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Dell Apex Has ‘Scale’ Over HPE GreenLake Says Michael Dell

Dell Technologies CEO and founder Michael Dell talks to CRN about why Dell Apex as-a-service strategy will best HPE GreenLake.

Dell Technologies’ Apex as-a-service strategy has a leg up over HPE GreenLake due to Dell’s product capabilities and overall scale, says Dell CEO and founder Michael Dell.

“If you look at just the capability that we’re deploying, it’s much broader and much more extensive and much more competitively adopted,” said Dell when asked by CRN about Apex’s market differentiation versus HPE GreenLake. “With our scale, you just can’t really compare.”

Dell touted his company’s market share and infrastructure product capabilities, particularly in storage, as a major advantage to what HPE is offering with GreenLake.

“Well, if you’re going to make something as-a-service, it really matters what you’re making as-a-service, right? It’s like, ‘Well, what are we providing as-a-Service?’ We are the number one storage company in the world,” said Dell. “So the other guys are not No. 1 I don’t think they’re No. 2, either. I mean, they’re far away.”

[Related: Michael Dell On VMware, Ukraine, Apex, PCs And Channel Partners]

In a statement to CRN regarding Michael Dell’s comments, HPE said it has been the clear leader in the consumption-based as-a-service infrastructure space for years.

“Our leadership in this market speaks for itself. HPE was first to market to deliver the cloud experience on-premises and at the edge, and has been publishing its Annual Revenue Runrate (ARR) and Total Contract Value (TCV) numbers for over two years now,” said Randy Cairns, Vice President of Business & Product Communications. “In our most recent quarter, HPE grew HPE GreenLake orders over 136 percent year-over-year, and our total contract value for HPE GreenLake is now at $6.5 billion.”

Dell does not yet break out its annualized recurring revenue or total contract value for Apex sales. However, Michael Dell said his company generated plenty of as-a-service sales in its recent fiscal year 2022, which ended in January.

“If you look at how [Apex] shows up in our business, we don’t we don’t break it out specifically, but all of this—and a number of other things—show up in our remaining performance obligations, which were up 20 percent year over year to $42 billion [in fiscal year 2022]. It was up $6.8 billion. Now that’s inclusive of a variety of things, but you can also compare it to other companies,” said Dell. “HPE’s [as a] comparison, they’re $6.2 billion compared to our $42 billion.”

Dell Apex Versus HPE GreenLake

The two-market leading infrastructure and PC technology titans are both providing customers and channel partners the ability to buy, procure and consume many of their products in a consumption-based, as-a-service model via Dell Apex and HPE GreenLake.

Dell Apex was officially launched last year, while HPE has been working with partners in developing GreenLake pay-per-use cloud services in the channel for five years.

HPE, for its part, added over 100 new HPE GreenLake customers in the most recent quarter at a total contract value of more than $500 million. The Spring, Texas-based company reported as-a-service bookings up 136 percent and HPE GreenLake channel sales up 115 percent in the most recent quarter. HPE has now delivered nine consecutive quarters of year over year HPE GreenLake channel sales growth. “We’re firing on all cylinders from a partner perspective,” said HPE Worldwide Channel Chief George Hope during a recent HPE partner conference call.

HPE is planning to turn the heat up even further on Dell and other competitors with a March 22 announcement that includes significant new GreenLake innovation.

“The traction we are seeing in the market for HPE GreenLake is driving us to fully accelerate the transformation of HPE into an information cloud company,” said HPE CEO Antonio Neri during HPE’s recent quarterly earnings call. “On March 22, we will unveil significant new innovations and enhancements for the HPE GreenLake platform to help customers manage the hybrid cloud more easily, protect and get more value from their data and securely connect at the edge.”

The new GreenLake capabilities include the include the ability for partners to integrate their services in GreenLake through an Application Programming Interface (API).

When told that HPE is enabling this API capability for channel partners, Michael Dell highlighted his company’s recently created channel-focused Apex team.

“We’ve stood up this new team specifically for channel partners. The interest level and engagement level is at an all time high, and I think it’s going to continue to rise,” said Dell. “We’re prioritizing outcomes and modernizing our business, making it more accessible to developers and more available in a consumption model with Apex.”

‘Apex 1.0, Apex 2.0, Apex 3.0’ Ahead

Rola Dagher, Dell Technologies global channel chief, told CRN this week that Dell’s team is, “focusing on the API’s, on the console, on everything that we’re building with our partners” around Apex.

“Part of the operation team is focusing on the API’s, on the console, on everything that we’re building with our partners. We’re focusing on the top ten countries, the top ten partners in every country, because it’s not just about the speed of how quick you get Apex out there. It’s about the quality that our partners and customers are looking for,” said Dagher.

“So we’re working with our partners and certain partners are working with us on integrating their existing as-a-service platform with ours and layering on top of it. Because that is the differentiator in the value that we offer with the white glove service,” said Dell’s global channel leader.

HPE said it is committed to working with all of its partner to integrate through APIs into the GreenLake platform. “I would like to see 100,000-plus partners on that platform doing business in a way they haven’t imagined before,” said HPE CEO Neri.

Scott Winslow, president of Winslow Technology Group, a Waltham, Mass.-based Dell Technologies partner, agreed with Michael Dell that his company has a product portfolio advantage over HPE which bodes well for Dell as it makes its entrance into the as-a-service market.

“Dell certainly has a market share advantage across—whether its small, medium-sized business, enterprise, global 500 types of businesses—really for that whole spectrum, you’d have to say that Dell is unquestionably a market share leader,” said Winslow, who’s Dell-centric sales were up 20 percent year over year in 2021. “They’ve got more solutions to offer. They have a longer legacy in terms of enterprise infrastructure solutions. So whether it’s servers, storage, hyperconverged solutions, backup solutions, you’d have to say that Dell has the most depth and breadth portfolio.”

Winslow said HPE has some “good solutions” and are a “tough competitor” for Dell, but on a volume basis, Dell has a “significant lead” over HPE in terms of overall market share in the data center.

Dell’s Dagher said customers and partners should expect “more” Apex offers and capabilities to be launched this year “as we continue to introduce Apex 1.0, Apex 2.0, Apex 3.0” new enhancements.

Winslow is bullish about Dell and the future of Apex.

“They’re obviously pouring a lot of money into it. Dell is committed to Apex,” said Winslow. “We’ve been getting trained and we’ve got a couple of early stage opportunities that we’re working on. … We’re excited for our future with Dell and Dell Apex.”

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