Dell Apex now brings Microsoft Azure HCI stack to Dell hardware in the data center, providing cloud-like experiences to on-premises environments.
On Tuesday, Dell made available the first of it Dell Apex Cloud Platforms. In 2022, Dell introduced Project Alpine that took data services from on premises to AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Now Dell is inverting this idea -- what it calls a "cloud to ground" strategy -- by bringing elements of Azure to Dell hardware with Dell Apex Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure, available today.
"Dell's strategy is allowing you to choose your own cloud experience, and they will deploy it on infrastructure for you," said Scott Sinclair, an analyst at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group.
The deepening Dell-Microsoft partnership is another signal for how IT vendor competition and customer environments have changed, according to Melanie Posey, an analyst at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
"You have multi-vector competition in the market right now because we've moved away from binary," she said.
Customers no longer have to choose either on premises or in the cloud, nor do they need to work with just one vendor, Posey said. Instead, they can consider what's best for the use case.
Consistent Azure hybrid cloud
The two vendors jointly engineered the new Azure HCI Stack appliance, built on the latest generation of PowerEdge servers. The joint engineering led to a more consistent management and governance experience for customers, according to Dell. This marks the first product in the Dell Apex Cloud Platforms line.
Customers need consistent governance of technology especially in hybrid environments, Sinclair said. "One of the first steps in optimization is making the technology consistent everywhere," he said.
Scott SinclairAnalyst, Enterprise Strategy Group
Nearly all customers want consistency and Dell is doing this whether they choose Dell's offerings or Azure's, in this case, he said.
Dell Apex Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure uses direct integration between Azure software and Dell hardware. Dell engineers will continuously validate the software and firmware to ensure they work together, and new Azure security patches will be made available in as little as four hours, according to Dell.
This is where Dell Apex Cloud Platform software comes in, Posey said. When there is an update to Azure, it flows into the turnkey Azure offering Dell has.
"It is not the customer's job to fiddle with all the different components to make sure they're all updated," she said.
The new offering comes with automation for easier deployment and automated cluster expansion. In the future, Dell is looking to add specialized nodes for the edge and the ability to scale up storage resources independently.
Editor's note: The original version of this story incorrectly stated that Dell Apex Cloud Platforms came out of Project Alpine, which is now known as Dell Apex Storage for Public Cloud.
Adam Armstrong is a TechTarget Editorial news writer covering file and block storage hardware, and private clouds. He previously worked at StorageReview.com.