Dell is launching new Apex-as-a-Service offerings and public cloud integrations with the goal of moving customers from multi-cloud “by default” to multi-cloud “by design,” says Dell Vice President of Product Management Caitlin Gordon.
Dell Technologies strives to become a leader in multi-cloud by strengthening its connections with leading public cloud providers, offering standalone public cloud software, and expanding its Apex-as-a-Service portfolio and global footprint.
Dell unveiled its multi-cloud vision on Wednesday with the launch of several new products aimed at providing customers with a “true” multi-cloud experience, simplifying complexity and moving beyond consumption-based as-a-service offerings Apex launches, Dell Technologies said. Caitlin Gordon, Vice President of Product Management.
“We have a truly unique opportunity to help our customers deal with the reality of what multi-cloud really means today. We’re really going to double down and focus on the big issues: “How do we deliver more software and services to our customers to simplify the experience? And how can we really strategically work with a broad ecosystem of cloud partnerships like hyperscalers, ISVs like SAP, and data center providers like Equinix?’” Gordon said in an interview with CRN. “There is no single vendor that can solve all of these [multi-cloud] challenges. The more we can all work together to simplify our customers’ environments, the better it will be for everyone. You’ll hear that our focus will continue to be: software, services, and the cloud ecosystem.”
On Wednesday, Dell unveiled the new Apex Multi-Cloud Data Services offering, which includes file, block, and data protection services for concurrent access to all major public clouds from a single data source. Dell also introduced its new SaaS-based Apex Backup Services, providing end-to-end, scalable, secure data protection with centralized monitoring and management for SaaS applications, endpoints, and hybrid workloads.
Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, NY, Resident solution provider Future Tech Enterprise, #100 on CRN’s 2021 Solution Provider 500, said he’s excited to see Dell bringing more Apex solutions to market.
“Apex brings great value to the partner community. There’s no doubt about it,” said Venero. “We just closed our first Apex deal with a Fortune 50 account for Infrastructure on Demand to support an SAP environment with an on-premises Dell solution that offered the customer the option of an Opex-based solution rather than a capital expenditure-based solution that many customers are unable to pull together right now.”
Dell Apex offers partners an annuity stream for supplements to the original business, Venero said.
“Apex provides us with a ‘simple button’ that we can add to the existing Apex contract,” he said. “For the partner, this is a very profitable annuity stream that does not burden the customer as it is an opex versus capex solution. … How many partners could build $3 million worth of infrastructure into a customer’s IT environment and then bill the customer monthly for it? Dell acts as the infrastructure provider and bank for the as-a-service model.”
Dell’s Apex Multi-Cloud Data Services enable enterprises to connect storage and data protection to preferred public clouds and services, which Gordon says Helps avoid public cloud provider dependency, expensive egress fees, and risk when migrating cloud data. “What you are actually buying is both the storage service and the connection to the public clouds. So you have a high-speed, low-latency cloud connection to the big hyperscalers,” she said.
According to Gordon, Apex Backup Services is a “true SaaS experience” built for protection in the cloud. “This includes SaaS applications like Office 365, Salesforce, Google Workspace. You can also use it to protect endpoints, meaning your desktops, laptops and mobile devices,” she said. “There’s also built-in ransomware protection in the software.”
Dell on Wednesday also expanded its 2021 offering of Apex Data Storage Services to 13 new countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific, adding more Enable customers to deploy the Dell managed Storage-as-a-Service offering. Also on the as-a-service front, Apex is now available via colocation services with Equinix, a giant of data center providers with more than 220 centers around the world.
Another big launch from Dell on Wednesday, dubbed Project Alpine, brings Dell’s software IP for its block and file storage platforms to the major public cloud providers.
“Today, our flagship block and file storage platforms are mostly consumed and purpose-built appliances. So we’re taking the software that’s running on those appliances, we’re abstracting it from the underlying purpose-built hardware it’s running on today, so it can run on general-purpose instances in the cloud,” Gordon said.
Dell also expanded its support for Amazon EKS Anywhere to run on its flagship storage products PowerStore and PowerFlex, allowing customers to run their Kubernetes orchestration across public or on-premises clouds.
“The key to simplifying the reality of what has become a multi-cloud world for customers, which unfortunately is currently a multi-cloud world by default. Our goal is really to help them achieve a multi-cloud-by-design reality,” said Gordon.
Dell’s Apex-as-a-Service portfolio is managed by Dell, which means that the company provides the deployment, management, and lifecycle services for Apex offerings. The new Dell Apex Multi-Cloud Data Services offering will not be available for resale by channel partners when it officially launches later this month.
Gordon said that Apex Multi-Cloud Data Services “will be something that we will expand to channel partners for availability in the future,” with a target date later in 2022.
When asked about partners’ concerns about Dell Apex reducing the ability of the sales channel to deliver services to their customers Gordon said, “There’s an incredible amount of value-added services” that partners can offer with Apex solutions.
“We absolutely want and need our reseller community to focus on Apex. And the idea of Dell providing all the services is certainly not our aim or intention here. We offer infrastructure as a service, which means a very specific set of management functions that come with it. But we know our customers need great value that only our partners can provide,” said Gordon.
“What we found at Apex for us and our partners is that it really allows you to walk in and have a conversation with a customer that you might not have been able to do before if you were trying to start a conversation about storage devices,” Gordon said. “Having an Apex conversation means you’re talking about, ‘What are your business goals? How are you transforming?’ And at the end of the day, you might be selling them an Apex service—you might still be selling them a storage appliance—but you’re starting a higher-level conversation with those customers.”
Venero of Future Tech Enterprise said he looks forward to seeing Dell grow its Apex portfolio.
“The more innovative and creative Dell can get with Apex – assuming they support the channel – the better off for partners,” he said. “Apex gives partners another tool in our toolbox to close deals. The sales channel needs a strong as-a-service offering from Dell.”
Gordon promoted Dell’s channel engagement in 2022 and beyond, saying that channel partners account for more than 50 percent of total order revenue from identify dell.
“Partners are critical to us,” added Gordon. “This combination of Dell and our partners is truly how we will continue this great momentum that we have out of this fiscal year and into the next.”