Standard Bearer

By eweek  |  Posted 2003-12-16 Print this article Print

So Dell made a conscious decision to become more active in the development of these standards? Absolutely. We sat back in the early part of this year and looked at the value that we were providing and the value that the industry was providing in many of its pretty redundant developments in management tools and the efforts around standards and realized that our development activities in both how we deliver things as well as how we influence things could be developed out there. Part of that influence is because of our voice of the customer share-a-voice activity … us putting real development people around driving the standard committees and those kinds of areas. I think youll see over the coming months—youve started to see some of it and you saw some of the things we did with Microsoft and SMS and our other management tool kits that we rolled out about four weeks ago now—youll see more of that coming to fruition because we in the industry havent delivered against customer value as well as we should have done.
You talk about cooperation among the industry giants, but some of these also are competitors who have said that Dells insistence on standards is a way of masking deficiencies in its software offerings and its hardware offerings. How do you respond to that criticism?
We should be clear: It is not our intention as a company to go off and develop a complete stack of software management tools that will replace what customers are using today, like SMS or CA or HPs or IBMs ISV-like management tools. What we really are talking about is replacing the proprietary and reinvented solutions that we all are developing today. Our OpenManage tool kit is as capable as IBMs Director—there are differences—of managing the hardware deployment management. … We think that is one of the management overheads that customers wish to move away from, so were actually trying to innovate the way that customers get to manage their environment than trying to replace something that we already have. We will continue to develop our OpenMange tool kit for those customers that are already using our integrated hardware management suite for several years to come. It doesnt take away from what were developing there, to start to move customers to a better paradigm in the future where they get to make a decision on the management stack that they will use to manage their business. And that management stack seamlessly manages Dell hardware and, we trust, in the longer term it manages our competitors hardware well. How long in the future is this? We have a line of sight that says that within the next year we can already do … real deployment with real customers of Dell hardware solutions, but I honestly cant tell you how long I think that might take for that same deployment on our competitors [hardware]. We see products that well be introducing next year that will be fully compliant with the best-of-breed standard interfaces like IPMI 2.0 next year. One thing weve been seeing as weve taken this approach out there into the marketplace is very clearly we have relationships with all the enterprise management tool vendors and all of them are very strongly interested in integrating more of this into their management suite, because in the end they see that as expanding the horizon of what their management suite is actually capable of and improving their customer value by extending beyond the 80 percent that they can do today in managing the OS, applications and basic infrastructure and take on that last 20 percent. I think well see a continued development of that through next year so by the time you get into 05, the customer will be able to make that choice. Theyll actually be able to take an ISV management stack and manage a heterogeneous hardware environment.


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