Dell acquires managed service provider Silverback

Dell this week announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire privately held managed services provider SilverBack Technologies for an undisclosed amount.

Dell said in a press release that SilverBack’s service-delivery platform would be incorporated into the hardware vendor’s operations and bolster Dell’s IT services. Dell already offers such IT services as asset recovery and recycling, and last year acquired British IT services firm ACS to help its customers migrate to Vista.

SilverBack, one of the original MSPs, evolved its services business into a software company. The company then delivered its service-delivery platform to other vendors looking to provide remote monitoring services to customers as a managed offering. Industry watchers say SilverBack’s remote-monitoring software platform, which is capable of managing servers, storage, security, networks, desktops and laptops, can further strengthen Dell’s services play.

“I expect Dell to leverage SilverBack’s capabilities to add a new layer of managed services to its product portfolio,” says Jeff Kaplan, managing director of consultancy ThinkStrategies. “Dell is in a unique position to capitalize on SilverBack’s capabilities because it has a strong relationship with customers as a result of its direct-sales heritage.”

Yet Kaplan points out that other vendors, such as Cisco with its NetSolve acquisition, that have attempted to buy their way into managed services haven’t always been met with great success. He says Dell will have to update its support organization to work proactively with customers and maintain ongoing relationships.

Still, the buy is a positive one, Kaplan says, as more vendors see the need to provide IT services on top of their technology.

“Dell’s acquisition of SilverBack is still a significant bellwether of the changing nature of the IT market,” Kaplan says. “We are moving away from a technology-centric industry to a services-driven business.”

Terms were not disclosed, and the purchase will not be final until all closing conditions are met, according to a Dell press release.