Dell gets edgy with chatbots, Zero Trust, backup

On the second day of Dell Technologies World, the Texan tech titan has announced projects looking at chatbots, Zero Trust security, edge kit and more.

Dell wants enterprise customers to extend their use of its hardware, software, and services as they adopt AI chatbots, move deeper into zero trust security, and develop their edge site facilities at scale. 

Project Helix

Project Helix is a joint offering with Nvidia that involves validated blueprints to build on-premises generative AI systems. These will use Dell and Nvidia hardware and software with the aim of improving enterprise search, market intelligence, customer services, and other activities with chatbot front ends.

Dell COO and vice chairman Jeff Clarke said: “Project Helix gives enterprises purpose-built AI models to more quickly and securely gain value from the immense amounts of data underused today.” Enterprise customers can, he said, use them to reinvent their industries whilst maintaining data privacy. 

Dell and Nvidia product components include the PowerEdge XE9680 and R760xa servers, Nvidia H100 Tensor Core GPUs, networking and AI Enterprise software, Dell PowerScale arrays and ECS Enterprise Object Storage plus CloudIQ observability. 

AI Enterprise comprises around 100 frameworks, pre-trained models and development tools like the NeMo large language model framework and NeMo Guardrails software for building secure chatbots. 

Project Helix will support a generative AI project lifecycle, we’re told, from infrastructure provisioning, modeling, training, fine-tuning, application development and deployment, to deploying inference and streamlining results. The on-premises presence, Dell claims, reduces inherent risk and helps companies meet regulatory requirements. 

The validated designs developed through Project Helix will be available in July through traditional channels and APEX consumption options.

Project Fort Zero

Rubrik and others have promoted Zero Trust tech for over a year. Fort Zero is Dell’s equivalent product and it is planning to deliver a validated solution within the next 12 months, building on its existing Zero Trust Center of Excellence

Herb Kelsey, Federal CTO at Dell, said: “Zero Trust is designed for decentralized environments, but integrating it across hundreds of point products from dozens of vendors is complex – making it out of reach for most organizations. We’re helping global organizations solve today’s security challenges by easing integration and accelerating adoption of Zero Trust.” 

Dell will use a private cloud approach and handle the technology integration and orchestration that it says typically falls to customers and involves several vendors. Dell expects Project Fort Zero to be used to secure datacenters, remote and branch office sites, mobile edge sites with transitory connectivity, road vehicles, planes and more.

A US government assessment team will evaluate the Project Fort Zero end-to-end offering for accreditation and certify compliance against the Department of Defense Zero Trust reference architecture. Customers can then build their own Zero Trust defenses using a validated Dell blueprint.

Upping the edge ante

Dell has announced five edge site offerings with a generic NativeEdge software framework and specific retail site warehouse automation and networking.

COO Clarke claimed: “As our customers look to fuel new workloads and AI at the edge, they are turning to Dell to find simpler and more effective ways to manage and secure their ecosystem of edge technologies and applications.” 

NativeEdge is described as an edge operations software platform helping customers deploy and manage edge site hardware and software at scale, with zero touch deployment. The software is said to cover any enterprise edge use case and includes Dell products plus third-party ones as well in an open systems approach.

Dell NativeEdge

Dell claims a 25-site manufacturing organization could get a 130 percent ROI with a three-year NativeEdge deployment. It says customers across various industries could get similar returns.

The other four offerings are:

  • Dell Validated Design for Retail Edge with inVia Robotics intelligent automation. This design uses software and automation to help retail employees with last-mile picking, packing, shipping and delivery by converting existing warehouse and retail space into micro-fulfillment centers. 
  • Dell Private Wireless with Airspan and Druid is a validated private wireless setup providing wireless connectivity for thousands of remote location edge technologies, like devices and sensors.
  • Enterprise SONiC Distribution by Dell Technologies 4.1 is a scalable, open source-based networking operating system on Dell switches for edge deployments, including User Container Support (UCS) and streaming telemetry.
  • Dell ProDeploy Flex is an edge-focused modular deployment service .

NativeEdge software will be available to customers, OEMs, and partners in 50 countries beginning August 2023. Dell Validated Design for Retail Edge will be available globally in August 2023. Dell Private Wireless with Airspan and Druid will be available globally in June 2023. Enterprise Sonic Distribution by Dell Technologies 4.1 is available globally from today. Dell ProDeploy Flex will be available globally in August 2023. 

Don’t forget services

A Project Success Accelerator (PSX) for Backup service comes after the recent PSX for Cyber Recovery, which implements and operationalizes an isolated cyber recovery vault. Customers can use the PSX for Backup service to help them protect and recover data in the event of disruption. 

It has three components:

  • Ready – includes planning workshops, configuration of a validated backup or vault environment, a success plan, a runbook and outcome-based skills training
  • Optimize – adds quarterly assessments, improvement recommendations and assisted restore test simulations. 
  • Operate – adds ongoing operational assistance to meet the solution’s performance objectives. Dell experts monitor and investigate alerts, initiate corrective actions and help with restore tasks at the customer’s direction. 


Project Fort Zero’s offering will be available in the next 12 months. Dell Product Success Accelerator for Backup is now available in locations across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Availability of Dell Product Success Accelerator for Cyber Recovery has expanded to locations in Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific in addition to North America.