Welcome the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation, developer edition

January 27, 2015

Since the planning stages of project Sputnik over two years ago we wanted to offer two versions of our developer-focused systems.  The idea was to have both an ultra mobile laptop and a beefier workstation offering, a beauty and the beast line up if you will.  Due to the need to focus our resources however, we worked with the community to first build out the laptop, delivering the XPS 13 laptop, developer edition.Soyuz

Moving towards the beast

The first year after launching the XPS 13, we got a steady stream of requests for a bigger system.  This wasn’t lost on team member Jared Dominguez who decided to work on his own time with the Dell Precision M3800 mobile edition and put together instructions on how get Ubuntu running on the system.

A little over a year ago with the launch of the 3rd generation of the XPS13 developer edition we also announced its “unofficial big brother” and provided Jared’s instructions.  We received a lot of great feedback but there were also folks asking when we were going to deliver an officially supported version of the M3800.  What we told the community was — like the initial project Sputnik offering, if we got enough positive feedback — we might be able to offer it as an official pre-installed system.

A thread was started on the Sputnik Forum for people to express their interest in an official system.  We got a tremendous amount of positive feedback and as a result we listened to our customers and have added the M3800 to our developer edition lineup of Ubuntu-based systems.

Introducing the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation, Developer Edition

One of the main features people were looking for in the Precision M3800 was 16 GB of RAM.  The new Ubuntu-based M3800 introduced today, has that and a whole lot more:

Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation, dev edition – Key features

  • Preloaded Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Next generation of the world’s thinnest and lightest true 15-inch mobile workstation
  • Starting weight of just 4.15lbs (1.88kg) and a form factor that is less than 0.71 inches (18mm) thick
  • Fourth generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processor, professional grade NVIDIA Quadro K1100M graphics, and up to 16GB of memory
  • 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) screen option
  • Availability: worldwide

Unfortunately, one of the features that wont be available right out of the gate is thunderbolt support.  As Jared explains in his blog:

Because our factory Ubuntu installs only ship Ubuntu LTS releases, we were not able to ship with Thunderbolt support. However, thanks to the hardware-enablement stack in Ubuntu, starting with upcoming Ubuntu 14.04.2, you will be able to upgrade your kernel to add some Thunderbolt support. We plan to be working with Canonical to recertify the Precision M3800 with official Thunderbolt support.

How do I get one

You can get to the M3800 developer edition by going to the Dell Precision M3800 Mobile Workstation page: www.dell.com/create and choosing the system labeled “Fully Customizable” on the far left.  Or you can go directly to configurator, where under “Operating System” you can select Ubuntu 14.04 SP1 and away you go!

M3800Menu

What about the additional software?

This time around we went with the vanilla image of the most recent LTS release (14.04).  A vanilla image was actually one of the top requests when we gathered input on our initial Storm session.

Since the original launch we have been working on a profile tool and Cloud launcher.  We are still working on these but it’s been a bit more difficult than we originally thought :).  Stay tuned for more news on this.

Will there be a new XPS 13 developer edition?

You bet!  The 4th generation of the XPS 13 laptop, developer edition will be available soon.  It will based on the the new XPS 13 laptop that debuted earlier this month.

A Big Thanks

Thanks to everyone in the community for the tremendous support of the Sputnik program.  Without your support, this program would not be possible!

 Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Installing Debian 8 on a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition

January 3, 2015

Over the break, Eric Mill put together great step-by-step instructions showing how to install Debian 8 (Jessie) on a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.  Eric also had some great things to say about the laptop and program themselves:

Dell calls their program Project Sputnik, and it is managed by a friendly team of Linux engineers inside Dell who partner with Ubuntu to ensure that your computer will Just Work with Linux.

The Dell XPS is also used by multiple Debian team members, so your pain points will be theirs, and they’re likely to quickly fix things.

Supporting Dell’s program is a wonderful thing to do, and it’s also just a great goddamned laptop.

Check out Eric’s Instructions and away you go!  Installing Debian 8 on a Dell XPS

Pau for now…


2014 in review – My Blog

January 2, 2015

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 42,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Nutanix and Dell’s Web-scale converged appliance

November 22, 2014

Here is my final post from Dell World.  Today’s interview is with Nikita Maheshwari, product marketing manager with Nutanix.

I caught up with Nikita on the show floor in front of their booth.   I got her to give a brief overview of the company and what they announced with Dell at the show.  Check it out.

Some of the ground Nikita covers

  • Describing Nutanix’s software-based converged infrastructure platform and where their IP lies
  • Who are some of the customers they’ve been working with and what use cases they are seeing
  • Announcing the shipping of the first of five Dell XC Web-Scale Converged Appliances with Nutanix preloaded
  • What Nutanix and Dell have up their sleeves for the upcoming year

Extra-credit reading

  • Dell Set To Ship OEM Nutanix-Based Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Appliances – CRN
  • Dell inks OEM deal with Nutanix to build mutant server, storage, networking beasts – The Register

Pau for now…


Learning about Dell’s OpenStack private cloud offering

November 21, 2014

The week before last I was roaming the expo floor at Dell World and I bumped into Steve Croce.  Steve is at Dell and is the product manager and strategist for our OpenStack private cloud offering.

I got Steve to spend a few minutes with me and give me the lowdown on what we are offering and where Red Hat plays in.  Take a listen.

Some of the ground Steve covers

  • Who’s Dell targeting with our offering and how has that expanded
  • What is the stack comprised of: Hardware, Software and Services
  • Dell IT’s internal innovation lab running Red Hat’s OpenStack distro
  • What can we expect to see in the upcoming year

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now..


Red Hat’s OpenShift PaaS, what its about and where Dell fits in

November 18, 2014

The next interview in my series from Dell World features Julio Tapia of Red Hat.  Julio is a global director for Red Hat’s platform as a service, OpenShift.

I got Julio to give me a quick overview of OpenShift, where Dell plays and what they are planning going forward.

Some of the ground Julio covers

  • Who is OpenShift targeted at and how does it benefit developers
  • The three flavors: Online (Public PaaS), Enterprise (Private PaaS) and Origin (Community PaaS)
  • How Dell is working with OpenShift and the DevOps in a Box they both announced
  • The role Docker plays
  • What’s in store for next year and how their work with Google and Kubernetes will help ISVs

Extra-credit reading

Pau for now…


Talking to Red Hat about how they are working with Dell on OpenStack

November 12, 2014

Last week I participated in Dell World with my trusty Flipcam (yes, I still have one, if it ain’t broke…) and caught a bunch of interviews.  Several, not surprisingly, dealt with the cloud space.

The first  of these is with Red Hat Sr. Solution Architect, Ian Pilcher who was on the expo floor.  Ian was talking to attendees about how Red Hat and Dell are working together in the cloud space.  I got him to give a short overview.

Some of the ground Ian covers

  • How the two companies are working together around OpenStack
  • What are the use cases he’s seeing for the OpenStack solution
  • What is Red Hat doing with Docker (Hint: see Atomic Host)
  • What to expect from Red Hat and Dell vis-a-vis their OpenStack solution

Extra-credit reading

  • Red Hat goes nuclear in Linux container wars with Atomic Host beta – The Register

Pau for now…


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