Dell plugs hole in virtualization stack

Dell has partnered with Netuitive to build out its VIS infrastructure management tools

Dell has filled the last big hole in its virtualization stack through a partnership with Netuitive, which makes analytics software for managing virtual infrastructure, Netuitive and industry analysts have confirmed.

One of the challenges with a virtual infrastructure is the dependencies that exist between its many discrete components, making management of the overall system complex.

Netuitive's software collects data about performance and utilization levels throughout the infrastructure, and analyzes these to build a picture of its overall health and any problems that might arise. Netuitive says its software has patented "self learning" capabilities.

Dell announced its Virtual Integrated System, or VIS, early last year and has been building it out through partnerships, acquisitions and some of its own development work. It's part of Dell's effort to expand beyond PC sales into more profitable areas.

VIS is a set of software products designed to ease the provisioning and management of physical and virtual systems, including servers, networks and storage gear. It aims to compete with offerings such as Cisco's Unified Computing System and Hewlett-Packard's Blade System Matrix, which was recently rebranded as CloudSystem Matrix.

Dell says it built VIS primarily with mid-size companies in mind, and claims VIS differs from rival products because it can manage equipment from a variety of vendors.

Netuitive's software will be used as what Dell calls the Director component of VIS. The other parts are Advanced Infrastructure Manager, derived from its Scalent acquisition, and the Self-Service Creator, from a partnership with Dynamic Ops.

A Dell spokeswoman on Thursday couldn't immediately confirm the partnership, which was disclosed to analysts earlier this month.

"Netuitive hopes the deal will bring its predictive analytics into the mainstream of IT," The 451 Group analyst Rachel Chalmers said in a research note. "The company's main competitors, ProactiveNet and Integrien, were acquired by BMC Software and VMware, respectively, leaving Netuitive the only remaining independent predictive-analytics pure play."

Ovum analyst Roy Illsley said the partnership is a good one for Dell.

"Ovum considers behavioral analysis the next major innovation for infrastructure and cloud management, and this deal gives Dell an edge over its main competitors," Illsley wrote on the Ovum website.

"Although Dell will face strong competition from its larger rivals at the top end of this market, the Netuitive deal should help Dell gain customers in the mid-market and provide it with a technology ideally suited to the complex issues of large, mature organizations," he wrote.

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