Many customers I\u2019ve spoken to think of the cloud as a location\u2014specifically, the public cloud\u2014a place to go to unlock speed, agility, and increased innovation for their development and IT organization. They look to the public cloud to give them the power to instantly spin up resources when needed\u2014and shut them down when they\u2019re not.\nSince this became popular with the rise of public clouds, these customers think the public cloud is the only place they can take advantage of managed services and automation to reduce the burden of operating their own infrastructure. As I\u2019ve had these conversations, it\u2019s clear that they are associating the benefits of agility, speed, and rapid innovation with the location where they were first achieving those benefits. They looked to the public cloud to give them the flexibility to rapidly pivot their applications\u2014or even their entire businesses\u2014as the market, or business, needs changed.\nMany organizations assume that by relocating applications to the public cloud, they\u2019ll automatically gain these benefits, but that experience rarely works out. I often joke that, \u201cProof of digital transformation is not a bill from a public cloud.\u201d It\u2019s not the location of your applications that\u2019s the catalyst for change; it\u2019s how you operate. When you think of the cloud as an experience, not a location, you start to see the true value of cloud.\nWhy you need the cloud experience at the hardware and software layers\nCompanies like VMware have worked for over a decade to bring the cloud experience to companies at the software layer. This has been great for customers but has also left many with questions about how to plan for the hardware layer. Capacity planning, large upfront capital expenses, and months-long hardware delivery times all limited on-premises cloud models to the resources on hand that were still planned in yearly cycles. This is why solutions such as\u00a0Dell Technologies APEX\u00a0allow you to have that cloud experience of agility, speed, and increased innovation across your entire IT environment at both the hardware and software layers. This is the cloud experience without the caveats (employee retraining, platform lock-in, loss of security control, decreased performance, increased costs, etc.)\nWhen you stop thinking about the cloud as a location\u2014a place you go to derive the benefits of digital transformation\u2014and start thinking of the cloud as an experience to gain speed, agility, and increased innovation, you realize that the cloud can be anywhere you need it to be\u2014in a data center, in the public cloud, or at the edge.\nWhy is this so important? According to recent ESG research\u00b9, a full 88% of businesses have cloud strategies that include on-premises infrastructure. These companies are often looking to balance investments both on premises and in the public cloud, but with this comes the complexity of managing capital expenditures, capacity planning, and the need for periodic refreshes. In short, it\u2019s complicated, error prone, and time consuming\u2014and a key benefit of APEX is bringing that same speed, agility, and increased innovation of the public cloud experience anywhere.\nFor some businesses, it can be as simple as helping them build their own private cloud so they can keep their data stored locally for security or compliance reasons. For others, they might need to take advantage of the edge with low latency computing in locations with unreliable, slow, or expensive internet connections. No matter the scenario, we provide a cloud experience to you where they need it.\nEmbracing the as-a-service model as the foundation for cloud\nThe best part of all of this is that you can get started today. Instead of overbuying physical storage to ensure you never run out of it, you can invest in storage-as-a-service now with minimal upfront capital cost while you transform your approach to your on-premises footprint. Just this small embrace of the as-a-service model shifts the way you approach accounting and the amount of capacity planning you need to do. That\u2019s a great first step in your cloud journey and far more productive than just moving a VM into someone else\u2019s data center and thinking that the way you operate, or the benefits you\u2019ll gain, will change. It\u2019s also much less disruptive than going all (locked) in with a public cloud provider.\nAt the end of the day, there is no one solution that will work for every customer. IT, by its very nature, is bespoke. The flexibility of core infrastructure has been the engine of progress for over 20 years\u2014the cloud shift has only kept that going. Almost every customer I\u2019ve spoken with is looking for a practical way to increase the agility of their business while minimizing the risk and disruption of making that change. The customers doing it best are the ones that are pragmatic about where to run each of their applications. They understand that cloud is an experience, a way of operating that is best achieved in a consistent way, everywhere that they need to operate\u2014from the data center to the public cloud, and out to the edge. We don\u2019t think you should be limited in where you run your applications and we\u2019ve created APEX to help you run what you want, where you want, the way that you want. We want to give you your cloud experience\u2014and the speed, agility, and increased innovation that comes with it\u2014no matter where you need it.\nLearn more about our\u00a0APEX portfolio of services.\n\u00b9 Source: ESG Research Insights Paper, \u201cExploring Hybrid Cloud Adoption and the Complexity of Securing East-West Traffic\u201d Commissioned by VMware, Jan 2020.