Dell unveils first APEX services offerings

Dell Technologies is making multiple announcements at this year’s virtualized Dell Technologies World, but the most important by far, because of the way in which it transforms the company, is availability of the first APEX as-a-service offerings.

At last fall’s Dell Technologies World, Dell Technologies announced Project APEX, the company’s as-a-Service initiative designed to bring together its as-a-Service and cloud strategies, technology offerings, and Go-to-Market as a unified effort. At that time, however, APEX was a concept, and no offerings were available. Now, at this year’s Dell Technologies World, the company has announced its first APEX offerings, all of which are available in the U.S. now, with some services in other geos available now, and others coming fairly soon.

“We are announcing the introduction of Dell Technologies APEX,” said Sam Grocott, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Dell Technologies. “Both private cloud and public cloud have strengths, but there are tradeoffs with each. Customers tell us they want the best of both worlds, in a consumption model. APEX brings clouds together in as-a-service offerings, and all our as-a-service offerings will be branded APEX going forward.”

Grocott said Dell’s timing was ideal, noting that IDC says that 61% of enterprises plan to shift to playing for infrastructure on a consumption basis. Competitive pressures also make APEX services’ availability essential in the market, given that Dell is trailing major competitors like HPE and Lenovo in as-a-service. HPE says they are ahead of their schedule to make everything they sell available as a service by 2022.

Grocott emphasized that the APEX service offerings are distinguished by three core tenets.

“The first is simplicity, with Dell managing it all, and providing a self-service capability through one unified console,” he said. “We offer an outcome-based approach, where the customer selects the outcome they want and we take care of the rest.”

The second tenet is agility, characterized by velocity, elasticity and transparency, to provide predictability and financial flexibility. The third is putting IT back in control, so they no longer have to get agility by handing the keys to a public cloud provider.

Today, Dell is making five major announcements in conjunction with the APEX portfolio.

APEX Data Storage Services offers enterprise storage with an initial choice of three performance tiers of block and file storage. One- or three-year subscriptions are available, and capacity starts as low as 50 TB and can scale from there.

“You can pick between file, block and very soon, object storage,” said Akanksha Mehrotra, Vice President, Portfolio Marketing for Project APEX at Dell. APEX Data Storage Services is available today in the U.S., and Mehotra said it is ‘coming soon’ to other geos.

A second new service is Apex Cloud Services, which offers integrated compute storage and networking resources with support for both traditional and cloud-native applications, to deliver a consistent cloud experience across public cloud, private cloud and the edge. APEX Hybrid Cloud and APEX Private Cloud are subsets of this service.

“These integrated on-prem solutions that support cloud-native and traditional workloads can be delivered and deployed in 14 days, and can be expanded in as few as five,” Mehrotra said. Apex Cloud Services are available now in the U.S., as well as in the U.K., France and Germany.”

The third new set of services is APEX Custom Solutions, which provides the Dell infrastructure portfolio, including servers, storage, data protection, and hyperconverged infrastructure as-a-service, and makes it all available as a customized service. Customers can select the exact product and services they want and scale their usage of these resources up and down while paying for what they use through the consumption model.

“This lets you move part of or all of an enterprise to a usage-based model, and can be paired with managed services for a managed utility solution,” Mehrotra stated. She also indicated that APEX Custom Solutions are the only one of these offerings available in Canada today, although the others are ‘coming soon’ to this market.

The APEX Console, which provides a self-service, interactive experience for customers to manage their entire APEX lifecycle, is also being announced. Customers use the APEX console to identify and subscribe to APEX services that map to their needs and Dell matches the technology and services to deliver the desired outcomes.

“The Apex Console provides the unified experience for the entire APEX as a Service journey,” Mehrotra said.

One negative for the channel is that partners are not able to use the console to manage their own customers today, but Mehrotra said this is coming.

“Over time, partners will have access to the Console and will be able to manage services on behalf of their customers,” she stated. “This is for future releases.”

Finally, Dell Technologies also announced their first colo collaboration around APEX, with Equinix, to broaden the availability of the APEX services through Equinix data centers.

“Equinix is the largest provider of colo services, and this is for those who don’t want to manage things themselves, but don’t want public cloud either,” Mehrotra said. “The infrastructure will be owned and maintained by Dell at an Equinix facility.”

The plan is to expand the colo partners moving forward.

“Equinix is just one of many colo services we will be working with around the world,” Grocott said.

Dell is also emphasizing how APEX advances their partner strategy.

“APEX expands their advantage further, providing additional opportunity, profitability, and a continuous engagement model, and the ability to deliver new solutions on top of APEX,” Mehrotra said. “Partners will benefit from this increased agility.” Dell will be providing partners with up to 30% incents on APEX turnkey offers, and up to 20% on Custom Solutions.”

Grocott concluded by emphasizing the innate radicalism of APEX.

“Everything has to change as we move forward,” he said. “This is a massive transformation across the company, and will impact other areas, like talent, HR and recruiting. Our Go-to-Market must also transform with this, and we have  changed how we train our sales teams and enable our partners around consumption. At the end of the day, with Apex we are creating the new Dell and everything else has to transform so that can happen.”