Sputnik launches as the Dell XPS 13 Laptop

Today is an exciting day for me: Dell is launching a product that I’ve helped put together and create along with a team of people across the company and, of course, the leader of the project, Barton George. We’ve been calling it Project Sputnik, and it’s got a real name now, “XPS 13 developer edition.” I’ll of course probably always refer to it as Sputnik. I help run the internal incubation program we have at Dell, and this was the first project we accepted and the one that I’ve been “managing.” What that means is that I work with Barton and team to make sure they’re getting what they need and help make the sausage. (People often ask me how I’m liking Dell and what I tell them is that if you like sausage as much as I do, it’s a wonderful place to see it being made and make some yourself.)

The point of Sputnik is to put together a laptop for developers. The XPS 13 developers edition is just the start of a wider effort to start working with developers that Barton, myself, and others are pulling together. We’ve specifically oriented Sputnik to not just be a single product (or “SKU” as we in the sausage factory often say), but the start of an actual ecosystem around Dell and developers.
To that end, the two Sputnik tools – the profile tool that automates setting up developer environments and the cloud launcher tool that helps facilitate DevOps work-flows – are open source projects that aren’t tied to the specific box. We want to develop out these projects as general purpose developer tools no matter what you’re using. That said, with Sputnik, Dell has a good end-to-end story around software developers: from fingers on the keyboard for coding to deploying to production (running on Dell clouds or servers), you could run your application life-cycle on Dell all through-out the cycle.
That’s the bigger picture we’re shooting at with Sputnik: launching a full fledged developer-centric program. In truth, I’m not sure exactly what’s next, and it’d be silly for us to plan out that far. We’re relying on developers to come and tell us how we can help and, if they’re as passionate as the early Sputnik community members, help us build it out.
For Dell, working with developers matters in a huge way. In my day job, I’m help ensure that Dell is pursue wise strategies in cloud. By my estimates, about 30-40% of cloud consumption is driven be developers, and I think that’s conservative. In short, if you want to be successful in cloud, you need developers on your side, like, right now. You’d of course expect that from a RedMonk, but it’s incredibly true in cloud. Developers are the king-makers, and we’re just making sure they’re happy.