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Dell Introduces As-a-Service Infrastructure and Cloud Portfolio

Called APEX, the new solutions seek to combine the flexibility and usage-based pricing of public cloud solutions with the security, performance, and control of private clouds. By Rich Freeman

Dell Technologies has officially launched APEX, a collection of managed infrastructure and cloud solutions that provide a foundation for the company’s “everything-as-a-service” strategy.

Introduced on day one of the virtual Dell Technologies World conference, which is taking place this week, and previewed at the last Dell Technologies World event in 2020, APEX aims to combine the flexibility and usage-based pricing of public cloud solutions with the security and control of private clouds.

“It’s the scale of the cloud with the ease of as a service,” said Jeff Clark, vice chairman and COO of Dell Technologies, in a keynote this morning. “This is the future of IT consumption.”

APEX’s initial offerings fall within three categories, starting with APEX Infrastructure Services. APEX Data Storage Services, the first of what will eventually be a more expansive set of infrastructure products, combines dynamically-scaled file or block storage with host hardware owned, managed, and maintained by Dell. Object storage will be available as well later this year.

“Dell manages the service on an ongoing basis from deployment to monitoring to operations to optimization and support,” said Travis Vigil, senior vice president of solutions and portfolio management in Dell’s Infrastructure Solutions Group, during a keynote this morning.

Available now in the U.S., the service includes a self-serve, point-and-click procurement and configuration interface designed to get new deployments in place quickly. “We’ll get you up and running in just 14 days,” Vigil said today.

The APEX Cloud Services family currently contains two offerings, both of which support traditional as well as cloud-native workloads. APEX Private Cloud combines Dell hardware with VMware software. APEX Hybrid Cloud allows organizations to extend private cloud functionality to locations without on-premises infrastructure. 

“Let’s say, for example, your organization is growing and you recently acquired a company in another part of the world,” Vigil said this morning. “Using APEX Hybrid Cloud as the foundation, you can quickly extend workloads like [virtual desktop infrastructure] to deploy virtual workspaces and get those employees up and running on day one.” Latency and logon response times for the Dell service will exceed what public cloud platforms can deliver, he promised.

The third family, called APEX Custom Solutions, gives buyers maximum flexibility to tailor as-a-service deals to specific needs. It includes Dell’s previously introduced Flex On Demand program, which lets businesses pay for servers, storage, data protection, and hyperconverged infrastructure on a per-use basis. A new service, named APEX Data Center Utility, adds custom metering and managed services as well.

Users can manage of all their APEX resources through the APEX Console, which includes lifecycle support for deployment, administration, optimization, and decommissioning. 

In a related deal announced today, Dell now offers hosted capacity for the APEX portfolio via an expanded alliance with co-located data center operator Equinix. That service, which is designed for organizations that don’t have or wish to maintain a data center of their own but also want to avoid public clouds, provides a single invoice from both Dell and Equinix.

Hosting solutions is one of several ways partners can profit from APEX, according to Akanksha Mehrotra, Dell’s vice president of APEX marketing. “They can take an advisory role and refer customers to our sales teams, and take advantage of lucrative incentives; they can host infrastructure workloads on behalf of their customers in a dedicated environment and build solutions on top of it; they can extend our offerings with their own value-added services; [and] they can resell our offers to extend their reach into new markets.”

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