In July 2010, Dell acquired Scalent a vendor that allowed for the rapid provisioning and reconfiguration of server, network and storage resources. This was clearly an IT agility play. In September 2010, Dell did an OEM deal with DynamicOPS adding the DynamicOPS private cloud (or IT as a Service) management stack to its Virtual Integrated System (VIS) architecture. Now Dell has done a similar deal with Netuitive, adding direct monitoring of vSphere, integration with just about every monitoring tool on the planet, and real-time self-learning analytics to the VIS portfolio.

Imagine the following scenario. A user orders up a service (a collection of VM’s or an entire application system) from Self-Service Center (DynamicOPS). Self-Service Center automatically provisions the vSphere environment needed to fulfill the request and then turns to Advanced Infrastructure Manager (Scalent) to provision and configure the underlying hardware, and any resources that are needed to fulfill the request that are not virtualized. The resulting application and the underlying vSphere environment are then monitored by Director (Netuitive). There are several very compelling aspects to this offering:

  • It is assembled with arguably best of breed components. DynamicOPS has both a product functionality lead and a lead in production customer implementations over the rest of the IT as a Service (Private Cloud) vendors – especially when it comes to complex enterprise deployments. Netuitive is the clear market leader for self-learning analytics and has an impressive enterprise customer base as well.
  • The prospect that these solutions will become tightly integrated over time as they are deployed together in Dell’s customer base is very alluring. There is no other stack of management software on the market that can meet the requirements for IT as a Service across physical and virtual environments (with support for multiple hypervisors), and that has integrated performance and capacity monitoring backed up by self-learning analytics.
  • The fact that Netuitive is the performance monitoring engine is of particular value since with IT as a Service environments it is not possible to configure monitoring ahead of time. It needs to be deployed with the environment, discover the elements of the environment as they come up and then learn the normal behavior. Any system that relies upon manually set thresholds violates the whole idea of automation and IT agility that is the promise of IT as a Service and private clouds.

Where Does this Leave IBM and HP?

Dell has often be criticized for its lack of systems management offerings and its lack of a solutions oriented approach to selling to enterprise accounts. Both IBM and HP have honed their ability to combine hardware, software and services into integrated solutions for enterprise customers. Dell says that these offerings are intended for the “mid-market” but mid-market includes some pretty big companies. It is also now the case that with Dell having assembled a virtualization management stack out of best of breed components that the Dell offerings are quite frankly far superior to anything that HP and IBM have to offer when it comes to provisioning, IT as a Service and performance management of virtualized and IT as a Service or private cloud environments. You have to wonder if and when IBM and HP will wake up.

Summary

Dell is now in a position to be able to offer a market leading set of virtualization management functionality to its customers. There will no doubt be growing pains as Dell learns to sell a complex set of software – which is an entirely different process than taking an order from a purchasing agent for some servers. But both DynamicOPS and Netuitive have a proven ability to sell their solutions on their own, and one presumes that it is in the interest of all parties for Dell to get some help from DynamicOPS and Netuitive as Dell comes up the sales curve.

The Dell VIS stack (Advanced Infrastructure Manager, Self-Service Creator and Director) now represents the most functionally rich virtualization management offering on the market, as it is sourced from best of breed IT as a Service vendor DynamicOPS and best of breed self learning analytics vendor Netuitive. This stack backed up by Dell’s ability to sell into its customer base with whom Dell is already heavily interacting on the subject of virtualization puts Dell and it partners in a compelling position.

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Bernd Harzog (332 Posts)

Bernd Harzog is the Analyst at The Virtualization Practice for Performance and Capacity Management and IT as a Service (Private Cloud).

Bernd is also the CEO and founder of APM Experts a company that provides strategic marketing services to vendors in the virtualization performance management, and application performance management markets.

Prior to these two companies, Bernd was the CEO of RTO Software, the VP Products at Netuitive, a General Manager at Xcellenet, and Research Director for Systems Software at Gartner Group. Bernd has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Chicago.

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7 comments for “Dell a Virtualization Management Leader?

  1. Andrew Wood
    June 20, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    I was at a VMware forum last week and these services were announced by Dell. What I found interesting was that these services were offered not just between physical/virtual, but between vendors.

    That said, just for my understanding I was under the impression these services were ‘coming soon’ – is that right?

  2. June 20, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Sounds like Ionix/VBlock stuff or HP CloudSystem Matrix.

  3. June 21, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    I’m a Marketing Director at Dell for VIS. Advanced Infrastructure Manager (formerly Scalent VOE) and VIS Self-Service Creator (Self-Service VM Provisioning) are available today. VIS Director (ITAAS monitoring) will be available soon.

  4. Vineet Banga
    June 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    The article mentions ‘support for multiple hypervisors’ in one place. But rest of the article seems very VMware centric. Does Dell’s stack support HyperV & Xen?

  5. June 24, 2011 at 5:38 AM

    Kevin,

    Thanks for the clarification.

  6. Bharzog
    June 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Hi Greg,

    Although this is not an exact apples to apples comparison, it would be roughly right to way that Dell plus AIM (Scalent) is designed to provide the same level of hardware configuration flexibility as is present in a vBlock or a HT CS Matrix. To the best of my knowledge however, what is in the vBlocks or the HP product line does not include the Private Cloud Stack, nor does it include self-learning monitoring of the environment. Cisco has acquired newScale, and now does have a fully functional self-service catalog which addresses a piece of this stack.

  7. Bharzog
    June 30, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    We will have to let Dell answer that definitively. The source technologies for the ITasS layer (DynamicOPS) and the self-learning monitoring layer (Netuitive) are very open to multiple virtualization environments and are in fact used not only across multiple virtualization environments, but also across virtualized and non-virtualized (physical) resources.

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