Some times ago I read an excellent article by Enrico Signoretti titled “I server sono tutti uguali” (“servers are all equal”, only in italian). I agree with his conclusions: today server components makers are few and every server use some of them, cpu ram and boards are standardized, and basically all maintenance services are good.
As in storage systems, the real difference between similar hardware products comes from software, and also in the server market there are some noteworthy differences.
One of them is Dell Management Plug-In for VMware vCenter.
It’s a vCenter plugin, sold by the number of managed servers, that allows Dell servers owners to manage some activities directly inside vCenter console. One of the best features is the firmware upgrade: the software downloads only the firmware needed by the specific models, and during the upgrade can put the host in maintenance mode (this really handy for those who have DRS).
I’ve talked with some Dell customers who use this software and everybody has good words about it. Everybody knows how firmware upgrade is at the same time a needed activity (for bug fixing and performance increase) but also time consuming and cumbesome.
If you want to take a look at how it works, Dell has released this video: