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Dell Taps Altiris For Management Software

Dell is broadening its server management software with the help of Altiris .

As part of an agreement it announced Tuesday, Dell said its OpenManage 4 systems-management software will now work with the Altiris Management Suite for provisioning, patch management and monitoring of Dell PowerEdge servers running either Windows and/or Linux.

Customers using Altiris for application and operating system management can now also use the patch tool for automated delivery of BIOS, ROM and firmware updates, the company said.

The partnership is an extension of a program Dell developed with Microsoft last year to help customers reduce the number of steps and hands-on, manual labor that go into managing servers in a data center.

Ed Reynolds, a senior manager of OpenManage at Dell, told internetnews.com the company already has provisions to wrap a software development kit around Dell's hardware add-on. The company is more inclined to lean on software management tools that customers already use such as Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 and Altiris Management Suite.

"One of the advantages that Altiris is that they already have some of our bare metal tools to patch Linux environments," Reynolds said. "We are trying to make systems management easier by decreasing the tools that customers need and being able to plug into the tools that they already have instead of selling them a stack of proprietary system management tools."

Reynolds said Dell's ultimate goal is to write and implement standards through the standards bodies so that Dell hardware and management software can just plug-in and work in a heterogeneous world.

The OpenManage-Altiris package is being offered by Altiris either as a simple patch solution that costs about $40 per node or a complete package with full support for more than $100 per node.

The full package includes a detailed inventory of Dell servers and needed system software; a view of what system software version resides on any given server; automated downloads of BIOS, firmware and drivers from Dell's Web site; and scheduled delivery and distribution of hardware updates.

While Altiris is well known for supporting heterogeneous software including Windows, Linux and Unix, the company is also supportive of x86 architectures from Intel and AMD.

Asked if Altiris would be instrumental in helping customers migrate to a potential Dell server based on AMD processors, Reynolds declined to comment.