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Cloud Native Ecosystem / Cloud Services / Hardware

How Dell Claims Apex Smooths out ‘Ground-to-Cloud’ Azure HCI Connections

Dell's hybrid and multicloud approaches focus heavily on data location and as-close-as-possible workload placement for swift operations.
Oct 6th, 2023 6:00am by
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Dell Technologies and Microsoft are going in together to automatically connect data centers, the cloud and remote edge nodes so their common users can get more workloads processed reliably.

The two IT giants recently announced the availability of Dell APEX Cloud Platform for Microsoft Azure, Dell’s first such product fine-tuned for the Azure Stack hyperconverged infrastructure. This new Azure HCI package includes only components that provide the fastest time to value for hybrid cloud workloads, Caitlin Gordon, VP of Product Management for Multicloud Solutions, told The New Stack.

Dell’s hybrid and multicloud approaches focus heavily on data location and as-close-as possible workload placement for swift operations, Gordon said.

Dell employs several strategies as part of this approach. They are ground-to-cloud, which brings Apex to the public cloud; cloud-to-ground, enabling the deployment of modern cloud software stacks fully integrated on Dell infrastructure; and as-a-service, which brings the subscription cloud to dedicated on-premises environments. APEX Cloud Platform falls under the “cloud-to-ground” category.

Where are common snags users are experiencing in extending cloud and/or data centers to the edge, and how specifically does Dell say Apex can fix them?

“Some of the problems our customers are encountering include management complexity; limited visibility into where data and applications live and how they’re performing; challenges predicting future budget requirements and skills gaps challenges, as managing data in hybrid cloud environments often requires learning new tools and frameworks,” Gordon said.

APEX for Azure addresses these through a turnkey, integrated package that makes Azure operations consistent across on-premises locations and the public cloud via Azure Arc, Gordon said. It also uses Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Arc-enabled app and data services to accelerate application delivery. Users can enforce consistent security and compliance policies across the Azure landscape through integration with centralized Azure management and governance services, she said.

Azure Kubernetes Service hybrid deployment option is an on-premises implementation of the popular Azure Kubernetes Service orchestrator, which automates running containerized applications at scale while allowing users to operate consistent cloud native applications anywhere. Azure Arc-enabled data services provide a Database as a Service (DBaaS) implementation.

Additional capabilities the Apex for Azure platform provides (or will soon provide), Gordon said, are:

  • Lifecycle management: Apex will deliver near-instantaneous availability of new releases and patches within four hours of a Microsoft release. Single-pane, full-stack lifecycle management ensures that the complete infrastructure stack always remains compliant.
  • Automation: The platform provides automated cluster expansion, enabling rapid addition of on-premises infrastructure to meet workload requirements.
  • Edge offerings: Coming soon, Dell will offer specialized nodes based on the Dell PowerEdge XR4000 edge-optimized server platform to help customers extend Azure to the edge while minimizing cost, footprint and complexity.
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