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Dell helps firms digest virtualisation

Quoting IT Week

The virtualisation consultancy service recently announced by Dell has attracted cautious approval in the industry, though doubts remain about the vendor’s ability to work with its partners on delivery.

The thinking behind Dell’s Virtualisation Readiness Assessment (VRA) service is solid enough: a lot of companies are interested in the potential benefits of deploying server and storage virtualisation in datacentres, but they remain uncertain as to what virtualisation can achieve.

Enter a specially trained Dell consultant or engineer, who for a set fee visits the customer site to perform a virtualisation health check and compile a recommendation report. Resident IT staff are given the opportunity to attend infrastructure and migration workshops, with system proof-of-concept testing performed at a Dell solution innovation centre prior to deployment.

Richard Edwards, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said enterprise IT departments are often short of the time and expertise needed to perform their own virtualisation assessments.

“The IT folks are probably running at maximum in terms of what they have to cope with,” Edwards said. “Lots of companies are using virtualisation to work around the physical [datacentre] problems they have, but it is not exactly optimised. They are rarely looking at software patch management or licensing issues, for instance, so buying a value-added service might help.”

For now at least, the VRA does not consider application virtualisation or virtualisation management, which are equally important to achieving tangible infrastructure cost savings, according to Philip Dawson, agenda manager for virtualisation at research firm Gartner.

“It is a question of how you architect virtualisation. Dell is doing well with server and storage virtualisation, but the area of concern is how to broaden systems management capabilities in the same way that HP does with OpenView or IBM does with Tivoli,” said Dawson.

Nor has Dell so far said much about incorporating non-Windows operating systems into its virtualisation plans. Dawson was disappointed that the company focused so heavily on VMware and Microsoft’s forthcoming Viridian technology, but made no more than a passing reference to Xen virtualisation.

“If you are virtualising datacentres, you have to think beyond Microsoft and think about how Unix systems and mainframes get virtualised as well,” Dawson said.

The bigger question hangs over Dell’s ability to use channel partnerships, traditionally not the direct vendor’s greatest resource, to get its consultancy service to the customer doorstep.

“A lot of the service execution depends on partners – Dell is just doing the orchestration – and the bit that concerns me is the ability to get the same level of consistency as resource-heavy rivals like IBM and HP,” said Dawson.

Read or comment on the original, here.

Published Tuesday, July 10, 2007 10:10 PM by David Marshall
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dell » Dell helps firms digest virtualisation - (Author's Link) - October 16, 2007 11:14 AM
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