Dell Apex Cloud Platform For Microsoft Azure Aims To Simplify Hybrid Deployments
‘Some workloads make more sense to be on-premise, while other workloads are better-suited to a cloud architecture. Regardless, the user-experience should remain the same and that’s what Dell’s Apex Cloud for Azure brings to the table. IT teams are able to become much more strategic, while user-impact is completely mitigated regardless of where the workload sits,’ VirtuIT Systems CEO Gary McConnell tells CRN.
Every customer’s approach to cloud is different, a complexity that forces the solution provider meet the talent and certification requirements the job demands, which can vastly increase costs, said Gary McConnell, CEO of VirtuIT Systems, a Dell Platinum Partner.
“Some workloads make more sense to be on-premise, while other workloads are better-suited to a cloud architecture. Regardless, the user-experience should remain the same and that’s what Dell’s Apex Cloud for Azure brings to the table,” he said.
Inside Dell’s latest venture with Microsoft, announced this week, the Dell Apex Cloud Platform Foundation Software integrates with Microsoft Windows Admin Center and the Azure Portal, giving solution providers a common, centralized user experience to manage deployments.
“This is just taking a known set of actions across one stack, clicking a button, and now you have the same feature and visibility on the other stack,” McConnell said. “If you’re a Microsoft Engineer that’s hung up on a piece of the Apex platform, you have access to the Dell ProSupport suite, so there’s no need to have to hire a bunch of Dell skillsets in-house to do it for you ... IT teams are able to become much more strategic, while user-impact is completely mitigated regardless of where the workload sits.”
The integration announcement this week is part of the “cloud-to-ground” strategy that the company announced at Dell Technologies World in May, Cheryl Cook, senior vice president global channel, told CRN.
“If you’re a partner who’s helping customers navigate where to deploy their workloads, it dramatically simplifies and offers a consistent operational and orchestration experience for the partner to deploy, whether it’s in public cloud, or on-premise on the same Azure stack,” she said.
Later this year, the company will release similar capabilities with Red Hat. The goal of each integration is to drive consistency across the IT environment using common hardware platforms built on PowerEdge technology, common software built on PowerFlex technology, and common automated management and orchestration for that entire stack.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity of extending partners capabilities, opening the aperture for their services opportunity, and, candidly, modernizing the way with which IT is deployed and allowing us to together meet our customers where they are,” Cook said.
Leading the project is Sudhir Srinivasan, senior vice president of multi-cloud and data solutions and CTO emeritus at Dell Technologies. He said Dell’s engineering team remains deeply engaged with Microsoft’s own team working on upcoming features.
“A huge part of the value proposition here is the level of engineering... we’ve been operating as almost a single engineering team. There’s a very tight level of collaboration between the two,” he said. “It has taken our relationship, and our partnership, to the next level.”
Srinivasan said every feature of Dell Apex Cloud for Microsoft Azure has been repeatedly validated by engineers from both companies as part of its first Premier Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI. The new category in the Azure Stack HCI catalog is reserved for Microsoft’s technology partners with the deepest integrations into Microsoft’s management tools.
“Both Dell and Microsoft have jointly tested it,” he said. “We know that it will work well and will upgrade well and you will not have issues.”
For McConnell, however, the product isn’t necessarily a game-changer. “I’d more so call it the continuous development of watching AI and automation playout into real life use-cases rather than just buzz-terms,” he told CRN.
Here is CRN’s interview with Cook and Srinivasan edited for length and clarity.