Workstations – The Innovation Engine – What “real” workstations really do.

Innovation can hit a wall - ever wonder why you really want a "real" workstation?

At a recent ISV event last week in Las Vegas, I met several end users who wished they had purchased a "real" workstation - what they had bought was a high-end desktop computer with a recommended high-end graphics card. What they got was disillusionment, sub-par performance and countless support nightmares. Workstations are designed and tested for performance, stability and expandability. The software application works and it delivers on performance because it is designed to.

To level set everyone, I view the workstation as the essential technology tool for professional creators that can quickly and efficiently transform complex data into actionable information. Key words transform data and actionable information. High quality decisions can be made without delay.

Workstations, for me, represent the single most important innovation engine used by professionals to generate end customer value. As such, they are the workhorse. They must be dependable, scalable and powerful enough to get out of the way of end user innovation.

So, what gets in the way of innovation? I have my top 3.

1) First is the dreaded hour glass or the innovation inhibitor as I like to call it. To me the hour glass is one of the most dangerous innovation inhibitors. It has no place in a workstation solution. If the hour glass appears, innovation can be quickly lost or sidetracked. Creative thought is disrupted and a good idea --- well it just got away while we wait for the workstation to respond to our request.

2) Data size. Until recently, data sizes have been limited and have forced workstation users to work with small sub sets of data. The result, users often miss seeing important trends that occur in larger assemblies and or models. These missed trends, while not halting innovation, certainly play a key role in extending the time for innovation to occur as smaller data sizes limit a more complete awareness of strategic differences.

3) Perhaps the most dangerous innovation inhibitor is the one that has the least to do with technology and the most to do with how companies work. New technologies found in today's workstations have transformed these tools in to powerful workstation supercomputers. This new breed is capable of delivering near supercomputer performance at an individual's desk enabling users to quickly iterate through ideas and potentially innovate faster than ever before.

There is an old poster I remember as a kid, I think it plays here as well. The saying went something like this --- I have been rich and I have poor; rich is better. Well the same is true in workstations - I have been fast and I have been slow - fast is better. More accurately workstations with certified applications and graphics cards can help deliver the performance, stability and scalability you need to innovate faster. They can deliver the technology that gets out of the way of your users capability to innovate. Enabling them to create value faster than ever before on Intel based workstations.

High-end desktops with powerful graphics may not really be all that you want or need. In fact high-end desktop computers, while marginally less expensive, may not be, in the end, what you can afford as you potentially experience less than adequate performance and below industry average innovation.

Which can you afford?