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Dell Technologies Unveils its Apex as-a-Service Portfolio
by Daniel Newman | May 5, 2021

The News: This week at Dell Technologies World, the company is unveiling its APEX portfolio of as-a-Service offerings to simplify how businesses consume technology. Businesses have the flexibility to choose technology services that work best for them and only pay for what they need when they need it. Read the full news item from Dell’s press room.

Analyst Take: Over the past few years, Dell has been carefully planning its entry into the consumption-based IT services space. The rollout of Apex represents the company’s comprehensive set of offerings designed to support the popular hybrid cloud architecture that is winning in the enterprise.

During the event, the company shared availability of the following offerings: (Per Dell’s Press Release)

  • APEX Data Storage Services provides storage when and where organizations need it with as-a-Service with performance with transparent pricing and no overage fees with performance unmatched in the public cloud.
  • APEX Cloud Services offers the industry’s fastest hybrid cloud deployments and is up to 86% faster than do-it-yourself hybrid cloud. With APEX Hybrid Cloud and APEX Private Cloud, Dell Technologies offers integrated compute, storage, networking and virtualization resources for traditional and cloud-native applications.
  • APEX Custom Solutions offers flexible consumption options for the industry’s broadest technology portfolio. APEX Flex On Demand allows organizations to apply a pay-per-use experience, metered in a variety of ways, across all infrastructure. APEX Data Center Utility adds an additional level of flexibility through custom metering and managed services applied across their data center.
  • The APEX Console is a web-based portal where customers have full access to Dell Technologies’ catalog of offerings and can configure, subscribe, manage and adjust their Dell Technologies APEX services. It simplifies technology spending with easy-to-understand billing that shows the amount of IT used each month.

The company, for now, is rolling out services over a series of quarters, starting with Storage, but quickly looking to expand to PC, Data Platform, SAP, and eventually everything in a consumption based service format.

Competitive Landscape around Dell’s APEX Offering 

While Dell’s launch meets a number of the market’s expectations for on-prem consumption-based IT, there has been a steady flow of questions and inquiries around Dell’s competitiveness in this space.

Most of the questions focus on the public cloud providers’ competitiveness in this space. The second question is on early entrants in this space like HPE GreenLake and Lenovo Truscale.

When it comes to the public cloud providers, it is important to consider that not everything is designed for the cloud, and certainly, the cloud isn’t always the proper landing place for every workload. Apex will provide an alternative to using cloud for storage on specific workloads that may benefit for various reasons to be on-prem. In terms of lost revenue, I believe the key is meeting the customer where they are–in this case, customers want consistency in the economics and the control plane. I also feel there are significant opportunities for Dell, HPE, Lenovo, and the cloud providers to win on the overall CAGR growth of data, cloud, and IT across the enterprise. It isn’t a zero-sum game, and the growth of data and the increased complexity of IT will create more opportunities for market participants.

It’s important to keep in mind that this space will be highly competitive and is represented by a set of very well-run companies with robust strategies. It’s hard to bet against AWS, Azure, or Google. However, It’s also hard to bet against HPE or Dell. This is why I believe all will do reasonably well in this space. The growing TAM, and strong go-to markets will enable all to win share.

Over the next 4-6 quarters, we will be looking at available growth data to understand the trajectory better and better understand the demand for consumption-based IT and the vendors winning the most workloads.

Overall Impressions of Dell’s APEX announcements

Dell has steadily been moving in this direction for some time. We were pleased to see the company come out with a comprehensive set of offerings to address the growing interest and demand for prem-based consumption IT solutions.

The console is of particular interest, as I see the strength of these solutions being tied to the control plane for the solutions. This has been the case with the public cloud and customers trying to manage the sprawl of tools and centralize when possible.

Apex’s speed to market and deployment will grab customer attention, and I believe Dell’s large sales organization should have success in reaching the market with APEX. Like all hardware to service shifts, it will take time, but Apex isn’t the first rodeo for Dell, and its rich history in delivering services for enterprise and consumers should serve as a springboard for APEX growth long-term.

Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.

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Image: Dell Technologies
Daniel Newman