Dell Inc. and Microsoft Corp. have formed a strategic development partnership to improve the way customers manage systems across the enterprise. As part of this partnership, the companies are simplifying the way customers update hundreds to thousands of Dell servers in their enterprise with the first unified change-management solution that leverages existing operating system management applications for hardware updates.
The companies are integrating Dell OpenManage 4 systems management software with Microsoft® Systems Management Server 2003 to unify the tools needed to update system software, operating systems and applications to one interface that customers can apply with one mouse click. As a result, customers can reduce information technology (IT) cost and complexity by using a single tool for managing both hardware and software.
Customers have said time and resources spent on managing the high volume of updates to servers for security and application improvements are their biggest pain point and expense. Dell and Microsoft are helping to alleviate this issue by delivering updates to the servers with one step, versus multiple steps previously required or that are currently required on competitors’ systems.
Strategic Development Partnership for Systems Management
Addressing the cost and complexity of change management is the first deliverable from the expanded partnership, in which the companies will jointly develop, market and sell systems management software. Decreasing the number of hardware-only systems management tools is critical to Dell’s efforts to simplify operations and enable a scalable enterprise.
“Dell and Microsoft are breaking new ground in the effort to simplify IT operations for our customers,” said Kevin Rollins, president and CEO of Dell in a news conference with Microsoft here today.
“Our development partnership will focus on improving the way we deliver systems management to customers with integrated products that improve productivity by minimizing the demands placed on IT resources.”
The joint development also exemplifies how Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative envisions simplified, efficient management of entire distributed systems, including hardware and software.
“Enterprise customers want comprehensive solutions that span management of both hardware and software, and reduce complexity and cost,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “This partnership between Microsoft and Dell will help customers realize the promise of the Dynamic Systems Initiative, Microsoft’s strategy to simplify management of distributed systems by more closely connecting developers and IT professionals throughout the application life cycle.”
Developers from both companies are working together to reduce complexity in systems management. This includes efforts to build on standards such as the Systems Management Architecture for Server Hardware (SMASH) specification from the Distributed Management Task Force Inc., and WS-Management, a Web services specification that provides a common way for systems to access and exchange management information across entire IT systems. Together Dell and Microsoft are working to standardize the customer experience for system life-cycle management.
An Integrated Way to Manage Change
OpenManage 4 Change Management works with Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 to give customers a single view of all Dell PowerEdge servers on the network and easily determine what needs to be updated from a system software, operating system and application perspective. OpenManage 4 provides a detailed inventory of Dell servers, as well as a list of needed system software updates, to ensure that all are applied. Additional capabilities include the following:
*A view of what system software version resides on any given server
*Automated downloads of BIOS, firmware and drivers from Dell’s website
*Scheduled delivery and distribution of hardware updates to minimize the business impact of updating systems
Systems Management Server 2003 delivers enterprise-class software distribution, and by integrating these core disciplines into a single solution, customers are able to reduce the day-to-day operational costs of managing Windows® environments and achieve more flexibility in their business.
Pricing and Availability
The Dell and Microsoft solution, called SMS 2003 Inventory Tool for Dell Updates, is scheduled to be available in January 2005 as a free download from http://www.microsoft.com/management/dell. More information on Dell OpenManage 4 Change Management can be found at www.dell.com/openmanage/servers. For more information on Microsoft Systems Management Server 2003 please visit http://www.microsoft.com/smserver.