of a partnership between Dell and Egenera has
done something unique in the business development world — increased the
credibility of both players who were lagging in overall market presence in a
key technology area — server virtualization.

Egenera, a
smaller server vendor, popular in financial services, public sector and service
providers, was the first to bring Unix-class virtualization capabilities to x86
systems but did so only within its unique blade server frame design. As such,
Egenera simply hasn’t been able to make much headway in the general enterprise
market. A 2005 hardware OEM partnership with Fujitsu-Siemens was a step in the
right direction but one only felt in Europe.

In 2007 to expand its market presence, the company announced that its PAN
Manager virtualization management software would support non-Egenera servers.
While the appeal of this announcement was mostly to its existing customers it
was a shot across the bow of the virtualization management software market that
Egenera was shifting to a more open position.

Dell has
made significant market share gains with its servers and this quarter refreshed
its family
of blade servers
with a new chassis and blade design. But simply having a
competitive server portfolio isn’t enough to remain competitive today, vendors
must add the ability to virtualize those workloads and quickly and easily move
them among servers while also being able to move resource assignments during
failover and replacement.

HP offers
its Virtual Machine Manager and Virtual
, for virtualization management and resource assignment and IBM
recently added its home-grown Open
Fabric Manager
, leaving Dell with a gaping competitive hole in
virtualization management. Consider that hole soon to be filled with Dell PAN

Egenera PAN
Manager has a stable of customer references
and years of implementation behind it, making it one of the most mature
virtualization management solutions on the market today. While its ability to
virtualize workloads off-platform is relatively new, the Dell endorsement gives
this capability instant credibility.

partnership stops at PAN Manager, so don’t start thinking Dell at the low end
and Egenera at the high end; that doesn’t seem to be in the offing. But
synergies between the two companies through this partnership should benefit
both vendors’ customers.

By James Staten

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