Dell IoT Solution for Surveillance, IoT channel bundles announced at VMworld

The IoT bundles are designed to give resellers an easy turnkey option, and encourage more of them to get into IoT. Nine bundles, each focused on a specific vendor, are scheduled for launch, with more coming down the road.

Today, Dell Technologies’ Edge and IoT Solutions Division announced specifics on its announcements being made at the VMworld event. Two announcements have particular resonance for the channel. First, they are announcing a new Dell Technologies IoT Solution for Surveillance, a pre-validated solution which provides an end-to-end surveillance solution that encompasses technologies from multiple companies under the Dell Technologies umbrella. It is available today as a reference architecture, and later this year, as an appliance. Secondly, they are announcing a new series of IoT-focused bundles to be sold exclusively through the channel.

“Surveillance and the Internet of Things [IoT] are really coming together for our customers in a meaningful way,” said Ken Mills, General Manager of IoT , Surveillance and Security at Dell EMC. “This is being fueled by a dramatic increase in camera resolution. Full HD camera of 4K to 10K have become standard, and are now required by law in some geos. This isn’t just happening in government. We are seeing it in education, health care, Safe Cities, and airports –  every vertical, and every customer segment.”

Mills said that over the last couple of years, customers have been increasingly looking at how best to integrate computer vision and artificial intelligence into their surveillance platforms, for functionality like retailers optimizing traffic flow, and that the IoT has begun to be integrated to take advantage of its capabilities.

“It’s a unique opportunity for customers and partners to take advantage of digital transformation and its driving of new architectural requirements,” Mills said. “For example, you now need high performing endpoints to be able to watch the videos. Customers want us to be able to handle the data transport, so that they won’t be locked in, and that they will be able to scale with future needs.”

The IoT Solution for Surveillance is a hyper-converged, software-defined solution, that is currently available as a reference architecture to align systems and build a framework, with appliance availability scheduled for October.

“This is our first offer from Dell IoT solutions, which combines best of breed technologies from VMware, EMC, Dell EMC, and RSA best of breed,” said Mike McDonough, IoT Engineering Lead, Dell Technologies.

“The core of solution is the storage, since you have to store the data somewhere while being able to use it to make decisions,” he said. There are three tiers of storage: a SaaS cache with real time analytics; on-prem economy storage; and 300TB to 50PB available on Dell EMC Elastic Cloud Storage. High availability and zero data loss will be guaranteed with VMware vSAN RAID 5/6 across flash and disk. High availability and disaster recovery services come from VMware ESXi Enterprise Plus.

“The camera technology has higher density that goes downward to switches, while the cameras themselves have artificial intelligence and are becoming more intelligent,” McDonough said. Camera and sensor deployments supported scale into the thousands.

“The switches are managed, and because large customers and partners want to put in their value-add, there are two layers of OS connectivity, one on the software side and on the hardware side,” he continued. “We are really excited about this.”

The security includes micro-segmentation (NSX-T) and the ability to push over-the-air updates and security patches in real time to all surveillance devices from camera to cloud. Holistic management capabilities across IT and OT [operational technology] come from a combination of VMware Pulse IoT Center, which lets the system connect to the cameras, and Software Defined Data Center.

“The management is key, and has a lot of components, which allows us to reach from the hardware side to the software side,” McDonough said. “The infrastructure is much more than just a bundling of software. We worked in the labs for many months to get the software and hardware aligned to achieve needed performance. There were times when we had to stop – redo –  rethink. This was not easy.”

The management engine features VMware vSphere.

“The architecture is fully resilient and can scale out and up on both the hardware and software side,” McDonough stated. “This is the first of several architectures for this marketplace we are coming out with.”

The other major part of the announcement for the channel is the new IoT Connected bundles. They are turnkey offerings that will only be sold through channel partners, and are designed to be easily repeatable. The idea is to significantly expand the number of channel partners entering the IoT space.

“They are packaged up for reseller partners to enable them to deliver IoT value to the mainstream,” said Chris Wolff, IoT and OEM Go-to-Market lead at Dell EMC. “They will be available through Tech Data. We are launching them in phases starting at VMworld. The bundles are focused on a specific vendor partner covering a specific solution. They are: Action Point: predictive maintenance in midmarket manufacturing;  ELM: compliance-as-a-Service for HVAC, refrigeration and power systems ;  MS Evolve: energy savings for grocery retailers while improving food quality and safety; Modius: advanced Data Center Infrastructure Management; Pelco: video surveillance tailored for the requirements of K-12 Education; Pixel Velocity: efficient remote monitoring of field assets in Oil and Gas operations; Software AG: digital manufacturing intelligence suite for larger-scale operations; and V5 Systems: self-contained and powered surveillance for safety and security in outdoor spaces.

The bundles are scheduled to begin rolling out in September.

VMware is also making related IoT announcements.

“VMwares digital infrastructure foundation to run businesses is now being extended to the edge,” said Mimi Spier, VP IoT and Edge Business, VMware. “It’s a holistic strategy for VMware, working with Dell to take on the edge, and doing it in a way for the specific needs of the cloud, edge and data centre.”

The focus is on what is necessary to extend a cloud strategy to the edge, with its inconsistent connectivity, across data centre, compute and devices. The announcements all revolve around Pulse IoT Cener 2.0, which has a new modular architecture that VMware says can scale to up to 500 million devices.

“Pulse IoT Center 2.0 allows operations techs and IT techs to have complete visibility across IoT devices,” Spier said. “It’s also a part of the smart IoT Solution for Surveillance, the first of many Dell Technologies solutions that combine hardware, software, and partner solutions around cameras, all connected together.”

Pulse IoT Center 2.0 is designed to make it as easy as possible to provision and onboard these devices, using an integrated Dell Gateway.

“There are also enhancements around alerts and notifications,” Spier said. “It’s very difficult to patch these devices  or push software updates, so Pulse IoT Center monitors and collects telemetry to understand device health and takes action accordingly.”

Application and container management capabilities have also been added.

“We will deliver bits of Docker containers down to the gateway to connect devices to the Azure cloud,” Spier said. “Azure can’t do this without Pulse. We will also do it for SAP Leonardo and other platform providers.”

Finally, Spier said that security in Pulse IoT Center will be enhanced.

“Customers are asking for this from Pulse – to the have most modern technology,” she said.