Dell Apex updates support enterprise 'cloud to ground' moves

Dell's latest Apex updates puts the company in a position to capitalize on the hybrid, multi-cloud and edge computing needs of enterprises.

Dell Technologies World 2023 centered on Dell Apex and its next phase, offering users their choice of cloud operational experience everywhere.

Over the past few years, we at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group have been tracking a strong uptick in the adoption of infrastructure-as-a-service systems on premises. The cloud operating model is transformational and has become central to business operations. Limiting the cloud experience to off-premises public cloud services alone is simply too restrictive for modern application environments.

At this year's event in Las Vegas, Dell presented its strategy for Dell Apex across hybrid and multi-cloud environments focusing on three essential strategic aspects:

  • Extending the Dell experience to public cloud services. Dell refers to this as concept as "ground to cloud."
  • Bringing the experience of all the major cloud stacks to on-premises environments. Dell refers to this as "cloud to ground."
  • Providing an "air traffic control layer" to help monitor and manage everything.

While Dell is not alone in working to address the needs of hybrid and multi-cloud environments, the Apex strategy includes a cloud-to-ground element.

Part of Dell's strategic rollout includes platforms through partnerships with Microsoft, Red Hat and VMware:

  • Dell Apex Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure provides an Azure experience on premises and, ultimately, a consistent experience across multiple environments.
  • Dell Apex Cloud Platform for Red Hat OpenShift extends Red Hat OpenShift deployments from cloud to on premises with an integrated and consistent operational experience.
  • Dell Apex Cloud Platform for VMware delivers consistent multi-cloud operations to users across on-premises and edge environments through a common infrastructure and integrated automation, while maintaining the familiar experience of vSphere and vCenter.

The key takeaway is that if you want a consistent experience across on- and off-premises locations, Dell isn't requiring you to shift to a Dell-centric experience. Through its partnerships and joint engineering, Dell can extend Microsoft Azure's experience on premises or span VMware or Red Hat OpenShift across on- and off-premises environments.

On Location: Insights from Dell Technologies World 2023

Businesses need a common, consistent platform that spans locations. That consistency, however, cannot require the organization to abandon the platform it uses today. While the phrase rip and replace typically applies to hardware, the costs of ripping and replacing an operational platform are also very real due to the need for reskilling and retraining along with costs related to increased complexity and risks to existing operations.

Switching platforms would negate considerable existing investments in skills and training while tying the organization to a particular platform. Over the next few quarters, it will be interesting to see if Dell extends its Apex portfolio to feature other cloud experiences, such as those from AWS or Google Cloud Platform, or stays with its current options.

Another product that illustrates the value Dell is able to deliver by working with its partners is the Dell NativeEdge. Formerly known as Project Frontier, NativeEdge simplifies edge operations with a validated catalog of applications that can be remotely deployed across the edge gateways. The gateway hardware is designed to be remotely managed once it is plugged in.

The demonstration reminded me of a consumer cable box: Plug it in, turn it on and the rest is done remotely. Edge application management is a relatively new space for Dell, so this is another area to watch.

Other notable announcements at Dell Technologies World include the new Dell Apex storage services for deployment on public cloud services with Dell Apex Block Storage for AWS, Dell Apex Block Storage for Microsoft Azure and Dell Apex File Storage for AWS; the new PowerEdge XE9680, which supports eight Nvidia GPUs; and Project Fort Zero, which provides zero-trust security for global organizations to protect against cyber attacks.

Scott Sinclair is a practice director covering infrastructure modernization and storage for Enterprise Strategy Group, a division of TechTarget.

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