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Dell Technologies reported impressive gains in its latest bottom line as IT spending in on-premises environments continues to rebound in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company recently posted record revenues of $ 94 billion in its most recent fiscal year.

Nevertheless, Dell finds it hard to believe that all workloads migrate to the cloud, although the amount spent on on-premises computing environments continues to run into the trillions.

VentureBeat caught up Matt Baker, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Planning for the Dell EMC Business Unit, to better understand how the digital transformation of the enterprise is creating a “node” through which organizations become increasingly dependent on applications running both in the cloud and in on-premises computing environments.

VentureBeat: What is a digital transformation node? It sounds like something to be avoided.

Matt Baker: As an industry, we often toss this phrase “digital transformation”. I wanted to talk a little more about what this means and the implications for business. A knot tends to occur when an industry is pulled in a disruptive manner. There are a number of companies that we would call companies that now operate more like a cloud provider. We have fallen into the belief in a false dichotomy that there is a difference between cloud native businesses that are somehow different and superior to a business. Once an organization is pulled out of a hole or digitally transformed, it becomes very difficult to understand, if not see, a difference between a public cloud operator and a business, as their digital operations become a key part of their differentiation. . This is a key area for optimization and investment that generates business value.

VentureBeat: Is that an integral part of starting to operate more like a software company?

Baker: I think it’s a bit more. They have become a kind of digital platform. It takes innovative energy to create a solid digital experience.

VentureBeat: What’s the best way to cross the hole?

Baker: The way to not get stuck through the knot hole is to do it proactively. The last thing you want to do is have to digitally transform yourself. If you do it proactively, you’re not stuck with 50 of your peers. This hole becomes large enough to work its way through, instead of having the whole industry painfully sunk. You don’t want to be caught off guard. If you go through this process rather than getting swept up in it by chance, it will be a lot less painful.

Venture Beat: What’s the impact of all this on Dell?

Baker: We fight a perception of those who believe in this inexorable “everything will go to a few players in the public cloud”. We see among the companies that have gone through these nodes quite the opposite. They have invested more in owning and operating their means of production rather than, essentially, in leasing them to someone else. They want the flexibility and resilient nature of the public cloud, but they also want control and, frankly, cost optimization.

We are not against the public cloud. In fact, we have partnerships with most of them. Instead, we try to educate people that this is not a total zero sum phenomenon. We want to have a more nuanced discussion about the role of IT in business in the future. We shouldn’t be thinking about it in these really simple false dichotomies and zero-sum beliefs. This creates a certain challenge for companies like Dell, but as technology becomes more central to the way businesses operate and deliver value to their customers, it’s actually a huge tailwind for us. But somehow it became a discussion of how it’s a headwind and we’re still kind of scratching our heads. We just see continued investment in technology as the path to innovation, and it will only speed up, not slow down. The main message is that we shouldn’t be creating these dichotomies between business and the cloud.

VentureBeat: Do you think organizations have any idea of ​​the true cost of IT these days?

Baker: Honestly, we don’t know the true cost of this pandemic from a technological standpoint, as CEOs have told their CIOs to “get us online at all costs.” Here is a blank check. Just keep working. Now the CFOs realize how much it cost them and they’re like, “Whoa, we need to revamp this a bit. “

VentureBeat: It also appears that as organizations begin to process and analyze data in near real time, closer to where it is created and consumed at the edge of the network, the IT industry as a whole enters a new phase.

Baker: Industry insiders understand this. I think different companies have a different degree of maturity. Providing real-time experiences cannot be over 2,000 miles. There is a fundamental law of physics that is going to govern the ability to provide real-time automation or real-time experiments simply because of the speed of light.

We have experienced a great split in centralization. I think we have reached the peak of centralization and therefore we are going to see a kind of return to decentralization due to real time analysis and real time experiences. I don’t think the general public fully understands the implications of real time. We want to be able to point that out and say, “There is a more optimal path that you may not be considering. “

VentureBeat: Now that Amazon is building servers for on-premises environments, how do you see them as a competitor?

Baker: We’re sort of at the start of this great transformation towards container-based native cloud architectures where every cloud player, including VMware and IBM, is increasingly expressing its capabilities as software platforms that don’t. do not need to be detained. and operated by, say, an Amazon, Microsoft or whatever. I think you’re starting to see a lot of people converging on a different model. Everyone comes to a logical conclusion that there are going to be different horses for different courses.

People will want to own and operate some of their infrastructure. They will want to consume it as a service for other items. We are now seeing industry players recognize that it is indeed more of a hybrid, multi-cloud world.

VentureBeat: Do we have enough network bandwidth to realize this vision?

Baker: I think a lot of things in telecommunications solve the last mile problem. I think we need innovation in terms of telecommunications networks, but I don’t think we are really limited once you get past that first jump. There is a lot of fiber in the world today to accomplish a lot.

If the focus is on analytics as the data is being created, there isn’t a lot of traffic coming and going. In fact, it is an exception that would rise. You are not sending all the data. This is a great argument for this notion of decentralization. It’s not just a latency issue. It is a big problem of volume. You don’t want to send all the video feeds back to a data center somewhere outside of Seattle when you could have just processed them there. It’s expensive.

VentureBeat: Will traditional batch-oriented applications then disappear?

Baker: There are no zero sums in technology. We will continue to see traditional batch oriented solutions. In many of these modern data-centric applications, you are actually coordinating both batch operations and real-time operations. It’s more of a cycle. I don’t think we’re going to see the lots disappear and real time take control of everything. We see them being combined most often.

VentureBeat: Ten years ago, the industry promised IT would get easier. What happened to the easy button?

Baker: In all fairness, it has become a lot easier than it was 10 years ago. A good example is the simplicity of a HCI solution (hyperconverged infrastructure). There aren’t that many silos. It is much easier to use. One of the problems with the cloud argument is that no one recognizes that the cost and complexity of operating IT equipment is much lower than it was when we first designed cloud environments. public. The point is, the complexity has crept into the application layer. I won’t say it’s trivial to operate a private cloud environment, but it’s much more trivial than it was 10 years ago.


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