As hybrid cloud model continues to grow, vendor will make its entire product portfolio available as a service
Dell Technologies is launching an expansive and long-term effort that will eventually lead to its entire portfolio being available to customers and channel partners as a service, a move that dovetails with efforts by other OEMs and public cloud service providers as the line between the cloud and on-premises infrastructures continues to blur.
The Lowdown: Dell is announcing its Project Apex Wednesday during the first day of its virtual Dell Technologies World 2020 event.
The Details: Project Apex, which will unify the vendor’s as-a-service and cloud initiatives, comes as the hybrid cloud solidifies as the operating model for many organizations going forward. As part of that, enterprises are pushing for their on-premises data center infrastructure to be as agile and scalable as it is in the cloud, which includes not only making the hardware and software available as a service but also to offering a range of payment options, including subscriptions and pay-as-you-go.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise last year said it will make its entire portfolio available as a service by 2022 and Cisco Systems recently has begun to move in a similar direction. At the same time, cloud service providers are expanding their presence in the data center through such efforts as Amazon Web Services’ Graviton hardware, as well as Microsoft’s Azure Arc and Google Cloud’s Anthos, both of which enable organizations to run cloud services in their on-premises data centers.
Dell eventually will make its entire portfolio – from servers and storage to networking, hyperconverged infrastructure, and other solutions – available as a service. The first products under Project Apex include:
> Cloud Console: A foundational aspect of Project Apex, the platform will enable enterprises and partners to manage their cloud and as-a-service operations, browse the marketplace, order cloud services and as-a-service solutions, deploy workloads, manage their multicloud environments, and monitor their costs. It’s in public preview and will be available next year.
> Storage-as-a-Service: The first as-a-service offering is an on-premises portfolio of scalable storage resources for block and file data services that are deployed, managed, and owned by Dell and managed via the Cloud Console. It will be available in the first half of 2021.
> Cloud instances: Enterprises can build their hybrid cloud through predefined instances on the Dell Technologies Cloud Platform through subscription pricing that can be as low as $47 per instance per month.
> Pre-approved Flex On Demand pricing: Preconfigured pricing makes it easier for customers to select and deploy Dell solutions via pay-per-use. Dell partners will receive a rebate of up to 20% on Flex On Demand solutions.
The Impact: The hybrid cloud model, with workloads running both on premises and in multiple public clouds, is expected to continue to grow. A report earlier this year from IT management software vendor Flexera found that 87% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy in place. In addition, IDC is forecasting that by 2024, more than 75% of infrastructure at the edge and more than half of data center infrastructure will be consumed as a service.
Dell officials said channel partners will play a significant role in Project Apex. For example, over time the company will enable access for partners to Cloud Console, including making an API available that will enable them to plug into it and making it easier for them to provision and manage their customer environments. In addition, channel partners eventually will be able to sell the Dell Technologies Cloud Platform as a service.
Background: For almost a decade Dell has been selling some of its products as a service or in an on-demand fashion. The company already has more than 2,000 customers using such methods, and in the second quarter, Dell’s recurring revenue hit $1.3 billion, a 30% year-over-year increase.
The Buzz: “Project Apex will give our customers choice, simplicity, and a consistent experience across PCs and IT infrastructure from one trusted partner — unmatched in the industry,” said Jeff Clarke, COO and vice chairman at Dell Technologies. “We’re building upon our long history of offering on-demand technology with this initiative. Our goal is to give customers the freedom to scale resources in ways that work best for them, so they can quickly respond to changes and focus less on IT and more on their business needs.”
“It is the culmination of our strategy. It is where we are going over time,” said Sam Grocott, senior vice president of product marketing at Dell Technologies. Dell will “take our existing as-a-service business, which is very successful today, and take it to the next level and redesign that for simplicity, ease of use, and speed. By doing that, we’re going to bring together our cloud and our as-a-service offers into a singular set of offers and solutions around Project Apex. It is a strategy. It is a vision. This isn’t going to happen overnight. This is something that’s going to happen over time. But it is directionally where we’re going with the portfolio that will bring those solutions together and allow us to really simplify how we not only message and deliver these solutions to our customers, but even internally, this is a transformation across the company.”
“The plan is over time to fully enable channel partners to be able to use it,” said Varun Chhabra, vice president of product marketing at Dell Technologies. “This will just make it a lot more seamless and simple for them to provision the infrastructure that they are provisioning or they’re creating on behalf of the customer.”
“By the end of 2021, the agility and adaptability that comes with as-a-service consumption will drive a 3X increase in demand for on-premises infrastructure delivered via flexible consumption/as-a-service solutions,” said Rick Villars, group vice president of worldwide research at IDC.