Dell unveils AI partnership with Nvidia, aims for on-premises deployment

Dell Technologies World 2023 logo displayed on a large screen above the main keynote stage at the annual event
(Image credit: Future)

Dell Technologies and Nvidia have jointly announced the Project Helix initiative to help businesses create and deploy their own on-premise generative AI models.

Both companies will work together to provide “a series of solutions” aimed at enterprises to help use their proprietary data to enhance the value of AI models, all while protecting their data privacy.

Assistance provided through the new offering will span the complete AI journey, from modeling to deployment and fine-tuning results, with Dell providing optimized hardware and software to support this at every stage.

Nvidia’s tested AI Enterprise software will come included with Project Helix, including its more than 100 development tools, frameworks, and pre-trained models.

“This is a full-stack solution that enables enterprises to create and run custom AI models built with their knowledge of their business,” said Chuck Whitten, co-COO at Dell Technologies.

“Our powerful infrastructure and software, Nvidia’s accelerators, AI software, and expertise; this is unmatched, second to none in the industry.”

Whitten pointed to existing Dell hardware that can tackle heavy generative AI workloads such as the PowerEdge XE9680 server. 

This contains eight of Nvidia’s H100 GPUs which comprise the core infrastructure on top of which customers can make use of Dell’s server and storage software.


Whitepaper cover with logo on black band with turquoise dotted line patterns and title and text below

(Image credit: Dell Technologies)

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The pair will work to promote on-prem AI, in contrast to the current dominance of public cloud and hyperscaler dominance in AI.

In recent months, Microsoft and Google have established market leadership with their respective chatbots and AI productivity tools.

“Enterprises are working to deploy these models and workloads on-prem to make full use of their data,” said Jensen Huang, CEO at Nvidia. 

“If you think about how they drive better insight and better outcomes from their business, they're looking at ‘I need the context of my business with this data, with these models and tools to really drive faster insights to my business’. They have to do it on-prem because that's where their data is.

“And they have to do it close to the edge because that’s the speed of light, and you want it to respond instantaneously. But you also want it to be at the edge because, in the future, you want to have information from multiple modalities. 

“The more contextual information we get, the better grounded and better inference we can make.”

The announcement was made during the day-two keynote at Dell Technologies World 2023 in Las Vegas, after having been heavily teased by Dell CEO Michael Dell throughout the events of the first day.

In a discussion with ITPro, John Roese, global chief technology officer at Dell Technologies, said that the company is in a prime position to advise customers on how to navigate AI uptake, and emphasized that Helix’s turnkey structure lets customers deploy tools with built-in safety.

“Many larger and midmarket companies will want to run generative AI in their own on-premises data centers, to ensure security for their proprietary data,” Laurie McCabe, cofounder and partner at SMB Group Inc., told ITPro.

“Project Helix gives them a system that’s optimized for this, so they don’t have to piece everything together – helping them to take advantage of generative AI more quickly and efficiently.”

Flexibility has been a core tenet throughout the conference, with cloud choice having been a key factor in Dell Technologies’ massive Apex expansion, and this approach applies to Project Helix too.

“There will be a lot of flexibility for customers that are looking to figure out what models to use,” said Varun Chhabra, SVP ISG and telecom marketing at Dell Technologies.

“Helix will come with foundational models that are provided and developed by Nvidia, if customers want to use that. Customers will also have the choice flexibility to be able to pick an open-source model of their own choice.

“Once these foundational models have been identified by the customer Helix will help them tune that model with their own proprietary, high-value data sets.”

Chhabra noted that the majority of customers will start with a foundational model, whether this is one included as part of Helix or an open-source model, but that the initiative will provide the flexibility for either to be easily trained on a business’ data.

Dell has stated that its Validated Designs based on Project Helix will become available in July 2023.

Rory Bathgate
Features and Multimedia Editor

Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.

In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at or on LinkedIn.