Dell: Falling for Spiceworks' Monitoring and Management Tool?

Dell: Falling for Spiceworks' Monitoring and Management Tool?

spiceworks-spiceworldSpiceworks, a free networking monitoring and management tool, has caught Dell's attention. Spiceworks, which claims to have 750,000 users, increasingly targets the managed services market. And Dell has taken notice. Here are some quick observations.

Spiceworks will host a SpiceWorld conference in Austin, Texas on Oct. 22 and 23. Take a look at the agenda and you'll notice that Dell is listed as the event's top sponsor.

Launched in 2006, Spiceworks develops IT Desktop, which is a free, ad-supported business application. (There's also a forthcoming ad-free version, called MyWay, that costs US$20 per month.) I criticized Spiceworks in August 2009 for claiming its customer base included 65,000 MSPs and IT service providers. The number seemed inflated to me, since I don't believe there are 65,000 MSPs worldwide.

Growth Mode

Still, Spiceworks' installed base appears to be growing rapidly, surging from 30,000 IT pros (January 2007) to 200,000 IT pros (December 2007) to roughly 750,000 IT pros today, according to the company's Web site. Early advertisers on the system, according to Spiceworks, include Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Microsoft. Now, Dell is sponsoring the SpiceWorld conference in Austin, Texas -- home of Dell's worldwide headquarters.

Dell's move caught my attention for several reasons. Former Dell senior executive John Hamlin serves on Spiceworks' Board of Directors. And early Spiceworks investors include Austin Ventures, a venture capital firm that employs Dell veteran Joe Marengi.

In addition to Dell's Silverback and Everdream acquisitions, I wonder if the PC giant is taking a look at working more closely with Spiceworks. And if so, what the relationship involves...

I'll be reaching out to Spiceworks and Dell this week for more perspectives.

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