Scenes From Dell World: Top IT CEOs Talk Cloud, Data Center

Welcome To Dell World

Dell held its first-ever Dell World recently in Austin, Texas, attracting more than 2,000 attendees and nearly 200 channel partners with keynote sessions from some of IT's biggest luminaries, including Steve Ballmer, Paul Maritz, Paul Ottelini, Marc Benioff and more. Here's a look at what transpired.

Michael Dell: To PC Or Not To PC

CEO Michael Dell kicked off the conference telling attendees that Dell was, is, and always will be in the PC business. He added that anybody who isn't, (hint, hint HP) can't serve customers end to end.

Just In Kace

Michael Dell also covered Dell's new offerings through several recent acquisitions, including systems management appliances from Kace.

"We've tripled our investment, quadrupled our support capability around the world [for Kace]. This year, we're launching Dell Kace products in five new countries. The business is seven times larger than when we acquired it," Dell said.

Props To The Channel

About 15 minutes in, Dell recognized the importance that VARs are providing to the company worldwide, touting that the channel is key to Dell's success.

"It expands the reach of our solutions to the broadest set of customers we can provide," said Dell, before asking for a round of applause for partners in the audience.

Veni, Vidi, Vivek

Vivek Kundrea, former CIO of the United States, and the first man in history to hold that title, opened the curtain on how he reorganized some of the IT infrastructure of the federal government. Before coming on board, he said that the government went from 432 data centers to over 2,000 data centers in 10 years, leading to an average processor utilization rate of under 27 percent and an average storage utilization rate of under 40 percent.

Higher-Ed Help

Dell World included a solutions showcase that included several vertical market offerings such as this one for higher education customers that includes two workstations with 20-inch monitors custom fit for a Mediatech table.

Touch-Screen Projector

The solutions showcase also featured a touch-screen projector for education customers in which users can write electronically right onto the screen and then erase it with a few swipes of a digital eraser.

Eight-Headed Video

Viv Summerfield, president and CEO of Amulet Hotkey, shows off his company's 8 head PC-over-IP blade solution, introduced at Dell World.

The DXM710 provides up to eight heads of video to one desktop while the blade workstation is monitored and managed in a secure data center, according to the company. The solution is ideal for financial services companies tracking lots of data on multiple monitors, Summerfield said.

Police Power

A specially-outfitted police car attracted many attendees. The car featured a semi-rugged notebook plus several Pannin Technologies cameras and recording devices to help law enforcement officers.

CSI: Austin

A Dell employee demonstrates a digital forensics solution in which law enforcement officials can digitally copy clean data from a PC that could be used as evidence. The solution allows police to more quickly analyze the data on a device to look for incriminating files.

Mobile Clinical Station

In a health-care pavilion, Dell showed off many solutions, including this mobile clinical station that lets users enter and access data that can be quickly and securely shared with other users in a hospital environment.

X-Rays Of The Future

Dell's health-care solutions also featured an x-ray solution capable of storing vast amounts of data including x-ray pictures that can be divided into more than 1,000 slices.

Dell World Data Center

Here's the temporary data center Dell built to run all the solutions on the floor, including Dell servers and Compellent and EqualLogic storage devices. The data center was also a showcase solution itself, with a touch screen controlling lights to highlight different components of the solution.

IT Services Shift

Steve Schuckenbrock, president of Dell Services, tells Dell World attendees that a recent company survey of CIOs finds that enterprises expect to see a significant shift to the cloud within the next three years.

"You have to drive innovation all the way to the end user. They're expecting us to fund and drive utilization levels way, way up and costs way, way down," Schuckenbrock said.

Cloud Talk

Schuckenbrock, at left, moderated a panel titled The Business of Results: Cloud and IT Services Innovation that included, from second from left, Mike Cote, vice president of Dell SecureWorks; John Dabek, CTO at Towers Watson; and ex-CIO of the U.S. Vivke Kundra.

Dabek, speaking, said the cloud helped his company, a global professional services firm, through the merger of Towers Perrin and Watson Wyatt to form Towers Watson. "We want a standard way of doing business and speed to value," he said.

Virtual Era

Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware, told the audience his vision of how the cloud and virtualization are tied together. Application renewal and innovation will be the big story for next decade, which means significant readjustment for IT enterprises, he said.

A Little Help

Michael Dell comes onstage to help Steve Felice, president of Dell's Consumer, Small and Medium Business, fix his jacket at DellWorld. "Thanks. My executive assistant, Michael Dell, everyone," Felice joked.


His jacket fixed, Felice detailed a study that Dell commissioned with Intel that showed crowdsourcing, or the act of sourcing tasks to an unspecified group of people, has become a trend among customers and employees and that brands that are more engaged with customers are thought of as more forward thinking and progressive. The study also found that by 2014, 80 percent of workers will use at least two devices for their job, he said.

Where's the Beer?

During a panel called Supercharging Productivity: Role of IT in Workforce Innovation, Jay Richardson (left), director of IT at New Belgium Brewing, joked that Dell should have provided free beer during the general sessions. A Dell executive later said that comment received the most social media mentions during the first day of Dell World.

Marc Benioff's Restaurant Keynote?

Marc Benioff, CEO at, talked about the importance of social media, including the company's Chatter solution. He also boasted that half of the social media traffic at the recent Oracle Open World was about his keynote at that show being canceled. Benioff moved his talk to a nearby restaurant and held what he called was his first ever "restaurant keynote."

Idle 'Chatter'

On Day 2, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer joked that he was pleased to speak on the same day as Intel CEO Paul Otellini, instead of Day 1, "a day of idle 'Chatter.'" The swipe at Benioff's speech the day before drew laughs from the crowd of more than 2,000.

Windows Server 8

Ballmer used his keynote to tout the upcoming Windows 8 and Windows Server 8, which he said was being developed for cloud computing. "We'll see that migration for the next 10 years. That means we need to get cloud infrastructure right," Ballmer said.

Easy Migration

Brian Surace, a senior program manager at Microsoft's Windows team, came onstage during Ballmer's keynote to demonstrate the ease of migrating a virtual machine from one host to a second host with no service interruption. "We're removing the entire virtual machine, the information that's in RAM, the configuration of the virtual machine, the entire virual hard disk with nothing more than a network connection between the two hosts," Surace said.

Managing IT Transformation

Brad Anderson, senior vice president of Dell's Enterprise Solutions Group, cautioned CIOs to maintain control of their IT infrastructure even as those infrastructures move to the cloud. "We understand your IT environment has to support your needs .. We also understand that technology can't get you all the way there," he said. "It's a nexus of technology, processes, and people that will get you there."


What They're Saying

Dell showcased a social media center with four large monitors to track who was saying what about the conference through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.

IT Meets Art

Graphic artist Liisa Sorsa puts some finishing touches on a mural that she drew while Michael Dell and Marc Benioff spoke on a small stage about Dell's services offerings. Dell and Benioff later autographed the mural.

Otelinni's Outlook

Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, told the crowd that smarter technology is forcing businesses to reexamine the way they look at deploying and managing devices. He also said Intel's upcoming Ultrabook will be "more portable, user friendly, and better for high-capacity creative work than any existing PC platform."

Mysterious Ways

After a long day of listening to IT executives, attendees got to hang out on the Streets of Austin and hear U2 cover band Mysterious Ways perform while chowing down on a wide variety of food supplied by local food trucks.

This Is TechCenter

Dell had their own ESPN SportsCenter-style desk where anchors supplied highlights of the day's events.