For years, the public cloud has tempted businesses with the promise of much-needed agility and scalability that comes with an elastic IT environment and cost savings by not having to invest a lot of money. money up front to buy a lot of infrastructure, instead adopting more consumption models that allow organizations to pay only for what they use.
Considering all of this, there was a perception early on that businesses were likely to move most if not all of their operations to the public cloud, either to large vendors like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle or IBM, or the thousands of second-tier cloud companies that have sprung up in recent years.
However, in 2021 around 30% of workloads are running in the cloud and while this will certainly increase in the years to come, companies are moving into the hybrid cloud model with some applications and data moving to the public cloud. – and multiple clouds for that – or stay on-premises, in traditional data centers or in private clouds. According to the annual report of Flexera Cloud state earlier this year, around 92% of companies have a multicloud strategy and 80% have a hybrid cloud initiative.
There are many reasons, including cost – moving data and applications between data centers, the cloud, and now the edge, as well as between clouds, can be costly. But control is another major concern. Organizations are reluctant to cede any control over data – for privacy or security reasons or for regulatory and location compliance reasons – to public cloud providers.
That said, they still want the agility, flexibility, and scalability that the cloud offers, even in their on-premises IT environments. This is why AWS (with its Outposts effort), Microsoft (Azure Stack) and Google Cloud (Anthos) are creating programs that allow companies to integrate slices of the public cloud into their corporate environments and this is also why traditional OEMs like Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Cisco Systems are putting more cloud-like capabilities into their offerings, including making more of their wallets available as a service and at a cloud-like price with a utility model.
HPE promised in 2019 that by 2022, its entire portfolio will be offered as a service – with flexible consumption models – and took a big step this week with the introduction of storage as a service on its GreenLake hybrid cloud platform, including new systems and a single console to manage everything.
Dell introduced Project Apex, its own initiative as a service, in October. The fundamentals of the effort revolve around simplifying the acquisition and management of the IT environment, enabling businesses to determine the results they want and ensuring that Dell integrates infrastructure and services to meet these demands, as well as the agility to rapidly evolve and deploy their projects. That said, they also want to maintain control over their assets, including data.
“Too often, to achieve simple and agile solutions, customers are faced with the false choice of having to hand over the keys to the kingdom to a public cloud provider,” said Sam Grocott, senior vice president of product market at Dell, during a press briefing. . “But with Apex, that is no longer necessary to achieve simplicity and agility. Apex offers the flexibility and control that public clouds simply can’t. This means that organizations can take charge of their own cyber resiliency and the physical security of their IT infrastructure. Apex also enables data to be placed precisely where it needs to be located to simplify data privacy and meet compliance obligations. By placing data in known locations, Apex can help avoid data sovereignty and location issues. “
The goal is to offer essentially all products – from servers and networks to PCs, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and other offerings – as a service. Dell officially launched Apex on the first day of the company’s Dell Technologies World virtual event on Wednesday, paving the way for storage. Apex data storage services can be deployed in the data center, in edge locations, or in colocation facilities. (Dell is also announcing a partnership with global infrastructure provider Equinix to host Dell-managed infrastructure for enterprises.) Organizations can choose from three levels of block and file performance – object storage will come later – with capacity starting from 50 TB.
The vendor is also unveiling Apex Cloud Services, which are integrated on-premises infrastructure offerings that support both legacy data center workloads and cloud-native applications, which businesses can leverage by subscribing to a offering private cloud or hybrid cloud, depending on the level of control they want and the consistent operation between public and private clouds, according to Akanksha Mehrotra, vice president of product marketing or Apex, Dell Financial Services and Dell Digital Business Units.
They can also choose from types of instances such as, depending on the characteristics of the workload. Virtual desktop infrastructure – demand for VDI has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic with the sudden shift to a predominantly remote workforce – may require accelerator-heavy instance, Mehrotra said at the press conference .
Dell’s New Apex Custom Solutions Extend Reach as a Service to its Broad Infrastructure Portfolio, with Apex Flex on Demand including Servers, Storage, Data Protection and HCI – such as VxRail – and Apex Data Center Utility providing personalized measurement and management services to the data center. The Apex Console provides businesses with a single place to manage their Apex lifecycle, including identifying, monitoring, managing, and subscribing to services, providing predictive analytics, usage and expense reporting, and reporting. allowing to modify the services according to their needs.
Apex is reaching the edge too, with an improved streaming data platform with improved real-time edge analytics and a smaller footprint for space-constrained environments. Additionally, Dell is working with solutions and service provider PTC to develop an edge reference architecture for manufacturing companies to generate more information from system endpoints such as workstations, PC and mobile devices.
“We have built a cloud native capability, which brings a cloud operating model,” said Jeff Clarke, vice president and chief operating officer at Dell, in a question-and-answer session with reporters and analysts at the event. “We have built a cloud control plan that allows us to work across our entire infrastructure. We built these tools and capabilities with the very model that customers have received from the public cloud. “
All of this comes in an era of rapid change at Dell. The company said last month that it was pulling away from VMware to generate growth opportunities at both companies and that this would also net Dell nearly $ 10 billion, a big deal for a company still trying to repay a loan. massive debt from its five-year $ 60 billion acquisition of EMC. since. Dell inherited VMware as part of the EMC deal, owning around 81% of VMware’s shares. The two companies have worked closely in recent years in areas such as hybrid cloud and both said the close cooperation will continue.
Then this week, Dell announced it was divesting another chunk of its software business, selling data integration specialist Boomi to private equity firms Francisco Partners and TPG for $ 4 billion. Boomi, which Dell purchased in 2010 and now has approximately 15,000 customers, offers solutions designed to help businesses better leverage data held in diverse systems – a key need in today’s distributed computing and hybrid cloud environments.
The move may not only help Dell pay off more of its debt, but also pave the way for the business as it focuses more on efforts like hybrid cloud, edge, and Apex. In a report, Clarke said the deal will allow Dell to continue to “modernize our core infrastructure and PC business and [expand] in high priority areas including hybrid and private cloud, edge, telecommunications and Apex, all designed to help organizations thrive in the do-from-anywhere economy.
During the question-and-answer session, Clarke pointed out that almost everything related to the cloud and the edge is related to software – from artificial intelligence and analytics to management, integration and information with products like CloudIQ – and that Dell will continue to invest in software development. around its expanding hybrid cloud and edge efforts.
Founder and CEO Michael Dell also said that despite the expected spin-off from VMware, the two companies will continue to work closely around hybrid cloud and the edge, noting that he will continue to serve as chairman of both companies and of this part of the trade agreement between the two calls for continued close collaboration for more than five years.
“This is a business model transformation,” Michael Dell said of Apex. “The opportunities are great with the multicloud and the edge. We are investing heavily in it. It’s an expansion as we see opportunities as the shift from products to managed services and services – which were already substantial activities for us – leads to the next step, which is everything as a service. This is a whole new chapter for our company.