By Kathy Gibson – Dell Technologies aims to improve flexibility and consistency in its multi-cloud/hybrid cloud offerings.
That’s the word from Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, launching the company’s Project Apex, which will simplify how customers consume IT as a service.
As part of Project Apex, the Dell Technologies Cloud Console will give customers and single self-service interface to manage every aspect of their cloud and as-a-service journey.
“Project Apex is one consistent architecture, with the goal to accelerate and simplify the Dell Technologies Cloud and transform all of our solutions to as-a-service,” Dell adds.
Jeff Clarke, vice-chairman and chief operating officer at Dell Technologies adds that Project Apex is an expansion of as-a-service capability that simplifies how customers access technology on demand.
“This includes storage, data protection, servers, networking, hyperconverged infrastructure and other solutions.
“The Dell Technologies Cloud will be further expanded and enhanced under Apex, delivering a simple self-service experience for customers to navigate their cloud experience as a journey.
“It is about a simple, consistent experience with choice.”
Michael Dell adds that the company is seeing a consistent increase in subscription and as-a-service demand.
“Just look at our balance sheet where $23,5-billion of deferred revenue and growing. Apex brings this together.”
- Read more about Project Apex here
He points out the customer demands have shifted substantially this year, with a move to work from home and learn from home imperatives.
“Organisations around the world have reflected that during the last eight months technology was the only thing kept their businesses going. So they are investing faster and accelerating their digital investments.
“2020 has been a year of great tragedy with many businesses suffering, but also a year of great acceleration where we have been slingshotted into he future with all this new technology that has been created.”
Clarke agrees, adding that customers have also come face to face with the notion that business continuity is vital for their businesses.
“The ability to overcome the challenges of this year has forced everyone to build those notions of continuity at scale and test them at scale.”
Dell has led from the front in the new reality, Clarke says. “In mid-March we took 90% of our workforce and transitioned them to work from home over one weekend. And this is the way things are going to be a for a long time.
“Prior to Covid, 20% of the workforce was remote. In the long-term, it will easily be 20 points in top of that, but more likely 30 – so 50% of the workforce will work in a hybrid environment.
“This enforces a change in how you are going to manage your assets in terms of things like provisioning, patch management, services and the security paradigm.
“We think the next iteration of the modern compute experience is being accelerated.”
- Read more about Dell’s announcements around IT modernisation here
Clarke stresses that the move to cloud has also been accelerated, and it’s a hybrid cloud.
“Customers will realise the need for a cloud operating system; all the clouds will all need to work together.
“Our opportunity is to help customers through that.”
He adds that organisations that invested early in digital transformation have performed better in 2020 that their peers who didn’t make the investment.
“We are never going back to the old way of working and learning,” says John Roese, senior vice-president and chief technology officer at Dell Technologies.
“Now the idea of autonomous machines doing work for us is expected by society.
“The digital education experience today is adequate, and it will get better. Healthcare version 1.0 telemedicine will evolve quickly, and the same goes for transport sector and more.
“We have started the flywheel turning and it won’t stop because this is not about technologists wanting something, but society wanting it.”
Connectivity is central to the multi-cloud/hybrid cloud experience, and Clarke points out that 5G and the intersection of the cloud operating model and the edge is critical.
“We are talking about a massive change in the way data is created. It will be created at the edge at a scale never before seen – and the majority of it will require processing, storage and more.
“The local networks and compute fabric are essential to success in this scenario. It is not about having high-speed networks everywhere, but where they are needed – and being smart about what data is pushed back to the data centre.
“But we will need more compute, more bandwidth and more storage.”
Roese explains that the purely physical network is outdated in the new world. “Because data is not physical.
“We have spent a lot of time separating data and workloads from the physical topology, building the dynamic fabric that is the software-defined network (SDN).
“Think about the demands of the digital world: it needs more bandwidth that can be turned into virtual services. If we can get that right, we have a strong foundation.”
How we manage 5G is key, Roese adds. “If we hard code it, it will be inefficient. But if we put SDN into this, it improve the network experience.”
5G and multi-cloud/hybrid cloud are going to drive the data-first strategy, he says. “The bottom line is that more and more applications that process data in motion have to cross environments.
“Where you are using AI to influence things in the real world, if you can’t harness multi clouds you will be at a disadvantage.”
Michael Dell believes that the innovations we are seeing at the edge are just the tip of the iceberg, and there is a lot more to come.
“The growth in the amount of compute and AI workloads that will be at the edge will be amazing.
“This can result in an enormous IT challenge. If each edge system creates its own platform you will have a tremendous challenge. But extending the cloud to edge offers value in the ability to extend workloads.”
Virtualising all the systems and operating at the container and virtual machine level gives Dell the added advantage of being able to build security into the system, Dell adds.