Dell envisions a future powered by hybrid, Edge and 5G

The future of modern enterprise infrastructure is Hybrid Cloud, Edge Computing, and 5G - at least, that's the key takeaway from Dell's flagship Dell Technologies World event. According to executives at the event - including leaders from Dell, VMWare, and clients such as FedEx - 5G will bring sweeping change to the landscape, enabling firms to use the spectrum to bring cloud services out of data centres and through to the edge of the enterprise. A process which will force enterprise leaders to grapple with the reality that, in the words of Dell Technologies CTO, John Roesse, "Your organization’s competitive advantage is directly determined by how rapidly you turn data into meaningful insights that influence your organization’s outcome."

Drawing the focus away from the next evolution of enterprise infrastructure towards present business demands – materially altered by Covid-19 – and it’s clear Dell has made some shrewd changes. As was rightly pointed out throughout the event, Covid-19 has fundamentally altered the nature of enterprise infrastructure. Cloud migration projects on three year timelines were condensed to a few months in the early days of the pandemic, and now with a fresh wave of lockdowns in Europe and uncertain business environments globally, Cloud services and infrastructure modernisation are unlikely to fall out of vogue. This combined with the catalytic characteristics of 5G and Edge Computing on traditional infrastructure models, means enterprises will be looking for technology partners that can help them make sense of immediate business demands, and future-proof their estate ready for new waves of innovation. And more importantly, do so with commercial models that more readily meet insatiable enterprise demand for as-a-service models.

On point with trends forced by Covid-19 and 5G alike, Dell has also eagerly anticipated fresh waves of demand for as-a-service models to meet expectations set by the hyperscale giants. Announcing Project Apex, Dell plans bring a fresh as-a-service model to the market with a focus on simplicity, consistency, and choice. Compelling marketing collateral presented at the event highlights the firm’s commitment to bring one-click simplicity to IT teams, enabling them to bring in technology how and when they need it. Digging beyond the glossy brochure, Dell has again hit a real pain point for modern CIOs. Even before COVID-19, IT infrastructure was becoming perilously complex, with sprawling estates and diverse architectures forging uneconomical and cumbersome IT operations. 

Pushing a compelling and holistic as-a-service package to enterprise buyers scratches this itch. By helping CIOs track the economic cost of spinning up new services, manage workflows across public, private and hybrid environments using innovative management platforms, and offering the flexibility to build in new technologies as the landscape evolves, crosses out a lot on the modern IT priority list. 
New commercial models aside, Dell also announced an expansion of its cloud services capabilities, with a new flagship suite of tools and solutions packaged under a new Dell Technologies Cloud Experience. In a similar vein to the broader goals of Project Apex, the toolbox aims to bring turn-key cloud services, innovative subscription models, and flagship products such as Dell's Cloud Platform to clients.

In some respects, Dell is a little late to the party with some of these moves – the hyperscalers have been playing with new pricing models and approaches for years now. And many of the major IT services giants have been pushing hybrid into their vision for modern enterprise infrastructure. But timeliness aside, Dell could find itself uniquely positioned to tackle many of the growing challenges cropping up across the global economy. A fresh focus on the firm’s services business is encouraging, and sorely needed to keep pace with competitors and partners. Supplementing this, however, Dell’s push to be the go-to partner for infrastructure modernisation is buoyed by a trusted reputation in the commercial and consumer space, and a genuine ability to boast coverage stretching beyond the wheelhouse of many of its IT services-focused peers. Time will tell if the sure-footed moves announced this month will be enough to forge cloud supremacy – but with giants like IBM eyeing the space with renewed zeal under fresh leadership, the future is far from certain.