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Friday, September 24, 2021

How does hardware as-a-service work? Dell explains its APEX offering

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The pandemic drove cloud and as-a-service consumption models into countless companies. The need for on-the-fly flexibility continues as uncertainty about the future hangs over many. So is it the end for on-premises hardware?

Actually, plenty of companies plan to stay on the hybrid track they had mapped out before COVID-19. Can providers take the parts of as-a-service they’ve come to love and graft them onto hardware? 

“There are new levels of unpredictability that have been accelerating this adoption of as-a-service,” said Alyson Langon (pictured, left), senior manager of product marketing at Dell Technologies Inc. “[Companies] don’t want to make big upfront investments in infrastructure when they’re having such a hard time forecasting their needs.” 

But, believe it or not, some effects of pay-per-drip pricing are not loved by all. For example, when usage stretches, so do costs, which can result in unpleasant surprises on the monthly bill, like overage charges and fees. Moreover, some applications may be better placed on-prem for various reasons.

“There’s still a segment of customers that wants some technology control, they want to build their cloud, they want to build their infrastructure,” said Devon Reed (pictured, right), senior director of product management at Dell Technologies.

Will they have to sacrifice the OpEx pricing, fast procurement and on-demand scalability of cloud and as-a-service in exchange?

Reed and Langon spoke with John Furrierhost of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during Dell Technologies World. They discussed typical as-a-service pros and cons and Dell’s new APEX infrastructure offering(* Disclosure below.)

As-a-service scaling minus overage charges

Some key as-a-service features are transferable to hardware, according to Langon. Dell’s new APEX, for example, lets companies procure and use hardware owned and managed by Dell that is also elastically scalable.

The first product in the APEX portfolio is storage. Customers commit to an initial base capacity and are able to scale above or beneath that base and pay just for what they use. A main differentiator is that APEX eliminates billing surprises.

“You’re not getting any overage penalties or fees for going into that on-demand. It’s essentially a single rate based on your commitment, and as much as you scale up and down, you’re going to stay within one single rate,” Langon said.

Customers can also raise their base commitment coterminously, Langon added.

If they’re seeing a strong growth trajectory or anticipating a burst in usage for some data-intensive workloads, we can raise that floor commitment, resulting in a lower rate, but still a single rate for both base and on-demand,” she said.

Procurement is speedy, and Dell takes care of tasks today’s companies don’t want to fuss with, according to Reed.

“The time it’s dropped to the time that they can provision their first volume is 14 days. And we manage everything for them from capacity management, to change management, to software lifecycles, patching, [non-disruptive upgrades],” he said. 

Reed added that APEX is built for hybrid, and Dell is in fact announcing a relationship with co-location provider Equinox. The two will offer a subscription service that allows customers to place APEX infrastructure off-premises in a co-location facility.

APEX might be the right mix of critical as-a-service advantages — OpEx pricing and on-demand scaling — sans overage charges for customers that aren’t ready for all-cloud, Langon explained.

“You’re able to align your expenses with actual usage versus anticipated usage. It eliminates that cycle of over- and under-provisioning, which either results in over-provisioned waste or under-provisioned risk,” she concluded.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of Dell Technologies World. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for Dell Technologies World. Neither Dell Technologies Inc., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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