Project Apex has been running for a while now, but today during the virtual Dell Technologies World, the company finally introduces Dell Technologies APEX. An as-a-service solution where you can buy a complete managed IT infrastructure. This can be in local datacentres, your own datacentre or one of the hyperscale clouds. Everything is managed from the APEX console and with only one invoice at the end of the month.
Dell Technologies said in a pre-briefing that the goal is to make it simpler for companies to consume IT. The company wants to do this by offering IT-as-a-service, but at the same time also come up with flexible payment options through Dell Financial Services. The familiar Flex-on-demand will also be available through Dell Financial Services.
Dell Technologies APEX
The Dell Technologies APEX portfolio consists of several solutions. There is APEX Data Storage Services which provides a simplified storage-as-a-service solution. Then there is APEX Cloud Services, which provides a consistent cloud experience from the public cloud, private cloud and the Edge. There is also APEX Custom Solutions, which allows the largest infrastructure projects to be customised, including flexible payment and management services.
Companies can easily outsource their entire infrastructure
Large companies often have large infrastructures. A few years ago, companies hoped to bring their infrastructure completely to the cloud and cut back on IT management. In the meantime, most companies have changed their minds. The cloud is very suitable for many purposes, but not for migrating your entire infrastructure to the cloud. The current trend is hybrid- and multi-cloud, where the infrastructure runs from multiple clouds and one or several local data centres. Dell Technologies is responding to this trend with APEX.
Dell Technologies offers large companies the possibility to outsource the management of their data centres and cloud environments. Through the Dell Technologies APEX Console, a company can manage its entire infrastructure. With the push of a button, it can order a complete infrastructure in a nearby data centre. Or it can set up an infrastructure in the cloud or even have it installed in its own data centre. During the pre-briefing, Dell Technologies said it supports Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. For the local data centres, Dell Technologies will work with partners, the first of which has already been announced.
Dell Technologies will be working with Equinix. Equinix has more than 100 data centres across the globe. There are also fast fibre-optic connections between these data centres, which makes the Equinix data centres one of the best in the market. It’s no secret that all hyperscalers are also partners of Equinix for certain connectivity services or even for supplying data centres in certain regions. The connectivity between Equinix’s data centres and the large hyperscalers is therefore optimal.
Dell Technologies APEX is not instant
Although Dell Technologies has taken inspiration from the cloud model, it does not quite work like the cloud. In the cloud, companies are used to being able to get started immediately with a credit card. That will not be the case here. For Dell Technologies APEX, contracts are signed for a minimum of 1 year, but often for 3 years. A company can purchase an infrastructure starting at 50TB. It is, therefore, not suitable for a single VM. It also has an initial delivery time of up to 14 days. To expand an existing infrastructure via APEX, Dell Technologies applies a term of up to 5 days. The instant concept of the cloud is not included.
This may take some getting used to for companies, but in the past when they went to buy a number of racks for a data centre, the delivery time and the time for installation and management was much longer.
Dell Technologies APEX fully relies on VMware
VMware may no longer be part of the Dell Technologies group. For this offering, VMware is the company’s largest partner. The only way Dell Technologies can offer this is through a VMware stack. Combining infrastructure in local data centres with the cloud requires a uniform platform so you can tie those environments together. VMware can deliver that from any data centre and any cloud.
In addition, Dell Technologies will also take care of the management and patching of the VMware environment. The customer is truly unburdened and can quickly make infrastructure available for new projects from the APEX console. It does not matter where the environments all run. Everything comes together in one console.
What Dell Technologies has also done smartly is the financial part. Suppose you are a customer running an environment in an Equinix data centre combined with AWS and Google Cloud. Then you only receive one invoice from Dell at the end of the month. So you don’t have to pay for Equinix, AWS and Google Cloud yourself.
APEX is simpler for the customer, but advice on which cloud or data centre remains important
Although APEX makes the purchase of infrastructure much simpler, some things remain the same. The strategy of many companies is now hybrid- or multi-cloud. For many companies, this is also the most sensible choice. However, the challenge remains the same: which workloads do you run in which cloud or data centre. How heavy should your local infrastructure be? Which cloud fits best with your application landscape?
This is where the pre-sales teams of Dell Technologies needs to use their experience. As they told us earlier, there is no best practice for a hybrid cloud. They will have to talk to the customer to help with the initial choice. After that, it becomes easier to expand on new projects.
Is APEX the future of Dell?
Dell Technologies has gone through a period in which it has mainly cut back on its organisation by selling off business units. Dell sold RSA, VMware was split off, and Dell Boomi was sold. The debt Dell Technologies had taken during the takeover of EMC had to be reduced. In addition, Dell also had to reinvent itself in this new cloud era.
It looks like APEX is the future for Dell Technologies in the data centre business and large business customers. No longer does the conversation have to be about specific server configurations and data storage solutions, but about IT-as-a-Service, where Dell Technologies itself will assess which products best fit the customer’s needs.