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Dell Dives Into Systems Managment

Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL) is going after IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) by jumping into the systems management bed with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and launching a new low-cost blade (see Dell, Microsoft Partner Up and Dell Releases Blade Server).

Necessity, so they say, is the mother of invention. Hence Dells decision to snuggle up with the giant of Redmond. The Round Rock, Texas-based vendor is without a big-name software product such as IBM’s Tivoli or HP’s OpenView in the lucrative systems management space. It is also playing catchup in the growing blade server market.

Ever keen to address the balance of power, Dell will now integrate its OpenManage 4 systems management software with Microsoft’s System Management Server 2003. With data centers becoming increasingly complex, the joint offering will be used to quickly update software, operating systems, and applications, according to Microsoft and Sun execs on a conference call today.

This spells good news for users, particularly those struggling to update their security patches, says Daniel Fleischer, senior research analyst at IDC. “Microsoft has done a lot of good work on patch management,” he says. “The key to containing any security threat is speed and reaction time.”

It is not surprising, then, that speed of deployment featured so prominently in today’s conference call. Using his own company’s IT infrastructure as an example, Dell CEO Kevin Rollins predicted that, with the new joint offering, Dell will be able to run a systems upgrade on the firm’s “thousands of servers” in just an hour.

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