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Dell cracks open EMEA PC services

Stretches to non-Dell iron plus servers

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Looking for leverage and a few extra euros and pounds in EMEA, Dell has rolled out a set of modular services to help companies manage their PCs and - eventually - their servers.

The offerings for Europe the Middle East and Africa are a variant of services Dell delivered in the US last year and that have more than 5,000 customers, according to the vice president of solutions and services at Dell's EMEA operations Dolph Westerbos.

The services span hardware and software. They include a distributed device manager that delivers hardware asset management and distributes software to PCs, monitoring of software to track assets and their use, data backup and restore to remote data centers run by Dell partners, laptop data encryption, email management, and crisis management and alerting.

The Dell services are not, in theory, restricted to Dell iron and are enabled through software agents that are preloaded on all Dell PCs. Before the year is out, the software agents behind the modular services will be available for download to be installed on non-Dell desktops and laptops, too.

Westerbos says that in the US, it has a number of very large companies that have bought the modular services - about half of the customers who have bought the services have it deployed on 2,000 or more seats, and Dell believes that the poor economy is helping Dell sell these services, which might otherwise be done by in-house IT staff.

That said, the PC services were really aimed at small and medium businesses, and this is the customer set that Dell used to beta test the modular services in EMEA. Dell hand-picked 20 small firms in the London area - a doctor's practice, an architectural firm, and such - to give the services a spin, which they have been doing since last September.

The first paying customer for the services is multinational energy giant Centrica. It's using the distributed device manager service to keep the ruggedized laptops used by its UK field services engineers patched and to distribute updated applications created by Centrica's programmers.

In a few months, according to Westerbos, agents for other modular services aimed at servers and storage running in the data center will be preloaded on these Dell boxes. Dell is not saying precisely when data center versions of the modular services will come to market, except to say "later this year." ®

Bootnote

The Register recently interviewed Samy Aboel-Nil, Dell market dev director, about the company’s ambitious drive into Cloud-based software and security services. The webcast is now available on demand.

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