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Nicholas Brackney on Dell’s AI initiatives

Nicholas Brackney on Dell’s AI initiatives

Dell AI

Dell Technologies World 2024 showcased the company’s strong commitment to artificial intelligence (AI). However, amidst the excitement surrounding AI, Dell also emphasized the critical importance of cybersecurity. As a cybersecurity industry analyst, I typically focus on security companies.

Yet, at last week’s conference, AI dominated the discussions. While Dell is not a pure-play cybersecurity company, it offers several robust services to keep customers’ operating environments secure. These services include security program assessment, zero-trust strategy development, managed detection and response, vulnerability management, and traditional incident response services.

Dell’s engineering investment in cybersecurity concentrates on integrations, implementation, and unified management. The company works closely with various security providers such as Zscaler, Okta, CrowdStrike, Halcyon, Palo Alto Networks, Deep Instinct, and Index Engines. This partnership fosters a comprehensive security ecosystem.

Nevertheless, the event’s spotlight was primarily on AI. Dell conveyed a strategy for businesses to navigate their AI journeys, acknowledging the rapid pace of AI development. The strategy revolves around several key points:

1.

Data as the differentiator: Leveraging data where it already resides is more efficient, effective, and secure. 2. No one-size-fits-all: Utilizing an open, modular architecture is critical to leveraging existing knowledge and innovation.

3. Broad and open ecosystem: A broad ecosystem is essential for integrating diverse data sources and technologies.

Dell focuses on AI and security

Dell highlighted the challenges traditional data centers face in supporting AI workloads. The company identified the need for advanced infrastructure capable of handling massive computational demands. Partnering with Broadcom, Dell is addressing the network requirements essential for distributed computing environments, crucial for large language models.

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A notable session emphasized that processing data on-premises, rather than in the cloud, significantly speeds up the model creation process. This approach leverages Dell PowerEdge XE servers to enhance performance. As Dell ventures deeper into AI, the company aims to reshape IT strategies and potentially drive new spending in support of AI initiatives.

Dell offers professional services to guide customers through their AI adoption, from strategy development to infrastructure planning. However, amidst the AI enthusiasm, the significance of cybersecurity cannot be overlooked. As AI reshapes applications and software development, new risks and vulnerabilities will emerge.

It is vital to integrate security considerations early in the development process. Topics such as AI bias, data validation, and nation-state governance initiatives were also discussed. This highlights the need for thoughtful data management and regulation as AI technology evolves.

Dell’s strong message to customers emphasized the urgency to invest in AI now to avoid falling behind. However, integrating security into AI strategies was underemphasized. John Roese, Dell’s Global Chief Technology Officer, noted the opportunity to build new infrastructures with security at the core.

This approach contrasts with bolting security onto existing systems, which has historically been less effective. While Dell’s conference received high marks for its focus on AI, a more balanced integration of cybersecurity considerations would have strengthened its messaging.

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