By Charles King, Pund-IT® May 24, 2023
A central trend in enterprise IT during the past decade has been the decentralization of computation, data storage and networking. Cloud computing platforms play an obvious part in this narrative but so do robust wireless client devices, hybrid and multi-cloud evolution and edge-of-network systems and solutions. The shift away from centralized IT assets and management has also added substantial complexity to IT tasks, including asset acquisition, deployment and maintenance, management, system integration and optimization, and infrastructure security.
At Dell Technologies World 2023 this week in Las Vegas, Dell announced numerous new and updated infrastructure solutions and services. All are designed to address the increasingly complex challenges and issues that organizations are facing as they attempt to maximize the value of their IT investments.
IT complexity challenges and solutions
Decentralization of IT assets and processes is clearly responsible for increasing complexity, but other factors also play significant roles. The story of modern computing is one of continual progress. Hardware products from smart phones to enterprise systems get faster and more powerful and capacious. Software and middleware address ever larger, more complicated problems. Customers want, and vendors supply, digital replacements for what were once physical or analog tasks.
Additionally, IT solutions are also increasingly interdependent. This is easy to see in the case of servers, storage arrays and networking hardware, each of which requires the others to perform tasks both simple and business critical. However, the same can be said for client devices from smart phones to laptops to desktop PCs to point-of-sales solutions to specialty devices. All require dependable connections to cloud and traditional data centers to support core applications, apps, tools and services.
These interdependencies and complexities are only going to increase. Technology solutions and products will continue to get faster, leverage more data and storage, support new applications and processes, and be deployed and used in more and more remote locations. The question, then, becomes how customers can address these points while also lessening the burdens of technological complexity.
At Dell Technologies World 2023, Dell and its partners unveiled new solutions and services designed to help customers overcome those challenges.
Dell APEX – Simplifying private, public and hybrid cloud
It is common for vendors to highlight new solutions and services at their annual customer and partner conferences, but it is uncommon to see announcements of the substantial number and quality of those Dell made at Dell Technologies World 2023.
Dell APEX, the company’s as-a-Service (aaS) subscription/pay-as-you-go IT infrastructure portfolio, blends on-premises servers, storage and other hardware with cloud-based assets and services. Since its launch in 2020, Dell APEX has expanded to incorporate numerous company hardware and software solutions, including turnkey systems and management consoles. Dell announced new offerings, including,
- Dell APEX Cloud Platforms, a portfolio of fully integrated, turnkey systems integrating Dell infrastructure, software and cloud operating stacks that provide multi-cloud operation models for on-premises and edge environments. The new solutions are also designed to maximize customers’ choices for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments, offering deep integration with Microsoft Azure, Red Hat OpenShift and VMware vSphere which were developed in close partnership with those companies.
- Building on its Project Alpine effort, the company introduced Dell APEX Storage for Public Cloud, extending its enterprise file and block storage software capabilities to AWS and Microsoft Azure.
- Dell APEX Navigator for Multicloud Storage and Dell APEX Navigator for Kubernetes are two new SaaS offers within the Dell APEX console that simplify multicloud data mobility, storage and container management.
- Dell APEX Compute extends the APEX subscription model to bare metal Dell servers, enabling customers to support and scale high performance compute according to their business needs.
- Dell APEX PCaaS enables businesses to fulfill their endpoint needs by customizing orders across Dell’s entire client portfolio—including notebooks, desktops, 2-in-1s, all-in-ones, workstations, software and services—with flexible one- to five-year terms and scaling orders up or down as customers need.
- Finally, Dell and Databricks announced a new partnership to connect data located in on-premises Dell storage systems with Databricks Lakehouse Platform.
Innovating edge computing, AI and security
The company also made significant announcements concerning its edge computing portfolio, new AI- and security-related offerings, and its channel partner community.
- Dell announced Dell NativeEdge (formerly Project Frontier), a new operations software platform for edge computing environments. According to the company, Native Edge is designed to automate, simplify and secure edge infrastructure and application deployments.
- The company is also expanding its edge portfolio with new vertical offerings, like Dell Validated Design for Retail Edge, Dell Private Wireless with Airspan and Druid and updates to Dell Enterprise SONiC Distribution.
- Dell and NVIDIA are collaborating on Project Helix which is designed to help enterprise customers deploy on-premises, generative AI systems and solutions.
- Dell’s Project Fort Zero is a new initiative that aims to deliver end-to-end Zero Trust security solutions validated by the U.S. Department of Defense within the next 12 months.
- A new Dell service, PSX for Backup, simplifies backup environment implementation and maintenance, enabling more seamless data recovery.
- At its Global Partner Summit keynote Dell announced Project Harmony, an initiative designed to build a new collaborative services delivery. As a result of Project Harmony, Dell partners will be able to enhance their branded service offerings with Dell professional services solutions, including consulting and security.
Numerous enterprise customers profiled the initiatives they have undertaken with Dell and the resulting benefits they realized. Customers included,
- CVS Health – At last year’s Tech World conference, CVS CEO, Karen Lynch, lauded Dell for its help in transitioning the company to secure, productive work-from-home solutions during the Covid-19 pandemic. CVS is currently working with Dell to implement and enhance hybrid cloud capabilities across its public and private cloud infrastructures.
- Hyundai – Hyundai AutoEver, a subsidiary of Hyundai Auto Group, provides information and communications technologies (ICT) to the Group. Working with Dell, Hyundai AutoEver deployed an agile, responsive and highly scalable IT infrastructure used in Hyundai’s smart factory innovation center in Singapore and a cloud-based services infrastructure supports innovative and sophisticated services, including mobility software solutions for Hyundai Motor Group and its customers.
- Lightstorm/Avatar – Dell has partnered with Lightstorm Entertainment, a film production company founded by director/producer James Cameron, since 2015, supporting projects including “Avatar” and its sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water”. Lightstorm uses Dell workstations, storage and server infrastructure solutions to meet its high-demand scalability, performance and collaboration needs. The company is also continuing its work with Dell to simplify data collection and enhance film production.
Customer testimonials In data center technology discussions, cost and performance are typically central subjects. However, operational issues, including acquisition, deployment, management, security, maintenance and disposal can have an equal or even more profound impact on the overall value of IT solutions. That is particularly true for enterprises that often purchase orders of magnitude more servers, storage and networking systems, and client endpoints than SMBs.
Why is this important? Because it goes to the heart of Dell’s announcements at Dell Technologies World 2023.
Yes, the company unveiled a raft of innovative hardware and software solutions, including the new Dell APEX Cloud Platforms, Dell APEX Compute, Dell APEX PCaaS and edge portfolio offerings for retail, private wireless and SONIC distributions. But the central value proposition of Dell APEX is the flexibility and support it provides in relieving customers of multiple operational burdens.
A similar point can be made about the Dell APEX Navigator for Multicloud Storage and Dell APEX Navigator for Kubernetes. Both reside within the Dell APEX console and are designed to ease and speed how customers manage complicated multicloud data mobility, storage and container assets and processes.
Reducing complexity is also central to the new Dell NativeEdge operations platform and PSX for Backup. In the former case, by automating, simplifying and securing edge infrastructure and application deployments, Dell is reducing or removing the complexity that can impact the value of edge deployments. In the latter, cutting much or most of the pain of back-up and recovery should help enterprises protect their critical data assets.
The new strategic initiatives, Project Fort Zero, Project Helix and Project Harmony, are efforts that illustrate how Dell is working singularly and with partners to address businesses’ current and future needs. How successful are these efforts likely to be?
Consider the partnership between Dell and Snowflake and their new integrated solution to connect data located on Dell storage systems with Snowflake’s Data Cloud. The initiative was formally announced roughly a year ago and has moved from private to public preview. The effort fortifies Dell’s commitment to increasing customers’ flexibility for operating in multi-cloud environments, enabling them to meet their data sovereignty requirements and helping them turn their data assets into insights.
Overall, the announcements from Dell Technologies World 2023 highlight why Dell Technologies continues to be a leader in global markets, and to be a trusted vendor and partner for enterprise customers, including CVS Health, Hyundai, Lightstorm Entertainment and many others.
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