15,000 people from Dell, their partners and customers all gathered in Las Vegas on Monday 22 to Thursday 25 May for the largest ever Dell Technologies World event. Hot topics included APEX, AI and Cyber Security, and the main announcements were centred around a ‘Multi-Cloud by Design’. It was a fantastic content line up; the cherry on top being that Softcat’s already well positioned to support on all the major topics.
Before we get into them, his keynote to Channel Partners, Dell’s Co Chief Operating Officer, Chuck Whitten, summarised the key messaging Dell wanted attendees to come away with:
- Dell is perfectly positioned for this moment in time.
- Dell is delivering breakthrough innovation.
- Dell’s entire strategy is premised on partnership.
Dell announced APEX PC-as-a-service, it’s consumption-based client offering alongside several APEX Cloud Platform announcements, presented in collaboration with Microsoft, Red Hat, and VMware. It introduced an APEX Cloud Platform to enhance the options available to public cloud customers using Microsoft Azure and VMware. These platforms offer an expanded selection for stack software deployment, with a focus on centralised data management and governance, enabled by Azure Arc integrations. Additionally, Dell unveiled the APEX Cloud Platform for Red Hat OpenShift, designed to enable multi-cloud container orchestration for an improved experience across multiple cloud environments.
Dell also announced two new solutions for AWS: APEX Block Storage and APEX File Storage. This will provide a procurement route for customers to consume Dell’s traditional block and file storage solutions via their AWS environments. Our Cloud Alliance team and Dell Alliance team are in the process of enrolling Dell to Softcat’s Cloud Framework meaning we will be one of the first UK Channel Partners in a position to transact via this model.
APEX Navigator for multi-cloud storage was also announced as the deployment and management dashboard designed to enable simplified deployment, monitoring and management of multiple cloud platforms in one place. This was described by Chuck Whitten, as the “connecting tissue” enabling organisations to manage their environments from ‘’ground to cloud and cloud to ground’’.
Jeff Clarke, Dell’s other Co Chief Operating Officer, spoke of AI being the next great IT battle ground, whilst Jensen Huang, NVIDIA’s CEO, described an AI revolution that will have the same impact as the evolution of search engines. They discussed how we are now in a position where AI solutions are for the first time passing the Turing Test (this is a test of a machine’s ability to show intelligent behaviour equivalent to that of a human being) and predicted that soon every company would be putting AI to use to help them be more efficient, productive, and scalable. Together Dell and NVIDIA announced Project Helix, a joint initiative aiming to capitalise on the opportunity that the surge in AI presents.
Project Helix offers a series of full-stack solutions and pre-built AI tools, built on Dell and NVIDIA infrastructures. These solutions are built to give customers a simplified approach to implementing generative AI on premise. Their joint message is that by leveraging these solutions, customers can swiftly deploy tailored AI applications designed to enable customers to unlock the potential of their data, generate intelligent insights and achieve greater value from their datasets. This gives customers the ability to provide better customer service, increase automation, generate improved market intelligence, and make informed decisions faster.
Chuck Whitten announced Project Harmony at the Global Partner Keynote. This is a new initiative that will allow Channel Partners to white label Dell professional services. This is a move away from the traditional resale model that Dell have used in the past and will allow partners to embed the full spectrum of Dell’s capabilities into their services portfolio.
Dell’s next significant announcement was NativeEdge, an ‘’out of the box’’ edge operations platform. Benefits include a zero-touch onboarding process, zero trust security features and crucially, the ability to centralise management of applications and devices across unlimited edge locations. It will enable customers to automate edge operations and provide multi-cloud connectivity at scale. This eliminates the need to manage edge locations using centralised computing that requires sending data over high-speed networks and reliable connectivity to a central location. This often results in latency issues and downtime.
NativeEdge has been designed to be easily deployable, without the need for skilled resource on site. This will allow customers to deploy the devices to their edge points in an automated manner. The units are drop shipped from Dell to an end user. They are then digitally assigned to a specific customer, and Dell has commercialised a process of onboarding at scale. The devices and applications can be remotely managed, monitored and secured. This solution will be particularly relevant to verticals including retail, healthcare and logistics.
Dell is aiming to make NativeEdge available from August via an APEX procurement model and we will monitor further announcements closely.
Project Fort Zero
Dell also announced Project Fort Zero, which aims to create an integrated solution, designed to make zero trust more accessible for mid-range and smaller customers. It was highlighted that customers don’t want to have to purchase additional security products and would prefer to have the capabilities integrated into the solutions or hardware they are already investing in.
Dell’s Fort Zero will lean on an ecosystem of more than 30 partners with the aim of providing an advanced zero trust solution within the next 12 months. The solution will be validated by the U.S. Department of Defence and is part of a Dell Security portfolio expansion. Like Project Alpine last year, this is an announcement for the future and one that we will continue to monitor.
The event was a huge success. The level of executive engagement between our organisations is excellent and it was a pleasure to be a part of those conversations. It further highlighted the desire from both Softcat and Dell to do more together and it’s left me energised and even more positive about the future of the partnership, and the support we can provide our customers.
If you would like to discuss anything mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to contact your Softcat Account Manager for more information on how Softcat can support you.