Dell Technologies takes as-a-service strategy to next level with Project APEX

Project APEX is a vision of consolidating Dell’s cloud and as-a-service strategies, but new product is coming. The Cloud Console that will manage everything starts public preview today, and it and a new Storage as-a-Service offering on it will GA the first half of next year.

Today, at a Dell Technologies World that has been postponed from the spring and then moved online by the pandemic, Dell Technologies is announcing the acceleration of its as-a-Service initiative with Project APEX, which will ultimately bring together its as-a-Service and cloud strategies, technology offerings, and go-to-market as a unified effort. It also will simplify how customers can access Dell technology on-demand.

“Project APEX is the culmination of our strategy, how we are gong to take our existing as-a-Service business to the next level and redesign it with simplicity, ease of use and speed,” said Sam Grocott, SVP Dell Technologies Business Units Marketing.

Grocott acknowledged that Dell isn’t there today, but that is the clear objective.

“Over time, we will bring existing cloud and as-a-Service together,” he said. “Directionally, it is where we are going. It’s also a transformation across the company internally – a flag we are planting in the ground of where we are going.”

Grocott said that Project APEX is a logical response, born out of the cloud, to the market shifting to as a service, which Gartner projects will exceed more than 75% of edge infrastructure and 50% in data centres by 2025.

“On-prem is too complex, and doesn’t have the ease of use of the public cloud,” he stated. “We are focused on delivering that experience on-prem. Customers want a simpler IT experience, and a consistent cloud operating experience, where you don’t have to use many tools to manage. They want to manage it under a single web interface. They want it to be elastic and scale up and down, and they want to pay only for what they use. They also want to be able to do self service provisioning. And with cash being king today, they now want opex flexibility.”

Grocott said that the components of Project APEX will do all these things.

“Project APEX is the north star in our strategy to align to this as a service and cloud experience,” he said. “APEX is our strategy to deliver a radically simplified as- a-service and cloud experience to customers and partners. It has three key areas –  simplicity, choice, and consistency – with turnkey as a service solutions fully managed by Dell. They have the choice to pay any way they want, with a consistent operating experience.”

Project APEX will have three initial components: Dell Technologies Cloud Console; Dell Technologies Storage as-a-Service; and Cloud Platform Workload Instances.

“The Cloud Console will be a new platform for customers to manage their entire cloud services journey, and order, and transact,” Grocott said. “It’s part of our vision to drastically simplify every stage of the journey.”

The Cloud Console will be in public preview starting today, October 21. Grow, Discover and Order are functions available in the preview. Future functionality includes Optimize, Manage and Deploy. Scheduled General Availability is the first half of the 2021 calendar year.

The Cloud Console is open to channel partners.

“Partners will be able to access Cloud Console as well, and we are making APIs available so they can plug into the Cloud Console using those APIs,” said Varun Chhabra, Vice President, Product Marketing, Dell Technologies Cloud and Edge.

“Storage as-a-Service is our first turnkey offer in our portfolio of new outcome-based cloud services,” Grocott said. It will be fully integrated into the Dell Technologies Cloud Console, and is also scheduled to be available in the first half of 2021.

“It’s an easy button which is coming next year,” Grocott noted. “It will be deployed managed and owned by us or a partner – not the customer. It’s simple, simple, simple.”

Dell Technologies Cloud Platform instance-based offerings are the third component, making it easy to buy and scale cloud resources with pre-defined configurations through the Cloud Console.

“These workload instances will align experience with public cloud compute offers,” Grocott said. “Customers can pick the instance type based on the workload. That means they can easily self service and guide based on preconfigured hybrid cloud workloads for enterprise workloads, for as low as $52 per instance per month, including deployment. Deployment will be in less than 14 days.

“We have also improved choice for flex on demand pricing,” Grocott added. “This will simplify procurement and ordering for common configurations, while still allowing customization. It is also fully available for channel partners. We see this as a big stepping stone to cloud and as-a-service offers.”

Dell Technologies expects that Project APEX will mean changes down the road in terms of some product branding, as well as addressable markets.

“APEX is about merging our cloud experience and our as-a-service experience, so as we align to APEX, we will look at rationalizing our brands across these products and offers,” Grocott said. “We won’t leave any stone unturned about how we can simplify our offers.”

Grocott also noted that while Dell has been in as-a-Service for a decade, and has a recurring revenue of $1.3 billion going at over 30% a year, as they go forward, they expect the market to shift.

“It has been mainly upmarket, but we do expect that will change with Project APEX,” he said.

Partner opportunities will expand as well.

“Today partners get referral fees, but based on channel feedback we have expanded that and partners will be able to resell as well,” Chhabra said. “This will be announced at the event.”