Dell's AI Factory is open for business, with Nvidia's help

Nvidia is viewed as an AI juggernaut, but its path into the enterprise market runs through a multitude of partners without whom its early AI dominance would not be possible. Dell Technologies this week became the latest of those partners showcasing how it is leveraging Nvidia technology to create new AI-enabled products and services for the enterprise market.

It has been two months since Nvidia and Dell announced during Nvidia’s GTC event that the pairing would be partnering to help Dell launch an AI Factory family of offerings running the gamut from workstation products to data center and cloud infrastructure to support enterprise AI. This week, at Dell Technologies World, Dell offered a deeper look into the Nvidia-powered AI products that are in the works.

These include a new Dell PowerEdge server that the partners first discussed back in March at Nvidia GTC. The PowerEdge XE9680L puts eight Nvidia Blackwell GPUs in a smaller 4U form factor. It provides the highest possible rack-scale density for Nvidia GPUs in an industry standard x86 rack, offering 33% more GPU density per node, compared to the previous generation 6u PowerEdge server, Dell said. The platform offers 20% more PCIe Gen. 5 slots and double the North/South network expansion capacity of that previous generation, while Direct liquid cooling (DLC) comes into play to improve overall efficiency with greater cooling capacity for CPUs and GPUs. 

In addition, Dell is also announcing multiple turnkey rack-scale variants, including an air-cooled design supporting 64 GPUs in a single rack, or a liquid-cooled format featuring 72 Blackwell GPUs in a single rack. Dell also announced its new NativeEdge edge orchestration platform to automate the

delivery of Nvidia AI Enterprise software to developers and IT operators to help streamline their deployment of AI applications and solutions at the edge. In addition, NativeEdge deployment blueprints, which include Nvidia’s Metropolis video analytics, Riva speech and translation capabilities, and the new Nvidia NIM inference microservices, will allow businesses to quickly and accurately analyze their edge data.

Among other Dell AI Factory components, the new Dell Generative AI Solution for Digital Assistants helps speed deployment of digital assistants that deliver a personalized self-service experience for end users on a full-stack Dell and Nvidia solution. Full-stack automation  capability also helps organization “stand up” their AI environments, reducing the time

to value by up to 86% compared to do-it-yourself AI set-up, Dell said. NIM inference microservices also have been designed to accelerate early AI development processes, and when combined with Dell components the overall time from delivery to running inferencing jobs is even further reduced, Dell said.

The company also unveiled Dell Accelerator Services for retrieval augmented generation (RAG) on Precision AI Workstations, which helps shorten the AI development cycle and quickly yield better performing AI applications through a tailored large language model using RAG on a Dell Precision workstation with Nvidia’s AI Workbench.

All of the above arrive at a time when the daunting task of embracing AI is keep Dell’s enterprise clients up at night, according to Sam Grocott, senior vice president of product marketing at Dell Technologies.

“It's really complex and it's just frankly too darn hard for them to get going with AI,” he said. “First, you just don't know where to get started, or you lack the necessary skills that are required to stand up a successful AI solution… They're finding it difficult to access relevant and accurate data to make AI really, really worthwhile. Second, it’s risky. Customers are really concerned about data sovereignty, or other privacy issues, and they really just cannot afford to jeopardize their data or their intellectual property. Finally, it's really expensive, and finding those true RoI use cases has been very difficult to find in these early innings. So, they're very much focused on the cost of acquisition of infrastructure, whether it's on-prem or in the cloud. And then hiring those specialized skills are very difficult as well. So these are the kind of the top three areas that we see organizations struggling with to get going with AI.”

He added that similar to how physical factories were core to the Industrial Revolution, AI factories will be needed to power the AI revolution. “Instead of physical goods, the AI factory produces actual insights and intelligence. We believe every customer is going to need an AI factory. They will come in all different shapes and sizes, and that's essentially why we put together the Dell AI Factory.”

But Dell’s AI Factory vision also extends all the way down to enterprise workstations, and the company also announced its move into the quickly developing AI PC market, with new Dell AI PCs with Microsoft’s AI-powered Copilot+ tools. Different models of PCs also will leverage Qualcomm’s  Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus processors, along with the support of Dell storage, and expanded Dell AI professional service portfolio, and other ecosystem-provided AI applications.