Dell introduces customer-managed APEX storage

Dell is offering day-to-day management of its APEX Data Storage Services to customers as an alternative to the vendor managing the whole shebang.

The idea is to provide a halfway house between Dell managing the storage infrastructure and its operation and customers doing all the legwork. APEX Data Storage Services are file and block storage facilities based on Dell hardware and software installed on-premises or in colos. Customers subscribe to the service, in a public cloud fashion, and can scale their consumption up or down, paying for it as an operational expense rather than a capital expense. 

“Dell is making it easier than ever to make the transition to as-a-Service with the introduction of a customer-managed option for APEX Data Storage Services,” the company said. “This gives organizations increased control of their as-a-Service experience by owning more of the day-to-day management.” 

The operational storage management includes monitoring capacity utilization, infrastructure management, and resource optimization. Dell staff look after this in a managed system, with customers responsible for the operational control of workloads and applications that use the storage services. Customers also look after their capacity usage, optimizing resources and some infrastructure management, such as configuration changes, on the operational side of things. 

The precise details of who does exactly what will need to be clearly understood and defined, otherwise there may be frustrating finger-pointing if something goes wrong. This will involve a Dell Customer Success Manager (CSM), one of whom is assigned to each customer. The CSM is meant to be an advisor and primary point of contact for both the Dell-managed and customer-managed options.

A diagram lists responsibilities with the two options:

Dell APEX storage

The items in the Monitor, Operate, and Optimize columns transfer from Dell to the customer in the customer-managed option. 

According to the company: “No matter which option is selected, the result is a cloud experience with predictable, easy to understand pricing and no egress fees or latency issues.  Plus, with infrastructure on-premises, users remain in complete control of their data from end-to-end addressing security and compliance concerns.”

An APEX Data Storage Services microsite has more information, including a pricing calculator. We tried this out and couldn’t find any Dell-managed vs customer-managed options in it:

Dell APEX calculator

We asked Dell if there is a pricing difference and a spokesperson said: “Customer-managed APEX Data Storage Services will cost ~19-33 percent less than the Dell-managed offering. The pricing calculator will be updated to include the Customer-managed option today.”

APEX Data Storage Services is available globally in 16 countries with both Dell-managed and customer-managed options.