At Dell Technologies 2021, we introduced the transition from ‘Project APEX’ to ‘APEX’, it means that we went from a preview, to a shipping product so I thought that now, is a good time to explain what it means
IT organizations have always dealt with over- and under-provisioning, capital budget constraints and tech refresh cycles. But today, in our new normal, these challenges and risks have become increasingly difficult to manage. Storage requirements as well as the overall business and economic environment are difficult to predict and IT departments need to become increasingly agile. They are also dealing with dramatically limited capital and human resources, and cloud initiatives may also introduce an added layer of complexity.
If you look at the traditional purchasing model for data storage infrastructure, there is often an ongoing challenge to align deployed capacity with actual usage. There is a tendency to over-provision in order to avoid risk, but if the business is growing or capacity requirements become unpredictable, despite best efforts you may still end up exposed to risk associated with under-provisioning. When storage usage approaches this risk threshold, the traditional response is to deploy more storage capacity and it becomes a routine of exposure to risk and wasted available capacity.
With an efficient and aligned as-a-Service model you pay for the capacity you use, so there is no wasted expense associated with over-provisioning. In fact, all of what has traditionally been wasteful expense gets removed from the equation and transitions to savings.
IDC conducted a survey to determine the top reasons organizations are adopting as-a-Service models. This research illustrates that the key drivers are:
- Freeing up time for IT staff
- Cost savings
- Simplifying infrastructure management
- Modernizing storage capabilities
- Sustainable disposal practices
- Moving from a CapEx to OpEx accounting model
Analysts are predicting high growth for as-a-Service:
- IDC predicts a 3X increase in demand taking place in 2021, specifically for on-premises infrastructure delivered in an as-a-Service model.
- Gartner predicts that by 2024 we will see over half of newly deployed storage capacity sold as-a-Service or via subscription, a notable increase from less than 15% in 2020.
Organizations around the world seek to be more digital in order to modernize operations and foster innovation.
Increasingly, the path to digital is through an as-a-Service model. The preference is for a hybrid cloud approach, because business and IT leaders want the flexibility to choose the right path to best meet their objectives. This is why we’re seeing the mixed use of private cloud, public cloud, and on-premises infrastructure. Customers tell us they use on-prem private cloud for risk mitigation, fast performance and cost containment. These are all on the list of top factors driving decisions on where organizations place workloads, according to research we’ve commissioned. Customers are turning to public cloud for simplified operations and increased agility. These are important drivers for accelerating innovation, which is a primary reason for its popularity.
What’s abundantly clear is that both private cloud and public cloud have their strengths, yet there are tradeoffs. Our customers tell us they want a solution that brings together the best of what public and private cloud each has to offer. APEX is what bridges this divide, offering the best of both clouds…
and bringing together our cloud and as-a-Services offerings underneath one banner… APEX. Plainly stated, APEX is Dell Technologies’ breakthrough portfolio of as-a-Service offerings that simplify digital transformation by increasing IT agility and control.
Dell Technologies APEX Data Storage Services is the first in a series of outcome-based infrastructure services in the APEX portfolio. It is an on-premises, as-a-Service portfolio of scalable and elastic storage resources. It is built on our industry-leading technologies – with infrastructure owned, managed and maintained by Dell, but customer operated. There are just a few services levels to choose from:
- Data service: where customers select block or file storage (with object storage coming soon)
- Performance tier: offering three levels to choose from based on customer requirements
- Base capacity: with options starting as low as 50TB (the example shows 100TB being entered)
- Term: where customers choose between a one- or three-year subscription
- Location: where customers specify a location, such as a data center, edge location or colocation facility
That’s all there is to it.
We will take it from this point forward and deliver, manage and support the resources in the location our customers choose. It’s truly an outcome-based way to procure technology services, as easily as you would provision resources in a public cloud
This offering enables customers to optimize for simplicity by eliminating over and under-provisioning and complex procurement and migration cycles.
- Customers can increase agility by scaling up and down to respond dynamically to business needs and only pay for what they use at a single rate with no overage penalties.
- There is a time-to-value target of 14 days (delivery AND installation), which helps customers accelerate projects.
- Plus, they can easily manage the entire as-as-Service experience all through a single console.
- With APEX Data Storage Services, customer maintain control of their data and focus more on outcomes – and less on infrastructure – to deliver more value to their organization.
Below, you can see some preview screens from the storage console:
APEX Data Storage Services enables you to optimize for simplicity in order to maximize operational efficiency.
For an example, let’s look at the traditional tech refresh process, which can be a significant challenge for many of our customers. This process can begin a year out and it may include large capital budget approval processes, an evaluation of vendors and systems and a sales cycle that may be time consuming.
Once a purchase has been made using a traditional model, the infrastructure typically has a 3-5 year shelf life. At end of life the old infrastructure needs to be removed and disposed of in compliance with sustainability guidelines. The deployment process can be challenging and include unanticipated costs as well as disruptive activities. Unanticipated costs can also surface for maintenance issues and upgrades.
With the as-a-Service model, many of these traditional challenges such as forecasting and procurement are streamlined. This enables IT staff to focus on more value-added activities. And it’s all simple to monitor and manage via the APEX Console, which we’ll discuss next.
The APEX Console is a unified and seamless experience to manage your entire APEX journey to enable agile IT service delivery by reducing complexity.
The Console allows an organization administrator to onboard stakeholders, controlling access and individual privileges, so that they will have self-service access to:
- Discover outcome-driven solutions through a catalog of infrastructure services
- Configure and subscribe to new services with seamless, built-in approvals and purchasing
- Set up workloads and application on deployed solutions
- Use the services to meet business requirements while monitoring key performance indicators
- Proactively manage performance with complete transparency of performance, utilization and spend
- And update or renew your subscriptions, with the ability to quickly expand capacity to meet evolving demands
While you will continue to use element managers such as PowerScale OneFS and PowerStore Manager for day-to-day tasks in the near-term, over time the APEX Console will become the single place to provision, operate and monitor APEX Data Storage Services workloads.
Getting started with APEX Data Storage Services includes a simple, user-friendly experience via the console. You begin by selecting the data service, which is the storage best suited for your workloads. You have the option for block or file services.
In this example, we’re selecting block services.
Next you have the option to select a performance tier. Options range from colder, cost-optimized performance to high performance to suit your related use case. You simply make your selection based on your performance requirements, and you will pay higher rates for higher performance. In this case, we’re showing a selection of tier 3 and you can see the associated Read/Write and IOPS details. You have the option to view more granularity by clicking on “show details,” which will expand the box to provide additional details.
Next you will select your base capacity, which represents the minimum amount of capacity you will require, and the cost of this capacity will be the foundation of your billing cycle. You can always exceed your base capacity by utilizing on-demand capacity, which will be available at the same rate as your base capacity. While some of our competitors charge a premium for on-demand usage, we charge a single rate for both base and on-demand usage, so you can use as much as you need without any overage fees! In this example we are selecting 100TB.
Next you will select your term. You have options for 1 or 3-year terms, and a longer term will result in a reduced rate. You can increase the base capacity at any time during your term. In this example, we are selecting a 1-year term.
Once those four service levels are selected and the additional work is done to process the order, we target a 14-day time-to-value objective to have you fully deployed and operational.
Here’s how the capacity utilization works.
You will select a base capacity, which is a minimum amount of storage commitment.
Anything you use above that is on-demand usage. And remember, you pay a single rate for both base capacity and on-demand usage. The higher the base capacity amount, the lower your rate.
As on-demand usage takes place, it may go much higher than base capacity.
In this case, you will have the option to raise the base capacity, resulting in a lower rate. You can raise base capacity at any time without any impact to the length of your term.
At the end of the term, the base capacity can be lowered again.
There is an additional buffer available for incremental growth, ensuring you don’t run out of available capacity. If your utilization grows, additional capacity is deployed (with your permission) and the buffer increases.
The unused infrastructure is removed if capacity requirements decrease, in coordination with your Customer Success Manager (more information will be provided on the CSM later in this presentation). And as a reminder, you pay one rate for both base capacity and on-demand usage with no overage fees or penalties.
We’ve established that APEX Data Storage Services simplifies the tech refresh process, how intuitive it is to use the APEX Console, and how the capacity utilization is tracked. Let’s take a closer look at how the APEX Data Storage Services offering can increase agility and help manage unpredictability.
Building a storage environment can be very complex, and many of our customers are juggling storage requirements and often over-extending themselves just to “keep the lights on.” This can distract from proactively enabling the business and meeting customer requirements, causing investment, time and risk to increase.
APEX Data Storage Services removes many of these responsibilities from the equation by enabling a stronger focus on customer satisfaction. Meanwhile investment, time and risk are all reduced.
This enables you to become more agile and responsive to the needs of your customers and your business. You can:
- Deliver resources as-needed
- Get up and running quickly with a 14-day time to value objective*
- Respond dynamically to unexpected changes in requirements
- Our premier cloud operational platform – formerly known as Dell Technologies Cloud Platform – is now a critical part of APEX and takes on a new name.
- Dell Technologies APEX Cloud Services brings the power of cloud wherever it’s needed.
- It’s an integrated on-prem infrastructure solution that dramatically simplifies cloud adoption.
- Customers can either subscribe to hybrid cloud offer or private cloud offer, depending on the level of control they need, and the operational consistency they desire.
- These services support both cloud native and traditional workloads.
- The key difference between each offer type is in the VMware cloud software stack.
- APEX Hybrid Cloud offers VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail and APEX Private Cloud offers VxRail containing industry-leading virtualization from VMware: vSphere and vSAN.
- When subscribing, there are just a few parameters to get started.
- Offer type – where customers simply select private or hybrid cloud and the license that best fits their environment…
- Instance type – where they choose characteristics that best describe the workload requirements. For example, if they wish to deploy a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure workload, they might choose “Accelerator Optimized”…
- Instance quantity – where they simply specify how many instances they require, and…
- Term length – where a one or three year subscription term is selected.
- It’s that simple. Subscribing is intuitive and no guesswork is required.
- The solution is delivered and deployed in 14 days… and expanded in as few as five.
With APEX Cloud Services and the APEX Console, organizations can:
Order and scale on-premises hybrid and private cloud resources in just a few clicks
Better manage overall cloud IT spending through transparent and predictable subscription pricing
A note about management: APEX Hybrid and Private Cloud already include some managed services – 24×7 proactive monitoring, issue detection and notifications, system maintenance including quarterly patching of both hardware and software – included in the single, predictable monthly price. Beyond these basic managed services, customers have the choice to expand the level of managed services to fit their needs.
Let’s discuss how APEX Data Storage Services enables you to control your data.
Many organizations are turning to public cloud for simplified operations and increased agility. These are important drivers for accelerating innovation, which is a primary reason for its popularity.
While there are many benefits to public cloud, many organizations have rushed to adopt a “cloud first” mindset, often based on exuberance and excitement about public cloud. This mindset has caused many organizations to rush into public cloud adoption and, in some cases, mandates to shift to public cloud – perhaps without thoughtful consideration of which workloads may or may not be a fit.
The reality of the situation is that we live in a hybrid cloud world where public cloud and on-premises infrastructure both have important roles to play in the hybrid cloud operating model. While public cloud may be a fit for many workloads, in certain situations our customers prefer or require to have their infrastructure on-premises rather than in the public cloud.
With APEX Data Storage Services:
- You get predictable pricing that is easy to understand with a single rate for both base and on-demand usage, and no egress fees.
- On-premises infrastructure is less susceptible to latency issues, since the data and applications are in closer physical proximity. The public cloud simply can’t match the consistent high levels of scalability and performance of storage solutions from Dell Technologies, and APEX Data Storage Services is designed for 99.9999% availability.
- On-premises data helps you meet data localization regulatory and audit requirements that the public cloud may not accommodate. Furthermore, with public cloud vendors, customers often need to re-platform their apps and rebuild their infrastructure which could cause security and performance issues.
With APEX Data Storage Services, you get the best of both worlds. You can recognize the benefits of public cloud with the control and enterprise-class features of on-premises infrastructure deployed in an as-a-Service model.
Our APEX as-a-Services offers are customer operated with infrastructure that is owned and maintained by Dell Technologies.
More and more standardized cloud and as-a-Service offers will roll out continually from this day forward. In the meantime, custom solutions are available right now, so customers can create their own on-demand environment. APEX Flex On Demand is our premier flexible consumption solution.
It delivers elastic capacity and a pay per use experience across our entire infrastructure portfolio. Here again, customers make a few simple set of choices to get started: Working with our sales teams, customers select a product that best suits their environment. They can pick from our entire, industry-leading infrastructure portfolio. They select the right level of base, committed capacity and expansion buffer capacity based on their anticipated needs, And they select the right level of services: Support, Deployment or, Fully Managed based on the level of support they desire.
Because it is a pay-per-use environment, customers are billed each month for what they use… at one consistent and competitive rate. APEX Data Center Utility is an even more flexible way to move part of – or all – the enterprise to a usage-based model.
It’s often paired with managed services, letting customers create a managed-utility type of environment that aligns investments with technology usage. This provides the agility benefits of as-a-Service, but it’s highly customized to an organization’s exact specifications. With either option, pending invoices can be reviewed transparently in the APEX Console to ensure accuracy.*
APEX Custom Solutions are offered in 30+ countries around the world and available through our vast partner community with both referral and resell options. We have offered similar capabilities for well over 15 years.
*Note: APEX Console support for Flex on Demand is available in US, UK, France and Germany. APEX Data Center Utility billing information will be added to the console at a later stage.
We will be announcing a partnership with Equinix – the world’s largest digital infrastructure provider of data center colocation and interconnection services. This is yet another way we are building on our APEX strategy to deliver a radically simplified IT experience…
And deploy as-a-Service capabilities wherever they are needed. This is an ideal option for customers who may no longer want to manage their own data centers, but don’t want to be forced into traditional public cloud models. When selecting APEX Data Storage Services – for example – in the APEX Console, customers can choose an Equinix location.
Equinix has colocation facilities strategically located around the world. They provide secure, dynamic on-demand multi-cloud connectivity for customers that want to take advantage of APEX, but without the lock-in and lack of control of public cloud.
Infrastructure is owned and maintained by Dell Technologies at an Equinix facility and customers only pay for what they use with a single invoice, with support from Dell or its select partners. This expands the value of the APEX portfolio by providing a consistent as-a-service experience wherever organizations run their critical workloads.
Resources can be deployed where needed to achieve high performance and secure connections to all major clouds at scale and around the world. Together, Dell Technologies and Equinix can combine our global scale and industry-leading technologies to deliver our customers unprecedented flexibility and choice. More details on this collaboration as well as a private preview of the APEX Data Storage Services deployed at select Equinix locations is coming this year.
And your Customer Success Manager serves as your trusted advisorto ensure a worry-free experience. It’s all designed to give you simplicity, agility and control, while knowing Dell Technologies will take on the tasks of managing and optimizing the infrastructure.
We’d like to spend a few moments to talk about a new role for APEX Data Storage Services — the Customer Success Manager, or CSM, who will serve as your trusted advisor and primary point of contact starting on Day 1 and throughout the offer lifecycle. It’s a growing role across the industry with as-a-a Service models.
At Dell Technologies, we are so dedicated to your success that every APEX Data Storage Services customer will have an assigned Customer Success Manager.
You might think of the CSM as a concierge, coordinating a host of activities and making sure everything is working in concert to deliver an exceptional experience.
- The CSM will oversee onboarding and orientation for a smooth transition.
- They’ll collaborate with you on strategic direction, conduct ongoing check-ins and, if desired, schedule business reviews to discuss goals and progress.
The CSM also ensures a worry-free experience — so you can harness the full power of your data.
- The CSM works behind-the-scenes to verify that service levels for performance, capacity and availability are achieved and continually met
- They are always one step ahead, anticipating needs and resolving potential issues or roadblocks before they become problems. In coordinating a variety of activities, the CSM brings in the right technical or support experts when needed, tapping into the breadth and depth of our expertise.
Throughout the engagement, know that our CSMs are keenly focused on operational efficiencies.
- They proactively manage system health, keeping a watch on telemetry and system alerts
- And if anything appears outside expected thresholds, they identify changes or updates to optimize for peak performance
With insights that span the organization and a keen understanding of your goals, CSMs will keep you informed, connected and confident that you have the right tools and expertise to achieve desired outcomes.
With APEX Data Storage Services – those challenges have met their match:
- No more over and under-provisioning
- Shift from CapEx to OpEx
- Eliminate headaches associated with tech refresh cycles
- Dynamically respond to change
- Free up time for IT staff
- Enable a gateway to cloud consumption
During Dell Technologies World 2021, we also had some interviews with our friends at The Cube that are relevant for APEX, they are listed below
Akanksha Mehrotra, Vice President, Marketing APEX, at Dell Technologies, talks with Dave Vellante for Dell Technologies World 2021.
Adam Glick, sr. director of portfolio marketing for APEX at Dell Technologies, & Andrew Glinka, vice president, competitive intelligence at Dell Technologies, talk with SiliconANGLE’s Lisa Martin for Dell Technologies World 2021.
Kathryn Ward, sr. consultant, cloud customer experience team, Dell Technologies & David Lowe, product management director at Dell Technologies, talk with SiliconANGLE’s Lisa Martin for Dell Technologies World 2021.
Sanjeevini Mittal, senior director, cloud product marketing at Dell Technologies & Devon Reed, sr. director product management, at Dell Technologies, talk with Lisa Martin for Dell Technologies World 2021.
below, you can see a demo (not final) of the APEX Console:
and finally, click the below screenshot which will take you, to our APEX landing Portal