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Tim Green

How a Previous Partnership Sealed the Dell-EMC Deal

by Tim Green | Dun & Bradstreet Editor

October 13, 2015 | No Comments »

FlashEven before striking their $67 billion deal, Dell and EMC combined on a flash storage project right in Dell’s backyard at the University of Texas at Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC).

TACC runs several supercomputing systems for scientific research, including the Wrangler system, which was designed for large-scale data transfer and analytics. The system, which went online this year, can add more capacity to accommodate more users and data applications.

EMC’s flash technology provides for the system’s high speed and performance, which allows real-time analytics. (When the Wrangler project began several years ago, Dell worked with DSSD, the company that created the flash technology; EMC acquired DSSD in 2014.)

The system, built with support from the National Science Foundation, allows scientists to quickly draw information from databases. The project also includes Indiana University.

Hans Hofmann, director for the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at UT Austin, researches how monogamous behavior of vertebrate animals, such as mice, fish, and birds, evolved independently multiple times. The research measures the activity of thousands of genes in the brain to find commonalities.

Hofmann, in an article on the TACC website, said that rather than requiring raw computing power the research project needed a system that could quickly return information from a database.

“Wrangler is really built for these kinds of specialized applications,” Hofmann said.

Niall Gaffney, director of data intensive computing at TACC, called flash storage a game changer.

The higher speed at which data can be accessed reduces latency problems, which helps scientists like Hofmann identify patterns and solve complex problems much faster.

He said the price advantage that hard disk drives have had over flash storage is eroding, making it more affordable.

In another sign that flash is moving ahead, EMC provided flash storage for the State of Indiana, a first for a state-level data center in the US.

The Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) runs its data center with EMC’s all-flash storage, which it said exponentially increased data-retrieval and delivery speeds to state workers and Indiana residents. On the input side, IOT reported that archival time has dropped from 17 days to less than two days. With flash storage, the state expects to save $1.2 million in maintenance and expansion costs.


Tim Green has covered business, technology and science at newspapers and in higher education. At Hoover’s he covers computers and telecommunications. Follow him on Twitter.

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