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How Dell is changing the multi-cloud equation

IT teams love the freedom to select the cloud services that match their needs and preferences, but this accidental multi-cloud strategy creates organizational complexity.

Multi-cloud IT is here to stay. ESG research found that 86% of IT organizations use more than one cloud, and 65% use three or more different public cloud providers. But is the decision to use multiple public cloud providers by choice, by convenience or by accident? That question was the main topic of discussion at Dell Technologies World 2022.

In our effort to accelerate operations and unlock greater business opportunity, we strive to create freedom for developers, for engineers, for analysts, as well as for other key line-of-business teams. To accelerate app development and IT operations, often the move is to favor bottom-up decision-making with various teams granted freedom to choose the infrastructure and cloud service that best fit the project.

This freedom, however, leads to increased cloud complexity and cost, often to the extent where digital initiatives become impeded -- the opposite of what IT leaders intend when developing their cloud strategies. Short-run acceleration benefits come at a cost to overall optimization as the multi-cloud ecosystem scales to become too large and too distributed to fully control.

The core theme of Dell's event centered on the need to shift from multi-cloud by accident to multi-cloud by design. Being intentional in your multi-cloud IT architecture has become essential when you consider the following:

  • Sixty-four percent of respondents to an ESG research survey agree that the complexity of their IT infrastructure slows their IT operations and digital initiatives.
  • Ensuring proper coordination across multiple teams was the most common challenge organizations face as a result of using multiple cloud service providers, identified by 44% of organizations.

In other words, distributed multi-cloud IT creates complexity, which slows initiatives. That complexity is intensified when decision-making is spread across multiple independent teams.

Dell focuses on flexibility

As part of Dell's mission to enable organizations to become more intentional in the multi-cloud approach, Dell made several announcements at Dell Technologies World last week about Project Alpine, the Snowflake partnership and Project APEX. All three offers align to essential IT requirements of increased flexibility, consistency across locations and simplification.

Project Alpine

While Project Alpine was officially announced earlier this year, attendees were able to see the technology in action. Dell is offering flexibility for its storage software to be deployed within public cloud infrastructure environments, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, offering improved flexibility, choice and consistency. With consistency, application and data movement to cloud is accelerated and development efforts are simplified, reducing the burden on operations and developers.

Partnership with Snowflake

Continuing the flexibility theme, Dell is working with Snowflake, offering deployments on premises in data centers on Dell infrastructure. Beyond the obvious benefits to deployment flexibility, this partnership represents a shift in industry trends. Snowflake is a flagship cloud-centric data platform that started as an as-a-service cloud-based offering. For Snowflake to enter this partnership, it means the company likely has large, key clients that want to deploy their technology on premises. The bottom line is that the old cloud-versus-data-center debate is dying; IT decision-makers now are focused on getting the technology they want in all the locations they want -- data centers and public cloud.

Enhancements to Project APEX

Dell announced multiple enhancements to its as-a-service offering for cloud-like operations and management for on premises as well as hybrid cloud infrastructure environments. Dell APEX Cyber Recovery Services helps simplify recovery from cyber attacks with vault operations managed as a service.

But the genie is out of the bottle. Adopting a multi-cloud-by-design approach cannot require a move back to traditional centralized IT operations from a decade or two ago, which would lead us to the bureaucratic mess impeding innovation. And app dev teams won't allow it. Dell understands this challenge, and it is offering innovations that provide increased flexibility to support an accelerated bottom-up design approach, such as with Project Alpine and its partnership with Snowflake. It is also continuing to augment its APEX as-a-service model for application environments that need greater control but wish to retain the cloud-like experience benefits of the public cloud options.

Ultimately, multi-cloud by design must deliver enough freedom and flexibility to develop apps in an accelerated manner but also offer the simplicity and consistency to help keep cloud costs, operations and environments under control.

Dell Technologies is on the right track and is an integral player helping lead the industry with products that enable IT and business leaders to focus on the technology and apps they care about, while having the freedom to deploy anywhere that the business requires.

ESG is a division of TechTarget.

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