Dell bolsters Apex to ease multicloud deployments

In the biggest expansion of its Apex portfolio, Dell Technologies adds storage offerings and a trio of cloud platforms that integrate OpenShift, Azure and vSphere with Dell infrastructure

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Dell Technologies has beefed up its Apex portfolio with a slew of cloud platforms aimed at easing hybrid multicloud deployments in the biggest expansion of its as-a-service and multicloud offering.

Jointly built with Red Hat, Microsoft and VMware, the platforms integrate popular cloud technology stacks and Kubernetes orchestration software with Dell infrastructure, enabling enterprises to extend their cloud-native environments across public cloud, on-premise datacentres and co-locations.

Chad Dunn, vice-president of product management for Dell Apex, said the cloud platforms were built on a common set of Dell infrastructure building blocks, including its latest-generation servers and software-defined storage that were tightly integrated into Red Hat OpenShift, Microsoft Azure and VMware vSphere via automated management and orchestration.

“The result is that customers can achieve operational excellence and consistent outcomes including automated deployment, simplified operations, automated upgrades and lifecycle management, regardless of which cloud ecosystem they use,” he said.

With consistency between software running on-premise, private cloud and edge locations, the full-stack integration with OpenShift, Azure and vSphere is also expected to improve developer productivity and reduce the skills gap.

For example, with the Apex cloud platform for Microsoft Azure, Dunn said organisations can deploy Azure cloud on-premise while ensuring consistent operations and governance. The platform has also been optimised for Azure Arc to simplify application modernisation.

The common operating model provided through the Apex cloud platforms extends to storage management as well, where Dell is bringing its storage software to the cloud as part of a broader move, dubbed Project Alpine, which was announced last year.

Block storage

At Dell Technologies World in Las Vegas this week, the company expanded its data protection footprint in the public cloud with the addition of Apex block storage for AWS and Apex block storage for Microsoft Azure.

Dunn said the Apex storage offerings will help enterprises “make the most of their pre-committed cloud spend, by enriching the public cloud experience with enterprise-class data storage capabilities”.

To ease storage management, Dell has also added to its Apex management console a unified way to manage Dell storage across public clouds, as well as containers across on-premise and public cloud environments through Apex Navigator for Multicloud Storage and Apex Navigator for Kubernetes, respectively.

Recognising the need for organisations to reduce the total cost of ownership of storage investments, Dunn said Dell’s software-defined storage products were built from the ground up with a scale-up architecture, compared with the dual controller, active-passive architecture with traditional storage arrays.

“Our unique ability to spread data across multiple cloud availability zones preserves performance and saves unneeded expense,” said Dunn. “The architecture really matters, and that’s the reason Dell storage offerings will deliver the best performance for the least cost.”

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Roshan Navagamuwa, CIO of CVS Health, spoke about the healthcare company’s hybrid multicloud strategy during the opening keynote, noting that it had to move away from fragmented environments and adopt an enterprise architecture with common products and services across all of its clouds and datacentres.

“Given the diversity of our businesses and the scale we have, we needed a spectrum of technologies to be able to solve different things in different parts of our business,” he said. “Dell has the spectrum of technology for us, but just as importantly, we had to simplify and standardise management, so that we can be as agile and scale as efficiently as possible.”

Navagamuwa said that with the ability to go deeper into the technology stack, solutions like Apex cloud platform for Azure will enable CVS Health to significantly reduce the amount of shared storage it uses in Azure and use more of it more efficiently and cost effectively.

The expansion of Dell’s Apex portfolio comes at a time when more organisations are preferring integrated services, driven by the need to improve the productivity of IT teams, as well as IT returns on investment, among other outcomes, according to a recent study by Enterprise Strategy Group. Over half of organisations plan to purchase integrated services for hybrid cloud in the next two years.

Enterprise Strategy Group is a division of TechTarget

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