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Dell – growing the Precision Workstation business as a private company

The transition from a publicly-traded company to a privately held enterprise seems to have been a good change for the workstation experts from Austin. Using the occasion of a presentation with their partners from Dassault Systèmes and NVIDIA, Dell highlighted the radical growth in workstation units shipped during the last two financial quarters.

Paris, the heart of the 9 arrondissement, Dell with partners Dassault Systemes Fashion LAB, and NVIDIA show off products in design, engineering, and graphics arts including the solutions for mobile professionals to remote workstations in the data center.

The big news from Dell was the growth of the Precision workstation business for the last two quarters.

The company is clearly pleased with the performance of the Precision workstation line which has seen significant product launches in 2013 and 2014, notably, the launch of mobile workstations which attack new customers and market segments.

The first quarter of 2014 saw a 15% increase in volume which was a complete surprise to industry analysts who had been predicting a 5-6% growth for the quarter. Dell's Precision workstation products performed exceptionally well by increasing unit shipments 26% year-on-year during the first quarter.

Addressing the market with new platforms like the Dell Precision M3800, M2800 and R7610, the company has increased its customer-base.

And Dell claims that the growth did not come through "hunting" customers from their competition. Instead, they see the growth due to a strategy to address the market with new solutions, such as the Precision M3800 mobile workstation. The strategy to offer innovative solutions across the product line means the products can address the needs of new customers and grow the workstation market for Dell.

And the company has continued this work. The Precision M2800 is in production now and it further extends the changing mobile workstation line at Dell. At the other end of the spectrum, Dell is pushing the workstation into the data center with innovative technologies from graphics partners and virtualization software solutions. These solutions increase dramatically the graphics performance on remote workstations and also allow the virtualization of the workstation graphics. The latter point is important because now a remote workstation can serve more than one user per GPU increasing the flexibility of the system and its benefit to customers without increasing the hardware investment.

Dell is focused on three main trends in the professional market

Dell spoke about the three trends in the professional market on which they focus : the partnership with the creative professional, the democratization of workstation technology and solutions, and the migration of the workstation to the data center.

Perhaps the most important aspect, and the starting point for the company, is to focus on the customer. This is not a new theme for the company. Dell has had this perspective for many years.

For the designer, engineer and architect, Dell sees several mission critical characteristics, reliability, simplicity, performance, and productivity. The goal for Dell is to touch each of these with their professional systems.

Two purchasing criteria, performance and reliability, are critical for Dell customers. Dell focuses on the application performance, the product availability, and customer experience.

Dell has developed the DPPO, Dell Precision Performance Optimizer.

To increase performance, Dell has developed the DPPO, Dell Precision Performance Optimizer. This means that the workstations adapts automatically to your application to deliver the best possible performance. The basis of this technology is the cooperation that Dell has, and work that Dell does, with software developers. Dell claims that the same CPU in a Dell system performs up to 18% faster than a competitive system.

Dell's partners, Dassault FashionLAB and NVIDIA, presented their highlights for design professionals and discussed how they support professional designers, creative work-flows, and the design to manufacturing process.

The Dassault Systèmes FashionLAB is a technology incubator dedicated to the industry of fashion and luxury products. It may seem odd that the company providing the technology for producing jets from Airbus and Boeing or cars from Audi and BMW should be focused on haute couture, luxury time-pieces, or jewelry.

The processes and the challenges faced by these industries are, however, quite similar. For luxury goods, the processes from the conceptual phase to the design review to manufacturing demand tools addressing styling, engineering, visualization, modeling, simulation, and project management. The products may be radically different, but the customer demands reflect those of the automotive and aerospace industries.

Specifically, this is manifested in tools which support the designer from the beginning with tools that allow drawing, creating the design and integrating the following steps to create the final result. This is exactly parallel to the design of a car with the premier concept images – drawn by hand – to the final production of the product with all of the necessary steps in the development process.

It is in this chain of processes where Dell focuses on products and solutions which support an efficient work-flow. The demands are many, for example, high-resolution rendering, eg: 4K resolutions, with extremely high levels of realism for the design review. Dell remote workstation technology with GPU accelerated realistic renderings is an example of technology supporting this demand from the fashion industry.

The Dell Precision M2800 is the latest addition to the Precision family to target customers needing a workstation but not traditionally inclined to move to a workstation platform. The Dell Precision M3800 is a second example of a product for a higher level of mobility for professionals.

Dell monitors are the number one monitor brand in the world today. This is perhaps partly due to Dell's focus on providing a complete solution including pre-installed software from partners such as Autodesk and Adobe along with the entire solution of workstation, 3D mouse, and soon, 3D printers.

Dell monitors are the number one monitor brand in the world

The addition of Makerbot 3D printers will arrive very soon such that professionals will be able to address more of the design to production process via a single source of technology and infrastructure., in other words, Dell.

The third trend in the sites of the Texas workstation provider is the movement of workstations to the data center – this is in the form of remote workstations. Recent technology advances allow for essentially the same level of computing and graphics performance via a remote workstation as from a workstation under the desk. In particular, the user experience and performance via a remote workstation must deliver, and now is able to deliver, a user experience with a high level of responsiveness.

Another aspect is the security. No matter where the designer or engineer is physically located and using the workstation, the company data and intellectual property remains in the data center. Nothing is on the client device except for the final images. If a tablet or notebook is lost or stolen, no critical information is lost.

A third aspect is extremely collaborative possibilities for customers. Not only does the customer have a choice of 'client devices' such as an iPad, or iPhone, or notebook of any kind, or a desktop PC, or a thin-client, or a high-resolution power-wall; the choice is extremely open. As such collaboration among team members is more effective during meetings, design reviews, in person or via remote meetings.

A fourth aspect is the efficiency of a data center solution. The efficiency of a single workstation supporting multiple designers in multiple locations is a real gain in terms of resources for a company at a lower overall cost. This can be true whether the remote workstation is dedicated to a single simultaneous user or used as a virtual workstation simultaneously shared among more than one designer. In addition, the effort to maintain, backup, and upgrade a centralized resource is lower for a workstation in the data center compared to workstations distributed throughout the company.