Dell to Simplify Approach to Systems Management

The PC maker is expanding its relationship with Altiris and offering a more streamlined approach for IT administrators to manage infrastructure and hardware.

Dell announced on Nov. 28 a number of initiatives aimed at streamlining the process of managing and administering an enterprises IT infrastructure.

One part of this announcement involves the Round Rock, Texas, company extending its relationship with Altiris, which makes service-oriented management software.

The two companies will now work on the next generation of Dells OpenManage systems management application.

The new systems management features, which will include a software and hardware manager on a single console and new ways to upgrade infrastructure, were rolled out at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas.

Dell plans to begin offering the newer version of OpenManage systems in the second half of 2007.

Through the updated OpenManage system, Dell wants to ease infrastructure management by shrinking the number of applications IT mangers need to deploy, monitor and update their hardware and software.

Dell announced that it is simplifying its offering of tools within its OpenManage offering as well as a new partner program for software vendors that integrate their applications with the companys hardware.

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This will combine multi-point products into a single, more comprehensive offering for IT managers.

For example, Dell is offering a new client manager, which will include hardware inventory, monitoring and BIOS (Basic Input/Output System) configuration.

A "Manager Plus" series will offer delivery, PC migration, imaging and software inventory.

Dell is also offering a system that allows upgrades while eliminating proprietary problems for customers.

In addition, Dell is rolling out a new partner program that will offer its customers not only the Altiris SOA (service-oriented architecture), but also Microsofts System Manager Server 2003 R2, Oracle Grid Manager, LANDesk Server Manager or Novells Zenworks.

Subo Guha, Dells director of enterprise software marketing, said that the companys engineers would then work to validate the functionality of these different integrated systems.

"Through this certified partner program, our engineers will test and validate the integration," Guha said, adding that this program will help Dells customers in the enterprise space chose and distinguish between different system managers.

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For part of 2006, Dell has been working to remake its image both with its traditional commercial customers, with programs like Dell 2.0, and improve its standing in the enterprise and midmarket space.

In addition to trying to improve its customer support, Dell has moved away from its traditional model and began offering new features, such as servers and desktops and notebooks that offer Advanced Micro Dynamics processors.

While the affects of this initiative have only started, Dell did get a boost on Nov. 21, when it announced its third-quarter financial results, which beat Wall Street estimates.

In addition to its other announcements, Dell is unveiling what it calls its "Unified Manageability Architecture," which offers a simplified, modular systems management tool.

Dell also started to integrate this new architecture into its Remote Access Controller and Baseboard Management Controller for its line of PowerEdge servers.

"We felt the time was right to start standardizing [systems management] and this is a chance for us to be really proactive," Guha said.

"This is one part of the 2.0 strategy and its an investment in the right place."

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