Dell seeks new contracts for supercomputers in Latin America

Dell Technologies wants to increase contracts for high-performance computing (HPC, also known as supercomputing) IT infrastructure projects in Latin America.

HPC is growing in the region and the company is focused on securing new – and stronger – contracts with large industries such as oil and gas and government, while doubling down on its pursuit of mid-sized companies in retail and finance. sector, as Raymundo Peixoto, vice president for data center solutions in Latin America at Dell, told BNamericas.

“We have a more traditional view of HPC for academia, research institutes. We continue to cooperate with them. But at the same time we are bringing more and more projects into the real industry. We bundle and sell these parallel high-capacity processing solutions to other companies,” Peixoto said during Dell Technologies Forumin Sao Paulo.

Supercomputers are machines with processing speeds and memory capacity thousands of times greater than traditional computers. The capacity of one can be greater than the capacity of 20 million smartphones or 530,000 home computers.

They are used for parallel processing and large, intensive tasks that require calculations in the quadrillionths of a second.

In general, supercomputers are used for scientific research in fields that deal with large amounts of data, such as medicine, meteorology, geology, geophysics, physics, and the oil and gas industry.

According to Peixoto, Dell Technologies has “several dozen” supercomputing-related projects in Latin America under development in Brazil, Mexico and Chile — the latter two with applications aimed mostly at scientific purposes.

Among the biggest industries, the new contract is with Petrobras, said Marcelo Carreras, CIO of the state-owned company, at an event in São Paulo. The American IT giant won the tender to supply supercomputer equipment for the company.

Petrobras has an HPC structure that plays a central role in the company’s business strategy. It currently has four active supercomputers: Pegasus, Phoenix, Atlas and Dragon. Combined, the four machines offer an estimated processing power of over 80 petaflops.

All the machines were assembled and supplied by the French computer company Atos, with most of the equipment manufactured by Positivo Servers & Solutions, the IT infrastructure unit of the Brazilian electronics manufacturer Positivo.

“High-performance computing helps us process a vast mass of geological, geophysical and surface information that helps us discover new exploration areas without the need for drilling,” Carreras explained in his presentation.

“We have a clear purpose for the technology, which is to drive it and make it simple within the company,” said the CIO. “Our strategy is based on multicloud and hybrid cloud, with several partners helping us adopt infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and infrastructure connectivity solutions.”


Dell is also looking to make gains in private wireless networking and edge computing through its access equipment.

“We are running several pilot projects, with more than one industry. It’s a new market. A market that was limited by the lack of processing power and the lack of a truly reliable private network. Flexible, but reliable,” said Peixoto. “That’s changing now with 5G”

Also according to Peixoto, the company is developing private and edge projects in partnership with integrators and software and application companies, as well as telecom operators with 5G licenses, for the “factory floor”.

Pilots are underway in Latin America, but most projects are concentrated in Brazil, given the “size and technological maturity of the Brazilian industrial park.”

Peixoto declined to reveal the names of customers or partners, but said Dell intends to announce one of the cases soon.


In the broader data center segment, the company has seen an increase in demand for modernization of data centers and storage parks, after many of these investments were halted by companies during the pandemic, according to Peixoto.

“There is an interesting demand for modernization. And this is demand that requires personalized sales. Many of the sales we make are based on the ‘as a service’ model,” said the CEO.

Dell’s product-as-a-service solution is Apex, currently available in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Chile.

Through it, the company offers software, services and hardware on demand, based on user usage, replicating the cloud computing model. In Brazil, examples of clients are the financial company XP and the steel company Gerdau.


Overall, the company has grown “sustainably” despite macroeconomic challenges such as currency pressure, high interest rates and inflation, as well as component supply issues, Brazil national director Diego Puerta said.

Like others, the company also saw a slowdown in PC sales after booming during the early years of the pandemic.

“Looking back, we’ve had four very good quarters, very significant for us, not only in Brazil but globally,” Puerta told a news conference.

Dell is also gradually expanding production capacity at its factory in Hortolandia, although there are no plans for new factories. Puerta also sees the component crisis continuing through 2023.

About 95% of what the factory produces is sold in Brazil. The company’s manufacturing is also based on a built-to-order model, which the CEO says gives Dell a competitive advantage.

Puerta explained that Dell has a market share of more than 60% in the combined server, storage and hyperconvergence segment. About half of Dell’s sales are made directly, and half through partners and channels.

“Dell is a leader in all market lines. There is no way a competitor could have a bigger manufacturing operation than ours,” he concluded.

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