LAS VEGAS — Dell Technologies is committed to flexibility, a message company executives have repeatedly delivered to customers at Dell Technologies World 2022 center stage. The annual user conference also highlighted that messaging away from center stage, in smaller sessions dedicated to existing products, including a session on its Apex storage-as-a-service wallet.

The Apex offering includes Apex Flex on Demand, which allows customers to scale resources up or down as needed, including compute, storage, and HCI.

“Apex Flex on Demand builds on the entire Apex initiative,” said Mark Mostaffa, senior consultant for Dell’s Apex Client Solutions, during the conference session. “It’s about using the right resources in an as-a-service way to deliver benefits beyond ROI.”

Find savings and adapt faster

The elastic capability of Apex Flex on Demand brings benefits to customers beyond profitability, such as reduced risk.

Standardized infrastructure is ideal for standard workloads, but with a multi-cloud infrastructure, operating environments can have different storage requirements and different capacities at different times.

Apex Flex on Demand offers customers two types of capacity: committed capacity, which is always in use; and buffer capacity, which may or may not be used. If there is a high demand for capacity for a few days, storage administrators can draw on buffer capacity before rolling back to committed capacity. Dell expects to eventually see 0% committed demand and 100% buffer capacity, Mostaffa said. Buffer capacity is there, but users don’t pay for it.

“[Customers] are really paying for the usage that they have,” he said. we used to charge.

The majority of session participants expressed interest in capacity scaling agility, but also expressed concerns about buying too much committed capacity and changing performance metrics once. once they are locked into a contract.

Mostaffa, who believes services like Apex Flex on Demand are the storage consumption model of the future, said such concerns can be avoided with better information up front. He also said customers can sign up for shorter commitment periods to accommodate changes as they arise.

Customer Concerns

Buying on demand may seem attractive, but session participants seemed reluctant to abandon their current storage model.

The idea of ​​Dell storage hardware being built in the cloud instead of having it physically in the data center is appealing even though it’s different from how storage has been deployed throughout his career, said Michael Sclafani, Multi-Cloud Linux Engineer at Corning Inc. Elastic capability takes users away from traditional architecture and may lend itself to easier upgrades, but problems can arise.

“The promise of more space on less space can be dangerous,” Sclafani said. “IT departments can quickly oversubscribe storage, throw everything on it, and then storage runs out.”

Replacing on-premises storage with an on-demand model mistakenly gives the impression that storage is unlimited, but there is an upper limit to buffer capacity, and scheduling is a critical part of elastic capacity.

Without this, businesses may experience cost overruns or find themselves adding on-premises arrays to compensate for the lack of storage.

Ken Boyer, director of global storage at IQVIA, said elastic capacity may not be for everyone and companies should consider future growth and costs before investing in services such as Flex on Demand.

“If we sign up for, say, a petabyte, and by year three we have 10 petabytes, that’s great for my business, but not so great for my storage contracts,” Boyer said.

He added that IQVIAa life science IT company, now has all of its storage on-premises. So the business would have to move some amount of data offsite for elastic capacity to work from a cost perspective.

“We may be able to do that, but it’s something we’ll have to look at in depth first,” he said.

Besides the costs, there were concerns about how Apex Flex on Demand would be packaged, sold, and what kind of customers would invest in the service.

“If you listen to suppliers, everything is the best, but we like to try it and to do that it has to be available to us,” said Hani Chabon, executive director at Ctelecoms in Saudi Arabia. Dell said Apex Flex on Demand is available in 34 countries, including Saudi Arabia.

Chabon went on to ask who Dell considers the target customer for Apex Flex on Demand. “Ctelecoms serves the middle market where flexibility and agility are essential,” he said.

Mostaffa said Flex on Demand is for customers with a transaction as small as $100,000 and above.

New feature

Mostaffa said Dell recently added a feature to the service’s monitoring to give customers the ability to dig deeper into their data usage in the current month. Customers can view the amount of storage they are using and other details such as the node tier at which data consumption is occurring. This will be expanded.

“[It] will be a multi-year journey towards which we will provide more information to customers [to] look at these assets that have been deployed in a flexible model – that they can have more insight into how they need to monitor and manage it,” he said.