwhelmed by the level of detail and the number of elements that had to come together for hardware, software, layout and options to yield the world’s smallest commercial 14” 2-in-1 with the longest battery life… which happens to be just as gorgeous as any consumer machine I’ve ever held. They even have a custom-tailored system sleeve to keep that pretty machine scratch-free in your bag. No stone left unturned. Michael stressed how much debate and energy went into selecting just the right finish, and I admitted this is like no Latitude I’ve ever held. He’s particularly proud of the Titan Gray brushed aluminum with impeccable fit and finish. And if you haven’t held this Latitude, you really shouldn’t… unless you’re serious. Because it will make an impression.As we wrapped up, I thought back to the first demo I’d seen of this new Latitude and how it can sense your presence and automatically wake to start the login process or lock up when you walk away for convenient security. The collaboration of Dell and Intel engineers that produced the ExpressSign-in feature is whole other story, but at this point Michael is shaking my hand and telling me he’s late for a meeting. He’s given me more to think about than I can process.I set off to work but I can’t shake this burden of knowing that somewhere down the line, I have to convince the Latitude team that it’s in their best interest to swap out my current work laptop with a new Latitude 7400 2-in-1.last_img read more

EMEA’s Graduate Exchange Program – Sharing Best Practices in Warsaw

EMEA’s Graduate Exchange Program – Sharing Best Practices in Warsaw

first_img“One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things.ShareI first discovered this quote by Henry Miller when I was on my exchange semester in Vermont 3 years ago. Up to this day, every new destination I visit brings a new perspective on how I experience life. I was so thrilled when I found out I was taking part in the Graduate Exchange Program, because what could be better than a project that connects my work and my passion?The Graduate Exchange Program is part of the EMEA Graduate Sales Program. We are a diverse team of 7 people from 7 different countries (Spain, Poland, Germany, UK, France, Ireland, and Morocco) who work as a virtual team for 2 months. The first time the virtual team met live was in Lodz, where we presented our ideas about the program and got to know each other face to face. This program is focused on enabling Sales Graduates to experience various Dell Technologies sites around EMEA. Our main objectives are to build and foster a diverse global network and Dell community, share best practices and insights, and drive change through the graduates.Our team recently met in Warsaw, where we experienced a new workplace, discovered several marketing initiatives and met with GM, Dariusz Piotrowski. Read on to discover some insights and key takeaways from our visit.Preparations and First Impressions in WarsawThe EMEA Sales Graduate Program provided us, the Graduate Exchange Program participants, with the opportunity to spend a day in the Warsaw office, turning our collaborative ideas into reality. Dusinska Katarzyna helped navigate us throughout the day. Since she is based in the Warsaw office and knows her way around, Dusinska planned a variety of activities for the group. We met briefly to organize our plans, discuss what we intended to achieve from this office visit, and prepared questions for our meeting with the GM (General Manager) and Sales VP (Vice President), Dariusz Piotrowski, before embarking on the planned activities.This was my first visit to a different Dell office. It was so interesting to see the differences in structure and organization, compared to my office in Casablanca. Despite these differences, I could still feel the same Dell culture and spirit. The Warsaw office was welcoming and inviting, and the space felt open and inspiring. The modern design and glass architecture gave the space a techy vibe.My teammate Franziska pointed out the breakout rooms, “I like the small telephone booths which you can retreat to for important telephone calls to escape from the open-plan office. We don’t have such phone booths in Germany”.  We have similar telephone cabins in the Moroccan office, which I find very helpful when I have an important call and there is a lot of noise around. This is a new concept Franziska would like take back and implement in the Germany office.Marketing Workshop and Experience CenterAfter touring the facility, our team had the chance to attend a marketing workshop with the amazing Polish Marketing Manager, Urszula Graczykowska.This was a wonderful opportunity for me, as I have not had the chance to attend a marketing workshop at Dell. As a TSR (technical sales representative), I tend to focus more on the technical aspects of the Dell products, so it was extremely refreshing and beneficial to learn about Dell’s broader marketing strategies. The marketing workshop taught me about the importance of fortifying myself with the proper tools to help me work with customers, better connect with customers, and ultimately build long-term relationships. We discovered many marketing tools and platforms that Dell offers to help sales people overcome the difficulties they face in their everyday tasks. This is especially helpful for new hires like many of us.Since we now understood the extreme value of positioning Dell products and solutions to better fit the clients’ needs, it was only logical to visit The Experience Center next. During the tour, our team had the opportunity to analyze and interact with many Dell products. The center was organized with various exhibition stands, from an impressive gaming area to a fascinating rugged device display.The client solution advisor, Aleksadra Pabin, walked us through The Experience Center and explained in great detail what each of the products are used for and how the products help customers optimize their performance and improve their IT infrastructure. Our team was especially impressed by the rugged laptop display. Aleksandra even demonstrated how reliable the laptops were by dropping one of them and then showing that was still in perfect working conditions.The Experience Center in Warsaw is a visually immersive and impressive demonstration of Dell products. This kind of showroom or center can be used to give customers and employees an impactful hands-on experience of current Dell products. I would love to see this concept implemented in more Dell offices around the world.GM InterviewOur team was very grateful for the opportunity to meet with Dariusz Piotrowski, GM of the Warsaw office. The purpose of this meeting was to get a managerial perspective and constructive feedback on our group project.Dariusz liked our thoughts and ideas surrounding the Graduate Exchange Program. It was reassuring to hear that he would support our proposed initiatives if they move forward.During the interview, Dariusz emphasized the human factor and office atmosphere as critical factors in creating a work environment that energizes people and encourages them to be creative and deliver remarkable results. I appreciated when Dariusz emphasized the “one winning team” spirit evident in the Polish office. This is a powerful and inspirational message, one I feel could be implemented in Dell workplaces around the world.Dariusz also mentioned several key differences in functionality throughout the various Dell offices he has visited. He made a good point in saying that the Graduate Exchange Project could be a key channel for understanding these differences and implementing best practices throughout.Our team was really impressed by one particular activity that takes place in the Polish office. Every month, anyone celebrating their birthday in that month is invited to celebrate with Dariusz over tea, coffee and cake in the canteen. This allows the GM to get to know the people who work in the office on a more personal level, beyond their titles and scope of work, creating a more positive and welcoming community. This is another initiative, we as a team, believe can be implemented in other offices.Networking and ClosingThe last scheduled activity for our day in Warsaw was lunch with the Polish graduates. This lunch was a great continuity of the networking that took place during the event in Lodz.We shared our Dell experiences with each other. It was nice to see how every graduate had their own unique journey, but despite these various paths, we all shared the same spirit, one that was continuously evolving and growing. During this lunch, we talked about the tools we use as TSRs and ISRs and how different or similar our days are in each of our respective offices.The most interesting part was seeing what we learned about diversity and inclusion at our previous meeting, come to life on a smaller and closer level. It was truly amazing to see so many nationalities and perspectives gathered around one table speaking the same language.The Lodz Manufacturing Site GM, Wieslaw Gorzelak said in his presentation about diversity and inclusion that “talking about networking and sharing new ideas and best practices is not the same as experiencing them”. I could not agree more and the day our team got to spend in the Warsaw office showcased this exact feeling.Hope you enjoyed learning more about the EMEA Graduate Exchange Program, and the incredibly valuable and insightful day we spent in the Warsaw office.last_img read more

Dell EMC Unity XT Rises to the Top in Independent Storage Performance and Efficiency Testing

Dell EMC Unity XT Rises to the Top in Independent Storage Performance and Efficiency Testing

first_imgThe success or failure of many storage solutions is often determined by an array’s performance across a variety of workloads. A modern storage array must concurrently deliver performance, data reduction and data services, enabling organizations to deliver increased efficiencies and thrive in today’s complex application environments. The Dell EMC Unity product line has already delivered on these capabilities by increasing data reduction rates by ~80% since initial release (December 2016). And now with the recently refreshed Unity XT, we’re raising the bar yet again.In order to quantify all of the enhancements we’ve made with Unity XT, we asked Principled Technologies (PT) to independently conduct hands-on performance testing, with and without data reduction, between Unity XT and its primary competitor we’ll call Vendor A. This testing confirms that Unity XT, with its modern architecture and hardware enhancements, beats a leading storage competitor in three different performance and data reduction scenarios.Scenario 1: Performance with Data Reduction Turned OnIn this test, data reduction (compression and deduplication) was activated on both systems to maximize storage efficiency and space. This is especially significant when working with virtual servers, file system data, archival and backup data or email systems containing multiple instances of the same file attachment. While Unity XT data reduction is always inline to support data-intensive workloads, at a certain threshold Vendor A disables inline deduplication. With data reduction turned on, Unity XT was 24% faster at 8k IO block size/100% Reads and 67% faster at 32k IO block size/100% Reads than Vendor A. If you’re looking for an analysis of workload performance based on a more common scenario, Unity XT also beat out Vendor A by 20% in a 70:30 R/W mix. Scenario 2: Performance with Data Reduction Turned OffIn this test (8k IO block size and 100% Read), with data reduction turned OFF on both systems, Unity XT’s raw performance for data-intensive workloads was 93% better than Vendor A. Unity XT also proved to be 47% faster at 32k block size and 100% Reads. While most of our customers would enable data reduction, there are primary datasets that are not necessarily impacted by array-based data reduction such as music/audio, photo, and video files along with certain types of Big Data like telemetry and genomic files, which all tend to be compressed by default in software. Therefore, this test is an illustration of the overall raw performance of each system’s ability to handle these data types.Scenario 3 Results: Data Reduction Under Same Performance Load/Data Set In this test, both arrays were placed under the same load at 70K IOPS, 8k IO block size and 100% Writes. The goal of this test was to isolate data reduction efficiency and keep all other variables equal. Unity XT 880F’s data reduction rate came in at 7:1 or 129% better than Vendor A’s 3.05:1 rate. During the 3-hour pre-fill process, Vendor A’s system seemed to halt its inline data reduction process to preserve IOPS.No compromise midrange storageUnity XT’s powerful capabilities allow it to run virtualized applications, support inline data reduction and deliver unified data services – simultaneously. Our customers have long told us they value Unity for many reasons, including:Storage lifecycle simplicity from ordering to supportUnified architecture (file and block)Dual-active controllersInvestment protection with the Future Proof Loyalty ProgramNow that the results are in, you can add these significant performance and data reduction advantages to the long list of reasons why customers choose the Dell EMC Unity family. With the storage system from Vendor A, customers will have to choose between performance OR efficiency. With Unity XT systems, our customers get both – without compromise.For more, you can read the full PT report here and an accompanying video here.last_img read more

Paving the way for the Next Data Decade

Paving the way for the Next Data Decade

first_imgIt’s hard to believe that we’re heading into the year 2020 – a year that many have marked as a milestone in technology. Autonomous cars lining our streets, virtual assistants predicting our needs and taking our requests, connected and intelligent everything across every industry.When I stop to think about what has been accomplished over the last decade – it’s quite remarkable.  While we don’t have fully autonomous cars zipping back and forth across major freeways with ease, automakers are getting closer to deploying autonomous fleets in the next few years. Many of the every-day devices, systems and applications we use are connected and intelligent – including healthcare applications, industrial machines and financial systems – forming what is now deemed as “the edge.”At the root of all that innovation and advancement are massive amounts of data and compute power, and the capacity across edge, cloud and core data center infrastructure to put data through its paces. And with the amount of data coming our way in the next 10 years – we can only imagine what the world around us will look like in 2030, with apps and services we haven’t even thought of yet.2020 marks the beginning of what we at Dell Technologies are calling the Next Data Decade, and we are no doubt entering this era with new – and rather high – expectations of what technology can make possible for how we live, work and play. So what new breakthroughs and technology trends will set the tone for what’s to come over the next 10 years? Here are my top predictions for the year ahead.2020 proves it’s time to keep IT simpleWe’ve got a lot of data on our hands…big data, meta data, structured and unstructured data – data living in clouds, in devices at the edge, in core data centers…it’s everywhere. But organizations are struggling to ensure the right data is moving to the right place at the right time. They lack data visibility – the ability for IT teams to quickly access and analyze the right data – because there are too many systems and services woven throughout their IT infrastructure. As we kick off 2020, CIOs will make data visibility a top IT imperative because after all, data is what makes the flywheel of innovation spin.We’ll see organizations accelerate their digital transformation by simplifying and automating their IT infrastructure and consolidating systems and services into holistic solutions that enable more control and clarity. Consistency in architectures, orchestration and service agreements will open new doors for data management – and that ultimately gives data the ability be used as part of AI and Machine Learning to fuel IT automation.  And all of that enables better, faster business outcomes that the innovation of the next decade will thrive on.Cloud co-existence sees rolling thunder The idea that public and private clouds can and will co-exist becomes a clear reality in 2020. Multi-cloud IT strategies supported by hybrid cloud architectures will play a key role in ensuing organizations have better data management and visibility, while also ensuring that their data remains accessible and secure.  In fact, IDC predicted that by 2021, over 90% of enterprises worldwide will rely on a mix of on-premises/dedicated private clouds, several public clouds, and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs.[i]But private clouds won’t simply exist within the heart of the data center. As 5G and edge deployments continue to rollout, private hybrid clouds will exist at the edge to ensure the real-time visibility and management of data everywhere it lives. That means organizations will expect more of their cloud and service providers to ensure they can support their hybrid cloud demands across all environments. Further, we’ll see security and data protection become deeply integrated as part of hybrid cloud environments, notably where containers and Kubernetes continue to gain momentum for app development. Bolting security measures onto cloud infrastructure will be a non-starter…it’s got to be inherently built into the fiber of the overall data management strategy edge to core to cloud.What you get is what you pay One of the biggest hurdles for IT decision makers driving transformation is resources. CapEx and OpEx can often be limiting factors when trying to plan and predict for compute and consumption needs for the year ahead…never mind the next three-five years. SaaS and cloud consumption models have increased in adoption and popularity, providing organizations with the flexibility to pay for what they use, as they go.In 2020, flexible consumption and as-a-service options will accelerate rapidly as organizations seize the opportunity to transform into software-defined and cloud-enabled IT. As a result – they’ll be able to choose the right economic model for their business to take advantage of end-to-end IT solutions that enable data mobility and visibility, and crunch even the most intensive AI and Machine Learning workloads when needed.“The Edge” rapidly expands into the enterprise The “Edge” continues to evolve – with many working hard to define exactly what it is and where it exists.   Once limited to the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s hard to find any systems, applications, services – people and places – that aren’t connected. The edge is emerging in many places and it’s going to expand with enterprise organizations leading the way, delivering the IT infrastructure to support it.5G connectivity is creating new use cases and possibilities for healthcare, financial services, education and industrial manufacturing. As a result, SD-WAN and software-defined networking solutions become a core thread of a holistic IT infrastructure solution – ensuring massive data workloads can travel at speed – securely – between edge, core and cloud environments. Open networking solutions will prevail over proprietary as organizations recognize the only way to successfully manage and secure data for the long haul requires the flexibility and agility that only open software defined networking can deliver.Intelligent devices change the way you work and collaborate PC innovation continues to push new boundaries every year – screens are more immersive and bigger than ever, yet the form factor becomes smaller and thinner. But more and more, it’s what is running at the heart of that PC that is more transformational than ever. Software applications that use AI and machine learning create systems that now know where and when to optimize power and compute based on your usage patterns. With biometrics, PCs know it’s you from the moment you gaze at the screen. And now, AI and machine learning applications are smart enough to give your system the ability to dial up the sound and color based on the content you’re watching or the game you’re playing.Over the next year, these advancements in AI and machine learning will turn our PCs into even smarter and more collaborative companions. They’ll have the ability to optimize power and battery life for our most productive moments – and even become self-sufficient machines that can self-heal and self-advocate for repair – reducing the burden on the user and of course, reducing the number of IT incidents filed. That’s a huge increase in happiness and productivity for both the end users and the IT groups that support them.Innovating with integrity, sourcing sustainably Sustainable innovation will continue to take center stage, as organizations like ours want to ensure the impact they have in the world doesn’t come with a dangerous one on the planet. Greater investments in reuse and recycling for closed-loop innovation will accelerate – hardware becomes smaller and more efficient and built with recycled and reclaimed goods – minimizing eWaste and maximizing already existing materials. At Dell Technologies, we met our Legacy of Good 2020 goals ahead of schedule – so we’ve retired them and set new goals for 2030 to recycle an equivalent product for every product a customer buys, lead the circular economy with more than half of all product content being made from recycled or renewable material, and use 100% recycled or renewable material in all packaging.As we enter the Next Data Decade, I’m optimistic and excited about what the future holds. The steps our customers will take in the next year to get the most out of their data will set forth new breakthroughs in technology that everyone will experience in some way – whether it’s a more powerful device, faster medical treatment, more accessible education, less waste and cleaner air. And before we know it, we’ll be looking forward to what the following 10 years will have in store.[i] IDC, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2020 Predictions, October 2019last_img read more

A test for Trumpism: Virginia Republicans seek new playbook

A test for Trumpism: Virginia Republicans seek new playbook

first_imgRICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The national Republican Party is at war with itself, struggling to reconcile a bitter divide between former President Donald Trump’s fierce loyalists and those who want Trumpism purged from their party. The GOP need only look across the Potomac River into Virginia to see the dangers that lurk if it cannot correct course. In just nine months, Virginia voters will elect a new governor in what marks the first significant test of the Republican Party’s strength in the post-Trump era. And in a Southern state that had a Republican governor as recently as 2014, Virginia’s 2021 Republican field is facing the prospect of a political disaster.last_img

Bus driver in California crash that killed 11 leaves prison

Bus driver in California crash that killed 11 leaves prison

first_imgSTOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — The driver of a private bus in Northern California that crashed in 2008 and killed 11 passengers headed to a casino has been released from prison after his sentence was reduced because of changes in state law. The Sacramento Bee reported Friday 64-year-old Quinton Watts was released Wednesday from California State Prison-Solano in Vacaville. He was driving the bus with 40 passengers from the Sacramento area to a casino near Colusa on Oct. 5, 2008, when the bus veered off the road. An investigation by the Sacramento Bee found that a physician assistant had erroneously cleared Watts to drive despite his history of having a seizure disorder.last_img