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Dell announced a raft of new technology products and services aimed squarely at the data center today, a little more than a week after Cisco announced its data center play.

“Dell intends to lead the way in driving the cost of infrastructure down,” said Steve Schuckenbrock, president of Large Global Enterprise at Dell in a webcast launching what Dell is calling the “Efficient Enterprise.”

Dell and Cisco’s moves leave no question of where big hardware vendors see the money going in 2009.

Dell’s new lineup includes 14 enterprise products including new blades, servers and workstations as well as storage hardware, software and services that Dell says are optimized for virtual environments.

Dell’s play also includes significant new services and consulting offerings, including a Data Center Consulting offer which includes server virtualization and storage/backup optimization, as well as New Systems Management Consulting, a service Dell says is designed to improve data center operations through server provisioning, maintenance, availability monitoring and service-level management all the way through asset retirement.

Moving into services proved to be a successful strategy for IBM when it found its core technology products had entered commodity status. And Hewlett-Packard’s most recent earnings report showed that services and its recently acquired EDS consulting business continued to be a bright spot, even as hardware sales suffered in the current recession.

Several surveys have showed that virtualization and server consolidation are at top of mind for IT executives during the lean year of 2009.

“We find Dell’s efficient enterprise computing portfolio both intriguing and promising,” says Charles King, principal analyst at PundIT. “The company obviously understands the financial, technological and organizational pressures its business computing clients are under. Most importantly, Dell’s mix of enhanced new technologies, extended services and innovative partnerships could be just what the doctor ordered for companies suffering painful economic constraints.”

Sean Phelan, Dell’s director of the advanced solution group for the channel, says that the new services offerings from Dell are designed to be modular and will be delivered by both “Dell-badged” providers, or direct, and by solution provider channel partners.


“We are offering modular services that can be chosen based on what the end user needs,” Phelan says. “Rather than march a ton of consultants into your infrastructure that go into a black box,  we are offering a modular approach from whiteboard design to implementation.”


The overall goal, according to Dell, is to replace inefficient infrastructure with what works better for today’s needs. For example, says Phelan, data centers that are using three-year-old equipment are up to 30 percent less power efficient than data centers that use Dell’s new data center offerings. In addition, the new technology offers better performance and needs less floor space.


Plus, “new units include architectural updates that make them superior for things such as virtualization,” Phelan says.