This week, Dell Technologies held their annual Dell Technologies World conference online. There were a number of announcements as part of the event, but overall one theme struck me. Dell Technologies is making moves that align with the direction of enterprise customers. This is a huge shift for a company that historically has focused on infrastructure with limited movement into other areas of enterprise consumption. Of the announcements, there were a few that should resonate squarely with enterprises in the process of transformation.
There were a number of announcements from the conference including strategy shifts, operating changes and product announcements. Overall, a number of those announcements stood out.
Dell Technologies has needed to bring together a cohesive strategy for their products and services. Project APEX is intended to do just that. According to Dell Technologies, APEX is intended to be their ‘Northstar in strategy across Dell Technologies to align cloud and their as-a-service model’. More on the ‘as-a-service’ announcements in a minute.
Project APEX is new and will take time to see how this actually plays out. However, if Dell Technologies is able to fulfill the promise of Project APEX, it would provide great support for enterprises leveraging cloud and as-a-service models.
The world of on-premises and cloud-based resources is getting increasingly more complicated for enterprises to manage effectively. Consider the entire edge-to-cloud continuum and the complexity grows exponentially.
The promise of Dell Technologies Cloud Console is to do two things: 1) provide Dell Technologies owned and managed resources on-premises that customers only pay for what is needed. And 2) provide management and visibility across their on-premises to cloud resources from a single solution.
Cloud Console is the foundation for Project APEX and the combination of the two provides the much-needed integration, management and visibility across the increasingly complicated IT platform that spans from on-premises to public cloud.
Over the past 10 months, enterprises have accelerated their innovation cycles while managing the ebb and flow of IT resource requirements. The past 10 months have also seen a period where enterprises are looking to dramatically change how they consume resources. Enterprises must remain flexible and address the changing business requirements as they come.
This is where everything as-a-service comes in. Dell Technologies announced that they are moving to a model where their portfolio is available as-a-service. Dell is in good company as this is similar to the approach that Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced at their HPE Discover conference in June 2019 via their HPE GreenLake offerings.
Similar to cloud-based resources that are consumption based, Dell is looking to follow the same model with their on-premises solutions. Moving to an as-a-service model provides increased flexibility for those customers looking to manage variability in their business without the structure of capital expenditures.
Six key initiatives
The first three takeaways are key for enterprises. Dell Technologies spent time talking about their six key initiatives of cloud (hybrid), edge, security, AI/ ML, 5G and data management. With any enterprise partner, you need to ensure that they are squarely aligned with your focus areas. From a technology standpoint, these six areas align with those that enterprises are focused on.
Over time, it will be interesting to see how Dell Technologies evolves their portfolio to address these six areas.
Areas to Watch
In addition to the key takeaways, there were a couple of areas I was hoping Dell Technologies would provide more clarity on.
The relationship between Dell Technologies and VMware has served both companies well in the past. However, moving forward, there needs to be clarity between the two. There are three specific areas I was looking to hear more on: Tanzu, VMware Cloud (vs Dell Technologies Cloud), and AWS focus.
Dell Technologies has, historically, been a hardware company. To some degree, they have relied on their relationship with VMware to provide the software connective tissue. Moving forward, Dell Technologies needs to forge their own path that addresses areas outside of VMware’s wheelhouse. This ultimately requires a strong software strategy for Dell Technologies. Project APEX and Cloud Console may provide some of the components needed, but likely not all.
Enterprises will need this broad software connective tissue to be successful as the continuum from edge-to-cloud becomes more complicated. Add to this the need to manage data for both business operations and customers engagement along this continuum and one can see how this quickly gets exponentially more complicated. The answer is automation through the use of software along with machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms.
In addition to the takeaways listed above, there were a number of key product announcements within their VXrail, PowerStore and PowerScale solutions…just to name a few.
The past 10 months have been a very challenging time for vendors and the customers they support. Dell Technologies is making inroads toward addressing the core enterprise needs. Over the next 6-12 months, it will be interesting to see how Dell Technologies executes on their stated vision. There is a lot to watch out for, but also a lot of opportunity for companies like Dell Technologies.