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May 23, 2023

Dell brings Microsoft, Red Hat and VMware on board for Apex cloud platform

The enterprise IT giant is putting a greater emphasis on cloud services and has revealed a new raft of collaborations.

By Matthew Gooding

Dell has announced big upgrades to its Apex services portfolio with a cloud offering that integrates services from Microsoft Azure, Red Hat and VMware. It comes as the company continues to adjust its enterprise portfolio to strike a balance between services and on-premise hardware.

Dell is expanding its Apex services portfolio. (Photo by Tada Images/Shutterstock)

The new service, Dell Apex Cloud Platforms, was announced as part of a whirlwind of product launches at the company’s annual Dell World conference, taking place this week in Las Vegas.

Dell does not break out cloud revenue, so it is difficult to judge how important its services package is. But the company is looking for more income streams as it battles declining revenues in the PC sector, one of its core markets, where it saw shipments drop 37% in the final quarter of 2022, more than the 28% market average.

Dell Apex Cloud Platforms launches with big-name support

Dell describes Apex Cloud Platforms as “a portfolio of fully integrated, turnkey systems integrating Dell infrastructure, software and cloud operating stacks that deliver consistent multicloud operations by extending cloud operating models to on-premises and edge environments.”

In practice, this means customers can use the service to manage data and workloads on different clouds and move data between different systems. The integration with Azure, Microsoft’s public cloud platform, is designed for “application modernisation and delivers faster time to value of Azure based on Azure Arc-enabled infrastructure with consistent operations and governance across on-premises data centres, edge locations, and the Azure public cloud using Azure Arc,” the Dell announcement says.

Meanwhile, the system can also integrate with Red Hat’s Kubernetes-powered OpenShift service, to simplify container-based application development. Dell promises that users will be able to “run containers and virtual machines side by side, natively within Kubernetes, with a unified experience for a wide variety of workloads, including AI/ML and analytics, with broad GPU support across any hybrid cloud footprint.

The third integration, with VMware’s vSphere, will help clients run the cloud virtualisation platform on Dell’s software-defined storage.

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Dell revealed printing stalwart Xerox has been an early user of the system. “Dell Apex has helped us optimise our multicloud strategy so that we can deliver software and services that meet the needs of the modern workforce,” said Tino Lancellotti, Xerox CIO.

Data announcements come thick and fast at Dell World

Elsewhere, Dell says it is expanding its dedicated storage offerings for public cloud platforms with Apex Block Storage for Azure and Amazon’s public cloud service, AWS, meaning companies can run services on the cloud platforms and store their data securely on Dell infrastructure. This is designed to complement Dell Apex Protection Storage, which the vendor says already holds 17 exabytes of data for its customers.

These services form part of what Dell calls Project Alpine, which it launched last year in a bid to help companies simplify data storage through one service, rather than having it spread around various cloud and on-premises systems.

When it comes to data management and analysis, the company has launched a new partnership with another vendor, Databricks, which will connect on-premises data stored in Dell’s enterprise storage platforms and the Databricks Lakehouse Platform.

“Dell customers can connect Databricks in the public cloud with Dell object storage, on-premises or in a co-location facility, to analyse data in-place, store results and securely share it with third parties using Databricks’ Delta Sharing capabilities,” the company announcement said. “Dell and Databricks are collaborating to jointly engineer additional integrations that will deliver a seamless experience for Dell object storage within the Databricks Lakehouse Platform.”

“Our customers continue to look for a simpler technology experience to easily manage and access their assets and applications with predictable costs and greater flexibility,” said Chuck Whitten, co-chief operating officer, Dell Technologies. “Dell Apex spans the breadth of our portfolio to give customers greater freedom for technology to support businesses as their needs dictate – from PCs and IT on-premises to public clouds and edge locations.”

Read more: Dell is still hedging its bets on cloud versus on-prem

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