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Dell Tabs Microsoft for Management Software

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Nov 12, 2003


Continuing its evolution to become a more rounded computer systems provider for the enterprise, Dell Tuesday unveiled its own bag of server management tools. Continuing its evolution to become a more rounded computer systems provider for the enterprise, Dell Tuesday unveiled a bag of server management tools.

Leveraging new Microsoft software, Dell is retrenching for a showdown with rivals IBM and Hewlett-Packard, which Tuesday drew the curtain on new management software and services as part of its "Adaptive Enterprise" strategy.

The Round Rock, Texas company's new OpenManage server management tools are designed to help customers reduce the number of steps and hands-on, manual labor that go into managing servers in a data center.

To help penetrate deeper into this crowded market where IBM and HP are dominant, Dell is tabbing long-time partner Microsoft for help, agreeing to integrate the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant's systems management products into its PowerEdge servers, said Neil Hand, director of worldwide marketing in Dell's Product Group.

Hand stressed on a conference call that Dell is teaming with Microsoft to provide an alternative to the proprietary platforms he said are available today.

Hand said Dell wants to change the paradigm that exists whereby customers use multiple software tools to manage their hardware, operating systems and applications, arguing that his company's OpenManage products when combined with Microsoft's newly available Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003 and pending Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 2004 will provide a salve to the duplication of management processes for server hardware and software.

"We plan to further integrate our tools into Microsoft's management suite of operations in order to reduce the processes customers need to do their project," Hand said. "Currently, customers have to manage hardware separate from their operating system and the tools they are deploying. We aim to integrate the hardware management tools into the software management suite so the customer can use the single process to manage hardware elements, software elements, and the OS in a single console view of their entire environment."

David Hamilton, director of enterprise management software at Microsoft, joined the call live from Copenhagen, Denmark, where his company unveiled the finished SMS 2003.

"This is about integration between SMS 2003 and Dell upgrades," Hamilton said via conference call. "We think patching and upgrading systems is one of the most important things customers can do. We've invested heavily in SMS 2003 to create a seamless, easy-to-use patching system."

Hand said Dell's OpenManage solution will work with Microsoft's SMS 2003 software to update BIOS and firmware to send alerts or patches for fan or drive failures. Dell's OpenManage software includes Dell Update Packages with SMS to help automate the management of server hardware, applications and operating systems patches with a single tool.

It also features Dell Management Pack for MOM, which provides the ability to monitor the status of and forward alerts from PowerEdge servers and the Dell Deployment Toolkit, which helps customers deploy servers using Microsoft Automated Deployment Services (ADS).

The Dell OpenManage Management Pack for MOM and Update Packages are available worldwide immediately. The Dell OpenManage Deployment Toolkit will be available by the end of the year.

Redmonk Senior Analyst James Governor said the news shouldn't come as a surprise for a public used to seeing Dell and Microsoft join forces. He noted that Dell does ship an "awful lot of Microsoft servers" and that the timing seems to be a bit of a defense against the broad rollout of OpenView software management products as part of HP's "Nimbus" Adaptive Enterprise strategy, also announced Tuesday.

"HP is light years ahead of Dell with regards to management software so this is something they probably realized they had to do," Governor told internetnews.com, noting the revenues for OpenView are creeping up on the $2 billion mark.

Governor also said the alliance will be a good chance to showcase Microsoft's vastly improved SMS 2003 and hint a what the public can expect from MOM 2004 when it is launched next year.

This article was originally published on internetnews.com.

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