Making ‘The art of the possible’

Tracewell Engineering re-imagines standard, off-the-shelf technology so that it can be used in ways that it was not intended.

There are really two Tracewell Systems.

Tracewell Systems, the platform company, transforms commercial products from Dell Technologies and manufactures strategic and tactical compute, networking and storage products from the enterprise to the edge for business and government organizations.

Tracewell Engineering helps businesses, OEMs and U.S. Government agencies visualize, design, develop and deliver breakthrough solutions to meet highly specialized mission critical technical requirements.

Tracewell Engineering focuses on “the art of the possible.” Solving the unsolvable. And re-imagining standard, off-the-shelf technology so that it can be used in ways that it was not intended to operate. Our Engineering team usually starts with a disruptor – a change agent who seeks to use technology to meet an important but seemingly impossible objective or to solve a mission critical requirement that seems out of reach using conventional methods.

The Tracewell Engineering team offers the opportunity to work with a group of experts that have honed their skills on literally hundreds of complex engineering engagements with proven techniques all focused on solving the most challenging technical problems. The result for the customer – an outcome that was once only imagined is now possible.  


Tracewell ad from 1973

Advertisement for one of the first products produced by Tracewell Engineering in April of 1973.

Tracewell Engineering got its start way back in 1973 when the company built electronic enclosures (back then it was called Tracewell Enclosures).

Since that time, our Engineering group has built a solid reputation designing, engineering and manufacturing complex specialty systems for a wide range of applications, including power solutions for shipboard, airborne, ground stations and mobile environments, automated test equipment, UAV ground stations and payloads, flight line test and support, portable transit case systems, airborne and ship-board MIL-SPEC platforms, software defined radios and much more.

photo of the first rugged IBM BladeCenter built by Tracewell Engineering.

The first rugged IBM BladeCenter built by Tracewell Engineering for airborne environments.

The group’s capabilities – and impressive feats of engineering – took a major step forward when Tracewell Engineering was asked by IBM to ruggedize its BladeCenter product for the U.S. Air Force (thus, creating the industry’s first ruggedized BladeCenter for tactical use in forward deployed environments).

The effort was an enormous success and resulted in the development of a unique value proposition for an industry dominated by high-cost, custom-built computers – the process of transforming and ruggedizing high-performance, enterprise-grade commercial computers so that the form factor was changed but the fundamentals of the system retained its powerful commercial characteristics. This capability – unique at the time – offered customers the ability to take advantage of all the benefits of new and more powerful commercial data centers and have those systems adapted and modified to meet specific environmental and mission requirements.

photo of T-FX2

The T-FX2, the first available short-depth, compact version of the Dell FX architecture. The T-FX2 represents the first of dozens of rugged, tactical and edge products built in partnership with Dell Technologies.

Both changes in the IT sector, along with an ever-growing list of proven custom engineering skills and capabilities, led the team to establish a deeply collaborative relationship with Dell Technologies in 2015 that is unique across the technology industry.

Today, Dell Technologies turns to Tracewell Engineering when they need to engage in an “art of the possible” discussion with a key business or government customer. They ask the team to create product showcases to demonstrate how a system would meet a customer’s unique requirements in a real world application. Dell Technologies calls on Tracewell Engineering when they need to support a complex customer engagement that requires deep, specialty engineering expertise and capabilities.


photo of Tactical Azure

Tactical Azure, the first and only platform to deliver full Microsoft Azure Stack capabilities beyond traditional back-office environments.

With decades of experience – and literally hundreds of engagements under its belt – Tracewell Engineering has built a reputation for engineering excellence. The team’s skills are both broad and deep and include all phases of engineering disciplines, including electrical, mechanical, thermal – and more.

The key to the team’s success starts with the company’s Advanced Form Factor Engineering ™ process – and end to end methodology for transforming commercial technology to support the most challenging mission critical requirements. The proven and tested process starts by working closely with the biggest names in the industry – Dell, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and more – and selecting the best high-performance technology on the market to serve as the foundation for an engineered solution.

From there an interdisciplinary team of engineers engage in solution visualization (What is possible?) and solution optimization (What is best?) and collaborates across a broad set of skills to design, engineer, build and test a platform that delivers enterprise-class capabilities to where a customer needs them most – for example, as a GPU dense platform in a data center, a high-performance system for the edge or in a rugged transportable suitcase that is Airline Transportation Association (ATA) compliant.

photo of the T-R6515

T-R6515, a powerful, compact edge server that is highly portable for mobile mission requirements and available in an Airline Transportation Association (ATA) compliant rugged transit case.

In the end, through its engineering skills, product design capabilities and proven process, Tracewell Engineering has delivered a series of industry leading firsts when it comes to transforming high-performance computing for a range of functions and environments, including the first Rugged Blade Center, the first “fly away kit” based on the Dell FX architecture, the first Tactical Azure, the first tactical storage based on Dell PowerScale, the first enterprise-class Dell server that fits in a suitcase and a next-generation GPU dense server that adds a groundbreaking 16 GPUs to a standard Dell enterprise grade system.

the future

photo of T-XE8545

The T-XE8545, a ground-breaking design that adds up to 16 GPUs to a standard server from Dell Technologies and sets a benchmark for high-performance, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

Tracewell Engineering works with some of the best and biggest names in in the technology sector – including Dell Technologies, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, VMware, AMD and more – on some of the most strategic initiatives in play at a wide range of commercial and government organizations.

The team is currently working on the next frontier in strategic and tactical computing. Early-stage designs and proof of concepts (POCs) in development, include enterprise to the edge platforms, highly mobile, ATA compliant systems, GPU dense platforms, 5G, liquid cooling and much more.