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Dell Technologies' blog posts about the PowerOne system


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TCO PowerOne qualitative analysis David Iovino

PowerOne Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) - A qualitative analysis

David Iovino

Wed, 15 Apr 2020 17:38:06 -0000


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As a member of the technical marketing team that covers PowerOne, I see many requests for quantitative analysis data related to PowerOne. Usually, these requests are needed for a TCO spreadsheet. We provide this information where available, but some aspects of PowerOne or for that matter, any product, are resistant to quantitative analysis. In addition, quantitative analyses themselves aren’t completely devoid of subjectivity.

When aspects of a solution are resistant to quantitative analysis, even if their analysis would be useful to decision makers, they are often left unexplored. The point of this post is to explore qualitative aspects of PowerOne and encourage their use in TCO. The following qualitative aspects of PowerOne are not exhaustive and I may, add to or expand upon this post in the future.

Wisdom from Charlie Munger

"People calculate too much and think too little." 

This is not only true in the world of finance and investing, but also in the world of selling Information Technology (IT) products and solutions. As part of the sales cycle, there is a strong push to show how CAPEX spending will, directly and quantitatively, translate into OPEX savings. This is certainly a reasonable exercise, but often these translations miss some qualitative aspects that are harder to evaluate.

Consumable Infrastructure Automation

PowerOne takes the concept of an engineered system one step further and includes consumable automation that meets the same rigorous standards of engineered systems. This allows the customer to consume infrastructure automation vs. either manually configuring that infrastructure or taking on the heavy lift of building, testing, and maintaining their own infrastructure automation.

              Okay, so how does that reduce TCO for a customer?

98% reduction in manual tasks

Because PowerOne automates configuration tasks, customers will see a 98% reduction in the manual tasks they would perform if they were manually configuring their infrastructure. This reduction doesn’t only bear fruit in reduced effort, but also in the reduction of human error.

Consume vs. build automation

Dell has and will continue to invest thousands of hours to build, test, and maintain PowerOne automation that can be easily consumed by customers. One aspect of building automation that often gets overlooked: it is the difference in skill and effort required to build an automation script that operates once and from a single known state vs. built-in automation that must operate over a long period of time and from many possible states.  

Simplified consumption

Not only does Dell build, test and maintain PowerOne automation, but it also exposes access to that automation through a simple RESTful API. This eliminates the need for customers to have knowledge of infrastructure automation mechanisms and allows them to leverage a single RESTful API interface. This allows a customer’s developers to focus their automation efforts at the virtualization, application, and business layers, instead of the infrastructure layer.

Outcome oriented

In addition to the benefits of consume vs. build and simplified consumption through a single RESTful API, PowerOne is designed to be outcome oriented. This important aspect helps simplify the translation of business requirements to infrastructure configuration.

And so how does that reduce TCO for a customer?

Easier translation of business requirements

PowerOne helps the customer specify CRG requirements in the form of compute, memory, and storage. PowerOne then proposes configurations that meet those requirements and that adhere to Dell best practices. This approach allows for easier translation of application sizing to CRG requirements.

Modern Software Design

In order to deliver consistent outcomes over time, PowerOne automation is managed by the PowerOne Controller. To ensure that the controller software can easily evolve, PowerOne employs a microservices based architecture that uses opensource software.

              How does that reduce TCO for a customer?

Opensource isn’t free!

Leveraging opensource software provides flexibility, but also adds complexity, such as managing  opensource licensing. This task is often overlooked, but essential to prevent exposing the business to legal risk. PowerOne includes opensource software from many projects. This software makes its intelligent modern software design possible. When a customer buys PowerOne, they can leverage these benefits without the overhead of managing opensource licensing.

An Engineered System

PowerOne is an engineering system. It brings together compute, storage and network components into a single system. As an engineered system, thousands of hours have been invested into design, quality assurance, and interoperability testing.

              Now how does that reduce TCO for a customer?

System Architecture

If a customer embarks on a “build your own (BYO)” project, they will need to invest many hours in creating a system architecture. This extends beyond just determining the connectivity of the individual components. It requires that various requirements and characteristics be explored: performance, configuration options, scalability, and so on. By contrast, when a customer purchases a PowerOne system, Dell Technologies has already designed and validated the system architecture. The customer simply needs to assess whether that system’s architecture fits their needs.


The procurement process often gets overlooked. Though it varies for each customer, each must complete some design and planning work before the procurement process can begin. If a customer embarks on a BYO project, most if not all of the system architecture must be in place, and a significant amount of the logistics work must be complete before the procurement process can begin. Instead, when a customer purchases a PowerOne system, they must perform only a small amount of logistics work ahead of procurement.


PowerOne provides many qualitative benefits to consider when evaluating whether PowerOne is right for you. As the industry continues to move towards automated datacenters, these qualitative aspects will become ever more important. Today, an infrastructure system should do more than provide quality infrastructure -- it should easily dovetail into a larger datacenter automation framework. PowerOne does just that and does it well.

David Iovino - LinkedIn

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