UPDATED 11:10 EST / OCTOBER 03 2023


Three insights you might have missed from the Dell APEX ‘Future of Multicloud Lands Now’ event

How Dell Technologies Inc.’s APEX portfolio is evolving to address multicloud modernization needs and what comes next was the key focus during the “Future of Multicloud Lands Now – Dell APEX Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure” virtual event on Sept. 26.

Some of those upgrades to the APEX multicloud portfolio were previously revealed during the annual Dell Technologies World conference. But what might the future of multicloud look like as tech giants are seeking out simplified stack solutions?

Dell’s long-term strategy tied to differentiating its APEX products and services was also a key focus during the event. Analysts for theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, handled the exclusive coverage, talking with industry professionals and analyzing product announcements during the event. (* Disclosure below.) 

Here are three key insights you may have missed: 

1. The market around cloud is in a state of change.

The APEX Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure seeks to combine the best of Dell and Microsoft Corp. What does that mean for customers? First, it’s important to take a look at cloud usage and the movement between public and private cloud, according to theCUBE industry analyst Dave Vellante. The market is becoming much more balanced, with data from Enterprise Technology Research indicating the percent of usage of public clouds relative to private clouds, specifically within the S&P 500.

“That portion of the market represents a very large sector of spending, well over half of IT spend. As generally considered a bellwether, the data shows that about 43% usage of public cloud today in this sector will grow to 55% by January 2026,” Vellante said. “Note that that 2026 figure is down from just 10 months ago, implying that the market is reaching a more balanced state.”

That might suggest, for example, that many workloads are where they belong and the steep momentum to migrate off-prem has stabilized. That would have been counterintuitive 10 months ago, according to theCUBE industry analyst Rob Strechay.

“Cloud is an operating model; it’s not a place,” he said. “I think that companies and organizations that we talk to are really taking a hard look at where they place their applications going forward, not just going cloud-first or cloud-only. They’ve backed way off of that strategy. Cloud went right, and they’re looking at co-location. And a lot of on-prem again is becoming more en vogue for those cloud-native apps.”

When it comes to the APEX Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure, what are the relevant customer requirements that people need to know about? It comes down to what theCUBE has also been hearing from organizations, that companies are not all-in on cloud anymore, according to Strechay.

“There isn’t [just] cloud-first. It’s, again, we’re going to be balanced in where we develop, especially,” he said. “A lot of that’s being developed, all these cloud-native apps, are being developed on-premise. I think what they’re looking at is that they’re not necessarily repatriating from cloud, but they’re taking a balanced look at where they deploy, how they deploy.”

It’s more about how organizations can get the development environment that they want. For instance, using Azure, they’re looking for the Azure tooling that they’re used to when using Azure, Strechay pointed out.

“The requirements are, ‘How do I have that cloud-native experience and cloud-native build?’ They want to be able to have those requirements of getting up to speed really quickly,” he said.

Here’s theCUBE’s complete analyst brief with Dave Vellante and Rob Strechay:

2. APEX is looking to combine the best of Dell and Microsoft.

Dell’s APEX portfolio of hardware and software offerings was first introduced as Project Alpine and was later enhanced with the addition of APEX Block Storage and APEX File Storage. Those products had a “ground-to-cloud” strategy in mind.

But growing, modern enterprise demands, including keeping pace with market changes and obtaining proper visibility into workflows, have prompted the company to evolve its APEX multicloud strategy by bringing a consistent cloud experience on-premises. Customers have been saying loud and clear that they’re happy that Dell’s partnership with Microsoft is moving to the next level, according to Caitlin Gordon, vice president of product management, APEX Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure, at Dell.

“This is a new on-premises appliance, it is jointly engineered and it’s really all about bringing the best of what Microsoft has in their edge and data center technology with what Dell has brought together with the Azure Stack HCI software,” she said. “The whole magic of this is that we have integrated the full stack from the firmware all the way up to the Microsoft software, and that’s fully automated.”

For Microsoft, the sentiments being expressed by customers are much the same. In this industry, change may be constant, but that’s even more apparent now, according to Dean Paron, partner director of product for Azure edge infrastructure at Microsoft.

“Whether it’s changes that have been brought to society [at] large because of the pandemic or the emergence of new technologies like machine learning, what we’re hearing from customers across different industries is that they’re really being asked to innovate more quickly than ever,” he said.

Microsoft is also hearing that customers are really excited about this new platform. The platform is being described as being simple, easy to use and easy to deploy, according to Paron.

“It helps them really unlock some new capabilities in the cloud and bring them out into the real world, into their edge locations, into their data centers, and lets them unlock just enough power of the cloud to enable new capabilities for them,” Paron said.

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Caitlin Gordon and Dean Paron:

3. Enterprise users are guiding the road ahead.

In addition to positive feedback around Dell’s evolving partnership with Microsoft, the company has also been listening to industry demands around its multicloud strategy. Customers are telling the company that they’re in various stages of their spectrum, according to Shannon Champion, vice president of product marketing at Dell. Some may be in the public cloud, others multiple public clouds, and some may be on-prem with a hybrid cloud while seeking a bridge between the public cloud experience to come on-prem.

“Other customers are looking to define or redefine what their multicloud strategy is. That’s where APEX comes in,” Champion said. “APEX is really designed to solve for both modern consumption and modern cloud experiences and to meet customers where they are.”

Whether they’re in the public cloud or looking for options to enrich the public cloud experience, if they need a bridge from the public cloud to on-prem, the company has options. If they’re looking for a cloud experience regardless of where their IT landscape is, with subscription or as-a-service offers, the company has that too, according to Champion.

“Our APEX strategy is very comprehensive and intended to respond to what we’re hearing from our customers,” she said.

Enterprise users have indicated a range of challenges when it comes to implementing a multicloud strategy. Security is imperative, but when there is a disparate landscape of multicloud with limited visibility, that results in not having confidence that a company has that secure posture it’s been looking for, Champion added. Unpredictable costs have also been an issue for years when it comes to multicloud. 

There’s also an issue around a lack of the right skill sets, “making sure that you are able to attract and retain the right talent to meet your business needs and also workload mobility,” Champion said. “As your business needs change, our customers are telling us they need the flexibility to put those applications and data wherever they need them. In order to do that, they need data mobility.”

Here’s theCUBE’s complete video interview with Shannon Champion:

Watch theCUBE’s full episode of the “Future of Multicloud Lands Now – Dell APEX Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure” virtual event:

(* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the “Future of Multicloud Lands Now – Dell APEX Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure” event. Neither Dell Technologies Inc., the sponsor of theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

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