Knowledge workers are facing new challenges. Working from home. Video call meetings. Remote design & development. How are these changes impacting workstation vendors like Dell and how are companies adapting their computing infrastructure in these uncertain times?
Professional Workstation recently spoke with Julien Vinel, Business Manager for Dell Precision workstations in France. we wanted to understand how eight months of COVID and a second confinement has impacted Dell customers and how Dell is responding.
We’ll look at the new product releases, the changes in industry, and the adaptation of services that Dell provides. Product design cycles are longer than eight months, so the new Precision workstations were in progress when the pandemic hit.
Dell is a company with a full product range and a broad set of services. That makes it instructive to understand where Dell sees changes in the market and how they are helping customers continue business operations due to this significant shift in the working environment.
Businesses that are up and businesses that are down
First of all, we want to understand the pandemic’s impact to industries. Some Dell customers are reducing demand while others are increasing demand.
Transportation industries have slowed demand. Automotive and aerospace are seeing a decline in business. Research and development, the education sector, and consumer goods are all increasing in activity.
Increases in R&D and education seem fairly understandable as both areas adapt. Research is addressing new needs in the market and education must adapt to a very different situation. The increase in design and manufacturing for consumer goods is interesting and it results from people spending so much additional time at home.
Mobile, desktop, or remote - Dell has a Precision workstation for the home office
Short term changes in products and services
The rough split between desktop and mobile workstation solutions in France before the pandemic was approximately 60% desktop workstations and 40% mobile workstations. Dell has needed to adapt their production planning rapidly as that 20% gap disappeared. Today the product mix is essentially 50% / 50%.
Mobile workstation demand increased due to remote work requirements. Sending knowledge workers home with a mobile workstation and remote network access is simply the fastest, easiest path to enable an increase in employees working remotely.
A second path to remote work includes remote workstations. Dell has two rack workstations solutions. This option is attractive for power users. It enables employees who need a powerful desktop workstation to get that performance in a remote working environment.
Finally, IT departments have been overwhelmed with the effort to shift their entire workforce to a new workstation environment. This is where Dell services have been able to support customers.
Using Dell’s deployment services, IT can ship workstations preconfigured with the applications and end-user settings directly to the employee’s home. This removes a bottleneck for the IT team, allows companies to react more rapidly, and gets employees back to full productivity.
Dell’s new Precision workstations are a good fit for a pandemic
Two new workstations from Dell fit well with our post-COVID world. The Dell Precision 5750 is a compact, powerful 17-inch mobile workstation. The Dell Precision 3240 compact desktop system is a remarkably small 2.3 liter desktop system. The Dell Precision 5750 mobile workstation fits a 17-inch mobile workstation into a 15-inch mobile workstation chassis.
The common theme is providing a small, space-saving, powerful workstation. Both are very timely for a pandemic confinement and they are perfect for the home office.
The Precision 5750 mobile workstation is the latest in the Precision 5000 family. Since its inception, the 5000 series has built a tradition of being thin and light since the inception of the 5000 line.
Dell used several tricks to create this small of a 17-inch mobile workstation. One is leveraging their InfinityEdge display technology. As mobile workstations get smaller as well as more powerful, Dell has focused on the thermal design. Part of their secret is to use extraordinarily thin fans.
The Dell Precision 3240 supports a Quadro RTX 3000, a Xeon processor, 64 GB of RAM, and 4 TB of SSD storage. Dell worked closely with NVIDIA in order to fit a Quadro RTX 3000 GPU into this 2.3 liter design. They implemented a mobile GPU in this compact desktop workstation.
The end result for these two systems is to produce ultra-compact, powerful workstations. One example of the power these systems offer includes the ability to run AI workloads. This might be development and training. It certainly accelerates AI-enabled applications that are available in engineering and creative applications.
Special solutions for artificial intelligence development: Dell Data Science Workstations
Artificial Intelligence development is growing steadily. Productive development tools are available and companies are moving to implement pilot projects and to deploy. Dell provides complete data science workstations for these clients.
Multiple models are certified and tested as Data Science Workstations. Customers can order mobile workstations, rack workstations, or desktop models with a tested, preconfigured software stack for data science and AI.
These specialized configurations allow customers to begin running artificial intelligence workloads out-of-the-box. The tested configuration is based on Ubuntu and NVIDIA software. The pre-installed software stack provides a full AI development stack which is GPU-accelerated.
Data Science Workstations from Dell include mobile workstations like the Precision 7750, desktop workstations like the Precision 7920, and rack workstations like the Precision 7820 Rack. These workstations are ready to run AI workloads the first time you power up. Professional support is available from Dell as well as NVIDIA.
Dell Precision Optimizer – the IT manager’s best friend
No discussion of Dell workstations is complete without a word about the Dell Precision Optimizer (DPO). DPO’s standard version is available free for every Dell workstation.
Julien Vinel calls DPO the IT manager’s best friend. And it is not simply because it can be remotely managed or because it automatically optimizes application performance.
No IT manager can possibly know the best workstation configuration for every employee and for every workflow. The DPO, however, can profile every workstation and report that information. This allows IT to tune workstation configurations for every department and for each user.
Even with DPO’s other advantages for workstation performance and centralized management, this feature stands out. The ability to know which workstations are over-configured or under-performing is a great business advantage.
A Final Perspective
The term “new normal” has entered our collective vocabulary. Our working environment is in flux, some industries are up, others are down.
The Dell Precision team is helping customers respond rapidly to the changes in their markets and in their workforces. The broad line up in the Precision workstation family allows Dell to adjust to changing customer needs.
Dell’s extensive service offerings allow IT departments to respond quickly to employee needs. And new Precision workstation models, like the Precision 5750 and Precision 3240, fit into a home office environment.
They just might have what you need in this time of COVID.