Dell Adds Storage, Disaster Management Services to Portfolio

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Dell on Monday announced it was adding customizable storage and disaster management services to build out its services portfolio, which it began revamping last year.

The services, which include disaster recovery and data backup services, will offer tools and consulting for customers to meet exploding data storage requirements across multiple networking and hardware environments, the company said.

Dell has done occasional storage and disaster recovery consulting, but this is the first time these services are being pulled together as an offering to customers worldwide, said Paul Kaeley, global practice leader at Dell.

Two levels of disaster recovery will be offered to customers. The first level, for mid-size consumers, will protect data around key applications and provide tools to restore IT operations in case of a disaster. A higher service level targeted at larger customers will include the design and implementation of IT disaster recovery plans through tools and aligning more people to ensure the plan is effectively implemented.

Dell is also offering managed backup services with reporting and monitoring services to stabilize data backup. If a backup system goes astray, Dell is offering a managed backup through remote management. The services will span all storage offerings, including EMC storage resold by Dell.

The tiered storage service will categorize high and low-priority data to different storage levels to help a company cut costs.

The price and size of the services will be proportional to the size and complexity of the environment, Kaeley said.

Part of Dell's effort to "simplify IT," the service upgrades reflect Dell's push to reduce IT maintenance costs via customized hardware, software and services. Dell has acquired companies like MessageOne and Everdream to boost its remote management portfolio.

Dell has also been under increased pressure to improve its service offerings in the wake of Hewlett-Packard's acquisition of services company Electronic Data Systems in May. Analysts have said that EDS gives HP a leg up over Dell in the global services market.

Through its services, Dell does not want to send consultants to sit on a client's site for months only to create a 600-page report, Kaeley said. Dell intends to customize services and solve problems quickly through speedy data collection and reporting, Kaeley said.

The days of services and support being a simple break-fix maintenance are over; as computing systems get sophisticated, the need for remote diagnostic check and triage has increased. Dell has been at the forefront of the effort through its acquisitions and increase service focus, with companies like HP and IBM headed in that direction, said Ron Silliman, principal analyst at Gartner.

The new services may not affect Dell's relationship with channel partners that want to have Dell's brand name attached to product delivery. However, some partners may feel ambivalent as Dell's sudden jump into the space could undercut their support business, Silliman said.

Dell is tying up with companies like GlassHouse Technologies to provide the new services to customers.

"Dell is somewhat like Wal-Mart -- its the best thing and the worst thing -- you get a whole volume of business, but Dell expects a whole level of performance and more cost control."

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