Dell has announced three new additions to its OpenManage line of system management tools. The new software is designed to provide better integration between Dell's hardware management products and Microsoft's management software.

The new tools are the Dell Management Pack for Microsoft Operations Manager, the Dell Update Packages for Microsoft Systems Management Server, and the Dell Deployment Toolkit, which works with Microsoft's Automated Deployment Services.

"It's new software focused on integrating hardware and operating system management," said Chad Engelgau, Dell's senior manager for server management planning. According to him, Dell is aiming to eliminate the "islands of management" created by separate hardware and software management tools.

"It's sort of a philosophical thing," said John Enck, vice president of server strategies with industry analyst company Gartner. Competitors such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM Corp., who have already invested much more than Dell in developing management tools, use their systems management software as a point of competitive differentiation, he said. "By taking this path, what Dell is saying is, 'it doesn't matter anymore. Everyone is going to standards.'"

With the new Update Packages, customers will be able to use Microsoft's new Systems Management Server, which is already shipping, to manage software patches from both Microsoft and Dell.

The Update Packages are available as of Tuesday, as is the Dell Management Pack, which will include Dell's monitoring, patch management and deployment tools. The Management Pack is designed to be used with Microsoft's Operations Manager console, so that administrators will not have to switch between consoles to use the Microsoft and Dell software.

The Update Packages and Management Pack software are available for free at http://www.dell.com/openmanage.

Dell has also announced a Deployment Toolkit, which will work in conjunction with Microsoft's Automated Deployment Services software to let Dell customers remotely configure Dell servers. It will ship by year's end, Dell said.