Feeds

Dell makes server software simple, simple, simple for slow admins

Ser - ver

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

While rivals keep banging on about their inventions, acquisitions and flashy gear, Dell insists that it's keeping server management simple - so simple that even the simplest simpleton could simply administer a server in a simple fashion.

Dell this week used the word simple or some variation on it five times in the first eight sentences of a statement outlining its latest server management moves. Focus groups have clearly led the company's marketing team to believe that administrators find server management too complex, and Dell has the rhetoric to cure what ails you.

Leading Dell's simplification charge is a new Unified Manageability Architecture (UMA), which isn't actually a product but rather "a vision for a standards-based blueprint for simplified, modular systems management."

Now, we've already given Dell a hard enough time, but the company quite seriously issued what could be the worst systems software statement of all time, so we'll keep giving Dell the rope.

UMA delivers a layered framework that enables a path to "built-in" management for hardware and software using standard instrumentation such as CIM and SMI-S, and access protocols including WS-Man. The result is a cross-vendor approach that can yield more robust systems modeling, enabling high availability and standards-based building blocks for business process management.

Dell - somehow - plans to build this layered framework vision into its products such as the Dell Remote Access Controller and Baseboard Management Controller on its servers. Good luck with that.

Closer to making sense, Dell announced an expanded systems management deal with Altiris. Under the arrangement, Dell will sell re-branded, customized versions of Altiris' management software for its OpenManage line. The product marriage comes as part of a five-year financial deal that gives Dell the option of buying a 5 per cent stake in Altiris.

Dell plans to upgrade OpenManage with more "pay as you grow" options packages and with revamps to the security, storage management and operations tools in the software.

In addition, Dell has moved to spur interest around OpenManage by kicking off a new partner program where third parties can get a toolkit for developing software friendly to Dell's servers and then certify that code.

"Dell is committed to simplifying the management of IT resources so customers can focus on what is most important to them - growing their business," said Brad Anderson, a Dell SVP.

Yeah, we get that already, Brad.

Dell's server business has slowed dramatically this year as the company has faced fresh lower-end competition from the likes of Rackable Systems and as Dell failed to adopt the popular Opteron processor from AMD soon enough. The company, however, could be challenged over the long-term by a more serious threat.

Today's x86 servers look more and more like the Unix SMPs that dominated the last internet build out. Large players such as IBM, HP and Sun are building software and hardware components that bulk up their x86 servers, while a host of start-ups are doing the same. Dell, however, continues to stick with its "simple" strategy that worked well in a less complex x86 landscape.

It will be interesting to see if Dell's limited R&D strategy will pan out as x86 servers mature. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.