Dell delivers cloud, as-a-service offerings under Apex banner

Dell Technologies made good on a plan it announced last fall to integrate its as-a-service and cloud offerings, sharing details this week at Dell Technologies World 2021 of its new Apex portfolio, including an initial data storage-as-a-service product, unified management of as-a-service solutions, flexible consumption policies and a more seamless, consistent user experience across public and private clouds.

Dell also announced it has partnered with Equinix to extend availability of Apex services into Equinix data centers in multiple countries.

“Organizations in all kinds of industries are becoming more digital, and are turning to as-a-service solutions to help them accelerate their digital transformations,” said Sam Grocott, senior vice president of Dell Technologies business unit marketing. “With Apex, we’ve got cloud and as-a-service offerings coming under one banner. All future as-a-service solutions from Dell will be branded as Apex.”

Significantly, the move also brings many Dell services under more flexible subscription programs and consumption-based pricing. Grocott said that Dell is trying to meet customers on their own terms, and is seeking to reduce the amount of time it takes for customers to deploy and grow new IT resources and services, while also simplifying how a growing services footprint can be monitored and managed. In most cases, customers will be able to deploy APEX IT resources in 14 days and expand their APEX footprints in as little as five days.

This new portfolio and new approach for how customers will be able to buy and consume Dell services comes as Dell is undergoing broader changes. The company spun off VMware last month, and has sold off properties such as RSA Security last year and more recently Boomi.

The first Apex offering, Apex Data Storage Service, was first announced last fall when Dell unveiled Apex as a project in development at Dell Technologies World 2020. Sharing more details this week, Dell said this service includes on-premises or data center colocated enterprise storage starting at a minimum capacity of 50 terabytes, and organized into three different performance tiers. It’s available in one-year and three-year subscriptions with no overage fees.

Dell also is offering Apex Cloud Services, which includes hybrid cloud and private cloud options and integrated compute storage and networking resources with support for both traditional desktop-oriented and cloud-native applications. Grocott said Dell would offer faster hybrid cloud deployment than if customers went the DIY route, and in convenient subscription plans.

Meanwhile, Apex Custom Solutions feature infrastructure-as-a-service, with an Apex Flex on Demand offering that provides Dell Technologies servers, storage, data protection, hyperconverged IaaS in a usage-based consumption model that customers can scale as they desire. “This is elastic capacity,” Grocott said, “and it can be paired with managed services to enable a managed utility service at enterprise scale.”

Finally, the Apex Console provides a unified self-service management experience for customers. “It gives you access to everything,” said Akanksha Mehrotra, vice president of Dell Technologies Project APEX Marketing. “From discovery through growth, you can use the console to subscribe, deploy, monitor, click to add capacity when you are ready to grow.” Users also get access to actionable insights to help them manage their services.

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Regarding the Equinix partnership, Dell is giving customers the ability to have a larger footprint for their Apex services via colocation in Equinix data centers on infrastructure managed by Dell. The partnership initially will support the Apex Storage Service, and configuration, monitoring and service changes can be controlled through the Apex Console.

“This partnership provides the ideal option for customers that don’t want to manage their own data centers,” Grocott said.

Eric Schwartz, chief strategy and development officer, Equinix, added in a statement, "As companies continue to create more data, they want the ability to store and manage that data when and where they need it. Whether their data lives within a data center, at the edge or across public and private clouds, customers want more choice and greater flexibility in managing their hybrid IT infrastructure. By collaborating with Equinix, Dell Technologies can provide Apex Data Storage Services to support these customers’ hybrid multi-cloud requirements on a global scale.”