Dell Unveils its APEX Portfolio at Dell Technologies World

The Six Five Team explores Dell’s APEX Portfolio, which was unveiled at Dell Technologies World.

Check out the clip below:

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Daniel Newman: Let’s start off talking about Dell Technology’s world. I’m going to dive in specifically and talk about Project APEX. Now just to start off, another event that used to have a massive sprawl, multiple days, tons of speakers, generally was in Austin for a long time and then moved to Las Vegas, and now it has moved to our home office, or in your case, the offices that you don’t assile in there in downtown Austin, but good event. But this year, the show and all the upfront work that we as analysts did alongside Dell had a lot to do with the company’s migration to consumption-based services. This week, the company rolled out its APEX portfolio. This is a series of as a Service offerings. It started with storage, compute, moving towards things like PC, data processing, SAP, and like we’ve heard from a few other companies, namely HPE. But even if you look at what AWS and Azure are doing, moving towards everything in a consumption based format.

So coming straight out the gate, APEX is really focusing on two things, the two biggest things I’ll say is the data storage, and the cloud services. A couple of other things definitely were interesting, the custom solutions that Dell continues to do, along with the APEX console, which is going to be the portal that is going to be a very important epicenter of the Dell APEX offering. The reason I really point that out is because what we got going on is we’ve got these two converging forces, Pat. It’s basically we’ve got the big public cloud players, migrating more and more and more, you see my hand moving if you’re watching this live, but if you’re listening you can’t see that. Moving more and more towards prem. Then you’ve got all the prem providers, you’ve got the Cisco with their new Cisco Plus, you’ve got HPE, you’ve got now Dell, all kind of saying, “Hey, we understand there are still a lot of workloads that need to go on-prem. We’re going to build a public cloud consumption like offering, we’re going to move it more and more and more and more towards public.

So my take was Dell is off to a good start, it’s a company that you have to take very seriously. It’s got a world-class sales force, it will be able to use that Salesforce and that gigantic customer database to be able to sell these solutions early on. I like the fact that they’re starting small, with a few services, because even if you look at AWS, AWS started off with one thing, storage. And then it went to compute, and that was how it effectively grew its business. Same thing is going to happen here with APEX. I’m going to leave a little oxygen in the room for you Pat.

That’s kind of a running joke on this show for all of our first-time listeners. I just want to say this, Dell is looking at the market in two ways. Dell wants to be seen in the market as a force to be reckoned with in competing with the big public cloud players. I think in time I never would write off Michael Dell and say, “He will not be able to accomplish this.” I will also say they’re very formidable prem-based competitors that are doing this, and have been doing this in some cases with Nouveau, with True Scale, HP with Grid Hype, for years now. They understand a lot of the bumps and bruises, the complexities, what customers want, and Dell needs to get over that hump first.

If Dell can get over that hump, prove its business model, build a control plan that people like, scale it up. Certainly the company knows how to do services, certainly the company has a big backlog of subscription from its financial services business. It’s going to be a road to hoe, I want to hear about it in the earnings. I want to start off hearing about customer wins, and I want to start to see the financial growth, and then eventually I want to see if the company can compete and convince the market that the hybrid environment starts with your IT prem provider, and not your public cloud provider. But in the end path, I think it’s going to end up being a mix of both.

Patrick Moorhead: As a Service for everything is what customers want. Whether you’re a large company, mid-sized or a VSB, a Very Small Business like us. That’s where the market is headed, this is where Dell is taking it. A couple of things to keep in mind on this, things that really came out here. First of all, Dell’s scale. You look at their market share as it relates to servers, storage, networking, HCI, PC’s. It’s gigantic. So the scale at which Dell Tech operates is very different from the scale that some of the other companies are operating at. So they have scale, and they have breadth of product line.

A couple of things that I was really impressed with. So first off, the language that they used was understandable. They used the language of the cloud, of the public cloud, which quite frankly is the language that I don’t want to call it the winning language, but it’s become a language that customers can understand pretty well. What a really interesting thing that I was thinking through here when I stood back. APEX is getting so close to the public cloud, when you look at the deal and what they’re doing with Equinix. So if you’re a Dell Tech customer, and you don’t want to have on-prem infrastructure, you can put it inside of Apex. Guess what? You’re not going to get two bills, you’re going to get one bill, and it’s going to be from Dell Tech. Dell wasn’t the first to use Equinix, but Dell’s the first one to have one throat to choke while using Equinix, and that’s what customers want. When you sign up for AWS, or Azure, or GCP, or IBM or Oracle cloud you get one bill, not two bills, and people pointing their fingers at each other.

It’s be interesting, the other part is the 14-day guarantee, and I think that is mind blowing for something that’s going to be on-prem and new. Now hardware or infrastructure involved, you can essentially tap into that in less than five minutes, at an infrastructure. But the interesting thing I was thinking about, was what if Dell invested CapEx installing hardware and capabilities ahead of when a customer actually asks for it. And you’ve got a single pane of glass, isn’t that kind of like the public cloud now? It absolutely is, but don’t tell anybody Daniel. I don’t think any of these on-prem companies who are putting these as a Service opportunities, want to get there until it just shows up. But I just find that incredibly fascinating, that literally if they pre-bought and put CapEx, and put Infra into Equinix ahead of the curve, then put a credit card and a sign-up, you have the public cloud baby.

Daniel Newman: You really do, it’ll come down to ownership. Who owns the actual infrastructure. If Dell owns it, it basically is a public cloud. If it becomes something that the user ends up owning the infra, like I said you are right. I do think that would be a hard road to go down, it’ll be very competitive. Like I said, I’ve got a lot of confidence in Dell. Everything Michael does is very well thought out. We’ve seen it, a lot of times people might not understand it, but trust me he’s brilliant.

With that Pat, we’ve got to keep moving on. I know that was the big news of the week. By the way, there’s a lot more at Dell Tech World than that, but unfortunately this show is six topics, five minutes each, or eight minutes each sometimes.

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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