Dell is taking aim at the
OEM channel with a new addition to its OptiPlex desktop line that is "purposely
built" to serve as an embedded system for demanding industrial, medical and
other custom applications.
The OptiPlex XE builds on Dell's existing professional
desktop platform with a highly adaptable design specifically tuned to operate
in harsh environments and to accommodate small enclosures - each typical
requirements for embedded desktop computing solutions. The OptiPlex XE can
withstand a heat tolerance up to 55C and has been configured with a "go
anywhere" mounting capability so it can easily be fit into enclosed spaces,
according to Josh Kivenko, Dell's global marketing manager for OEM Solutions.
The unit has also been designed with ports and an optional dust filter to help
minimize any system downtime normally associated with dust removal.
Beyond its features to address harsh conditions, the
OptiPlex XE has also been crafted with long-term system stability in mind, with
Dell committing to support the system with a three and a half year life cycle
and a six-month managed transition period. This design point is intended to
allow engineers to spec the embedded system as part of their configuration
without having to worry about making changes to accommodate subsequent hardware
"We're designing a purpose-built device for the OEM market -
not just a general device for a broad market," Kivenko says. "We've worked
closely with them to put in features that address their immediate needs, which
are stability and lifecycle management. It goes to the heart of what they think
about when they're making the trade-off of whether to build the hardware
themselves or contract to a third-party manufacturer."
Other features of the new system
include: Support for a wide variety of
peripherals, including PS/2, Serial (RS-232) and VGA and up to 10 USB
connections; support for Microsoft Windows 7, Vista and XP, along with Ubuntu
Linux; and an easy-to-service tool-less chassis design. Dell is also
offering the system with its ProSupport for IT Fast Track Dispatch for rapid
access to parts and service, along with remote systems management capabilities
for eliminating downtime. Pricing starts at $709.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
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