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OSCON: Dell To Offer Ubuntu-Powered Developer Laptop

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Dell’s Ubuntu-powered laptop, created as part of its Project Sputnik, will be offered in the autumn as part of a wider open source drive at the company

Dell has announced the expansion of three open-source software and cloud computing initiatives: the formalisation of Project Sputnik resulting in a Dell product in the autumn, its Dell’s Emerging Solutions Ecosystem to include Pentaho and Datameer, and enhancements to Dell’s OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution and the Dell Cloudera solution.

Dell officially launched Project Sputnik, which was initially designed as a six-month exploratory pilot to create an Ubuntu-based developer laptop. However, Dell is taking Project Sputnik from pilot to product this autumn.

At that time, the company plans to deliver an official developer laptop based on the Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu 12.04LTS preloaded, available in select areas.

Complete solution

Made possible by an internal innovation fund, the system will offer developers a complete client-to-cloud solution. The included software will allow developers to create “microclouds” on their laptops, simulating a proper, at-scale environment, and then deploy that environment seamlessly to the cloud.

Dell announced the official launch of Project Sputnik and its product plans at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) 2012 in Portland, Oregon.

In an OSCON keynote, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, maker of Ubuntu, said: “Dell is going to start preinstalling Ubuntu in the American market on developer notebooks as part of Project Sputnik.”

“Project Sputnik is a great example of the employee-driven innovation we built Dell’s incubation programme to enable,” said Nnamdi Orakwue, executive sponsor of the Dell incubation programme and executive assistant to Michael Dell, in a statement. “This project represents the first of many new ideas Dell employees will test with customers or partners through the programme, and we look forward to supporting Sputnik to be successful as it becomes a product this fall.”

“Since we announced project Sputnik a little over two months ago, we have continued to be amazed by the amount and quality of interest and input we have received,” said Barton George, Project Sputnik lead and director Dell’s web vertical marketing, in a statement. “By listening to developers, Dell can provide them with solutions and products to help make them more productive and allow for greater innovation.”

Datameer certification

“We realised there was a gap in the developer laptop market,” Joseph George, director of product strategy for Cloud Solutions at Dell, told eWEEK at OSCON. “The developer community is looking for a laptop that fits their needs. It’s a thin, light laptop that gives them everything they need.”

Meanwhile, as a new member of Dell’s Emerging Solutions Ecosystem, Datameer has completed Dell’s certification process. In a single application, Datameer enables business users, analysts and data scientists to integrate, analyse and visualise all of their data, regardless of its source, whether it’s big or small, structured or unstructured. Dell is offering Datameer in conjunction with its Apache Hadoop solutions.

Pentaho joined the Dell Emerging Solutions Ecosystem with its Business Analytics Solution, which couples data integration with business analytics to easily access, integrate, visualise, explore and mine business data. Pentaho leverages a graphical extract, transform and load (ETL) environment for creating and managing Hadoop MapReduce jobs and in the same integrated environment allows users to start exploring their structured and unstructured data.

“With our partner programmes, we can meet customers where they are,” said John Igoe, executive director, Dell open-source Cloud and Big Data Solutions, in a statement. “For those with in-house developer expertise or who need to enable business users to perform big data analytics, Emerging Solutions Ecosystem partners can help quickly fill gaps in their cloud or big data taxonomy. These cloud and big data solutions are key to the future of IT, so Dell is committed to bringing these and future technologies to enable customers to quickly and cost effectively stand up OpenStack cloud or Hadoop clusters.”

OpenStack improvements

To help customers build cloud infrastructure, Dell’s OpenStack-Powered Cloud Solution is now available with additional server, networking and services options, and in additional regions, including the United Kingdom, Germany and China. Along with OpenStack Essex, customers can buy with Dell 12th generation PowerEdge servers, including the R720, R720XD or PowerEdge C servers; PowerConnect or Force10 switches; services from Dell, Canonical or Mirantis.

To quickly stand up a big data cluster, the Dell Cloudera Solution is now available with additional server, networking and services options, and in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Along with CDH4, customers can buy this solution with Dell 12th generation PowerEdge servers, including the R720, R720XD or PowerEdge C servers; PowerConnect or Force10 switches; services from Dell and Canonical.

SecureWorks deployment

Dell SecureWorks recently leveraged this solution, which includes Cloudera’s distribution of Apache Hadoop running on optimised Dell PowerEdge C2100 servers, and delivered with joint service and support along with the Dell Crowbar software framework, a Dell-developed installer to speed and ease bare-metal deployments.

These combined resources helped SecureWorks accelerate the deployment of a robust Hadoop environment by more than six months, and helped to slash the organisation’s storage-per-gigabyte costs from $17 (£10) to 23 cents, Dell’s Joseph George said.

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