updated 11/15/2004 3:48:36 PM ET 2004-11-15T20:48:36

Dell Inc. and Microsoft Corp. promised big savings on the billions of dollars companies spend on system maintenance as they unveiled jointly developed software Monday that manages and upgrades servers in one mouse-click.

The new toolkit brings together Dell's OpenManage 4 server management software and Microsoft SMS 2003, used to configure and upgrade servers running Windows.

Kevin Rollins, Dell president and CEO, said systems managers will now be able to manage and upgrade servers from one platform instead of requiring several tools.

"Now you can update Dell servers at the hardware, software and applications level with one mouse-click," Rollins said at a news conference in Paris.

The new software, which goes on sale immediately to Dell server customers, will enable a systems manager to update thousands of servers in less than an hour, Rollins said _ a task that can take days with current tools.

Bob Muglia, senior vice president of Microsoft's server division, said that the new integrated management tool should make significant savings on the US$140 billion (108 billion euro) companies spend on IT globally -- 70 percent of which currently goes on maintenance.

"By partnering with companies like Dell we hope we can change this equation," Muglia said, adding that more announcements with other server manufacturers could follow.

"It's a big, important, strategic agreement with Dell, but not an exclusive one," Muglia said.

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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