Dell Offers VMware Plug-In for PowerEdge Servers

Dell's new VMware plug-in enables IT administrators to manage their PowerEdge servers directly through VMware's vCenter console.

Dell is building up its system management capabilities to make it easier for customers to monitor and manage their PowerEdge servers in virtualized data centers.

Dell officials on Jan. 19 announced several enhancements to the company's systems management portfolio, including the Dell Management Plug-in for VMware vCenter, which enables IT administrators to do a wide variety of server tasks-from provisioning bare metal servers to deploying hypervisors to updating firmware and BIOS-directly from VMware's vCenter management console.

With data centers becoming increasingly complex, the ability to simplify and streamline such important jobs as managing alerts is an important way for saving enterprise IT staffs time and money, according to Doug Iler, senior manager of virtualization systems management for Dell.

For example, such integration of Dell and VMware management systems can reduce the time to provision systems from as much as 30 hours down to about 5 minutes, Iler said in an interview with eWEEK. And it's done via tools like Dell's OpenManage and VMware's vCenter, which are familiar to the IT staff.

"This is not a big learning curve," Iler said.

The integration of Dell PowerEdge server management capabilities directly into the vCenter console is a key differentiator over competing offerings from the likes of Hewlett-Packard, which links the management back to its own console, he said.

In addition, Dell is enhancing its embedded systems management capabilities, a move that will make it easier for IT administrators to do such tasks as system deployment and updates, workload migrations, and hardware monitoring and remediation. The moves were designed to streamline the processes and make them easier and faster to perform. Customers also get improved remote management through Dell's latest iDRAC (integrated Remote Access Controller).

Iler said the VMware plug-in is the latest move by Dell in its larger systems management push that will touch on multiple aspects of the company's portfolio that could include a VMware plug-in for its EqualLogic storage products.

Dell's management with VMware mirrors its efforts last summer, when the company integrated its hardware management capabilities into Microsoft's System Center. The company OEM'd the software giant's Systems Center Essentials 2010 software and offered it to PowerEdge customers.

With the VMware plug-in, the cost is contingent on the number of 11th-generation PowerEdge servers that are being managed via VMware's vCenter, Iler said. Pricing starts at $299 for three servers, and goes to $799 for 10 servers, $1,799 for 50 and $2,999 for 1,000 systems.