Using IT-as-a-Service instead of building and managing your organization’s own IT infrastructure is like moving from being a plumber to being an interior designer. Instead of spending energy making sure the pipes don’t leak and the faucets don’t drip, you can focus on creating an overall space that meets the higher needs of its occupants—its livability, function, esthetic.
As customer zero for Dell Technologies APEX—Dell’s recently launched portfolio of subscription as-a-Service offerings, Dell IT is exploring how APEX Cloud Services can elevate our role in delivering IT. You could say the aim is to get us out of the infrastructure basement and into the airier space of higher value services.
To start with, we are working toward using APEX Cloud Services to provide better infrastructure control at third-party manufacturing facilities, simplify management of remote data center locations and gain more flexible infrastructure capacity where and when we need it across IT.
I expect we will pursue an array of emerging use cases as we strive to integrate APEX into our existing IT ecosystem.
Being the first APEX Cloud Services customer
In April of 2021, Dell Digital, Dell’s IT organization, was the first recipient of APEX Cloud Services, previously called Dell Technologies Cloud Platform. Dell Digital and Infrastructure Solutions Group (ISG) teams successfully delivered and installed the first subscription-based model in Dell’s Round Rock data center on April 14—eight days after it was shipped—despite facing tornadoes and Covid-19 restrictions.
After testing the system, which features VMware Cloud Foundation on VxRail, Dell Digital is deploying it for a use case where we don’t have local on-site support. This first deployment will be to enhance a disaster recovery/business continuity use case we needed to solve quickly and efficiently. We were able to get it up and running fast and take advantage of flexible capacity going forward.
That is a first step towards utilizing the tremendous potential APEX Cloud Services has to help us with our core capacity. Over the next year, we will be working to integrate its offerings into our current IT ecosystem to gain simplicity, agility and control.
Control at the edge
Among the use cases we are exploring is using APEX Cloud Services at the edge of our network or in some countries where we do not have a lot of infrastructure team members. With APEX Cloud Services we can potentially maintain and operate infrastructure in a consistent way remotely, including turning over management to the APEX Cloud Services team. Besides flexibility and simplicity in these locations, APEX can also be a part of maintaining security and governance controls.
For example, we have some instances where we specify infrastructure standards to third-party vendors and they operate that infrastructure. This would give us the ability to specify APEX, where the APEX Cloud Services team would maintain the infrastructure to a global standard not only on the infrastructure used, but the methodology for operating and maintaining it going forward.
In an increasingly edge-focused IT world, the gain would be to bring the control boundary of this infrastructure back inside the Dell tent, which would be a big win for us. It would also help us gain agility in these facilities, with the ability to get resources online faster and refresh them faster.
We are also considering the benefits of using APEX Cloud in edge deployment scenarios like manufacturing facilities and some office locations—generally, for handling infrastructure where we want to get enhanced agility and flexibility in places that have traditionally been much more static.
More broadly within our current private cloud, we are looking at how to take advantage of the automation and flexible capabilities that APEX Cloud offers. We are in the process of performing that integration work, which we expect will come together over the next year or so. This would make APEX a natural extension of our own private cloud infrastructure capacity.
Getting to higher value IT
The value to Dell Digital and IT organizations overall of maximizing the potential of APEX Cloud Services is clear. Buying infrastructure components, plugging them in, building the environment yourself and getting it online takes a lot of energy out of the organization just to make sure timelines are met. If you have another way of getting that done, you’re saving all that energy. You can instead focus it on providing value to your customers on top of this infrastructure.
That might include automation of higher-level activities like patching, upgrades, database migrations, resiliency enhancements, etc.—or any number of investments that impact processes and advancements closer to our business users’ work.
Keep an eye out for more stories on how we’re integrating APEX inside Dell. In the meantime, here’s where you can learn more about APEX.