Dell Brings IoT Analytics to the Network Edge

The vendor's new Edge Gateway 500 Series includes software that will collect and analyze data closer to where the IoT devices are found.


AUSTIN, Texas—The Internet of things is going to be about more than billions of connected devices loaded with sensors, according to Dell CEO Michael Dell. It's going to be about the massive amounts of data that those devices and sensors collect, and the ability of businesses to make sense of that data to rapidly gain insights that will lead to good business decisions.

At the Dell World 2015 show here Oct. 20, Dell introduced a new gateway device that Michael Dell and other company officials said will bring enhanced data analytics to the edge of the network, closer to where the devices are located. The Edge Gateway 5000 Series combined with the latest version of Dell's Statistica data analytics software will be able to gather, aggregate and analyze the data coming from the edge devices.

It then will only send relevant and meaningful data to the data center or cloud, which helps reduce the customer's bandwidth costs.

"As more of the data is processed in real time at the edge of the network, the gateway becomes the spam filter for IoT," Andy Rhodes, executive director of commercial Internet of things (IoT) solutions at Dell, said in a statement.

Dell is among a growing number of tech vendors—including Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Intel—that are developing products that bring storage, computing and analytics closer to the edge of the network to help customers more quickly and cost-effectively collect and manage the data being generated by connected devices. And there will be a lot of data created it the coming years.

Estimates of the number of connected devices—from mobile devices and sensors to home appliances, cars and industrial systems—worldwide in 2020 range from 25 billion to 100 billion, and Michael Dell during his keynote address at the show Oct. 21 said that they will generate 44 zetabytes of data. Dell, like other vendors, sees a significant business opportunity, with Michael Dell noting that in May the company launched a business unit dedicated to the IoT.

Gateways will be a key part of Dell's overall IoT effort, he said.

"We think that innovation into gateways is important because there are going to be millions of these things out there," he said.

Dell officials are building out the company's ability to enable the entire IoT environment from the edge devices back into the cloud and data center through its broad portfolio of hardware, software and services. Gateways are part of that effort.

OEMs can use the gateway in their own solutions or for helping customers that want to create their own building or factory automation products as part of their larger IoT efforts, according to Dell officials. Customers also can take advantage of Dell support and services, including its ProSupport offering for the entire life cycle of the hardware.

The gateway can be used in extreme environments—such as boiler rooms or deserts—and can use both legacy interconnect connections like RS-422/485 and CAN bus and modern wireless networks like WiFi and 802.15.4. It also includes expansion capabilities for future wireless options. In addition, there is flexibility in operating systems it will run, including Ubuntu Snappy, Wind River Linux and Microsoft's Windows 10 IoT Enterprise.

Security includes trusted platform module (TPM), secure boot and BIOS-level lockdown of I/O ports, and the device can be managed through Dell Command/Monitor for Linux and Dell's Cloud Client Manager.