Dell will announce a set of network management tools this week that it plans to offer at no extra cost to users of its PowerConnect line of switches.
The OpenManage Network Manager software was designed to help IT staffers centralise the management of PowerConnect installations that include more than 10 switches, said Ulrich Hansen, a senior product manager at Dell, which entered the market for networking equipment two years ago.
Network managers would be able to use the software to deploy firmware updates and change the configurations of multiple switches with a single operation, saving time and money compared with doing the work on individual devices, Hansen said. In addition, the new products, which join existing OpenManage tools for servers and PCs, can track networking gear made by rival vendors, diagnose network problems and schedule data backup operations. Dell's network management tools could be useful to IT managers at small and midsize businesses, IDC analyst, Stephen Elliot, said.
These tools wouldn't compete against the software suites sold by BMC Software, Computer Associates, HP and IBM's Tivoli Software unit for managing large networks, he said.
Instead, Dell's technology was comparable to Cisco's CiscoWorks software and products developed by Ipswitch, Elliot said.
Dell offers eight PowerConnect products and has sold about 50,000 of the switches thus far, according to Hansen. "We're still a recent addition to the market, and we have room to grow," he said.