My favorite contradiction – “Standard Customization”

Working for a large corporation, albeit within a small, free-thinking division of a large corporation, I am exposed to fascinating acronyms and program names which often defy logic. Take the term “Standard Customization” – how can something which is custom be standard? It is a term I hear mentioned in the OEM group from time to refer to unique engineering work done for our business which is not offered to the general Dell customer but is available to all of our OEM customers. Take, for example, the OEM-Ready program – our program designed to sell an unbranded PC server where the bezel badge, chassis markings, box, manual, Universal Server Configuration tool, and BIOS are all wiped clean of the Dell logo and model names. That is a custom program the OEM engineering group manages which is available to all of our OEM customers as a standard offering – Standard Customization.

I recently shared with you two videos of Zac Cravens, Mechanical Engineering Lead for Non-Standard Solutions, as he demonstrated the Dell PowerEdge R510 with an added DOM and the PowerEdge R310 with a custom SSD sled to replace the optical sled. These were non-standard solutions designed to fulfill specific customer requirements. Both programs could be re-used by other customers if they have the same requirements. Zac is back, and I was deemed worthy to visit him in his secret lab again this week to make a video of him demonstrating an engineering solution which was not designed around a single customer’s request. This time the solution was a general request made by many customers and it is available to all our OEM customers on request – a standard customization project.

What Zac demonstrated in video was a very elegant method of adding two PCI-X expansion slots to a PowerEdge OEM-Ready R710 server simply by replacing the standard PCIe risers with custom PCI-X risers. While the vast majority of the IT world has moved beyond PCI-X I/O expansion several years ago, there was still enough demand for the technology to justify engineering, manufacturing, and supporting PCI-X on a current generation server. Any OEM customer can contact their Dell OEM sales team and request these.

This is pretty darn cool! I cannot wait for Zac to contact me again for another foray into his lair of engineering enlightenment.

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About the Author: Franklin Flint