Dell Tabs Microsoft for Management Software

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

Leveraging new Microsoft software, Dell is retrenching for a showdown with
rivals IBM and HP 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 longtime 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 exist on the
market 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

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, 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.

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