Dell Offers Twist on PC Management

Armed with new services and tools, the company has set out to get users to take better care of their hardware.

Armed with new services and tools, Dell Computer Corp. set out on Monday to get its customers to take better care of their hardware.

The Round Rock, Texas, computer maker announced a new remote monitoring service, offered through the Dell Premier Enterprise Support agreements, that gives customers the option to have hardware alerts or operating system alerts sent directly to Dell for assistance. The alerts are sent to Dell at the same time the customer receives them in the hopes of speeding responses to failures.

The service is offered in four levels. The first level, included for customers with Gold or Platinum maintenance agreements, calls for Dell implementation of systems management at the customer site. It includes the Dell OpenManage console and a specified number of managed nodes. At the second level, Dell systems management tools can email up to 250 types of hardware alerts to the Dell Expert Center.

The third level includes the first two levels plus operating system alerts. The fourth includes all of the above, plus Dell will run diagnostics on an agreed upon number of servers, analyze the results and send customers quarterly reports, which can be accessed via a browser.

Along with the new services, Dell also announced a native Linux management console. The console, based on Dell management agent integration with BMC Software Inc.s Patrol for Linux, will receive Dell-specific hardware alerts.

Dell officials said the moves were prompted by a Meta Group survey that found that as many as 75 percent of companies dont conduct even basic hardware management.

"There are a lot of IT shops that manage at the application or database or network level, but not the hardware," said Lance Osborne, product marketing senior consultant at Dell.

The tool, combined with the Dell Express Administrator, will be available from both Dell and BMC in the August or September. The new services are available now from Dell.

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