HP Flexes Its IT Management Muscles

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2007-11-26

HP Flexes Its IT Management Muscles


HP Flexes Its IT

Management Muscles">

With the Opsware acquisition under its belt, Hewlett-Packard at its HP Software Universe user conference Nov. 26 will try to assert its dominance as a major IT management software provider.

At the event in Barcelona, Spain, HP will launch its new strategy for IT operations, which pulls the HP OpenView, Peregrine, Mercury and Opsware product suites under the HP Automated Operations 1.0 marketing umbrella.

While the goal is to bring a greater level of automation to IT operations to reduce costs and address the full life cycle of managing business services, the heaviest effort around integration and execution is yet to be done.

To read about other recent HP Software integration efforts, click here.

HP rebranded the Opsware data center automation suite as a part of its Barcelona launch and incorporated client configuration management—formerly called Radia—into the new suite, which is named HP Business Service Automation.

HP is also introducing a major new release of its service desk offering, which rationalizes the Peregrine Service Center and the OpenView Service Desk offerings. The Service Manager 7.0 release, built on the Service Center architecture, unifies the two product lines and brings to the help desk the concept of managing IT as a service through improved processes.

"Service lifecycle management is a big focus—managing a service from concept to grave, defining what services I want, what [service-level agreement] commitments are related to the service and managing through [IT Infrastructure Library] processes," said Matt Schvimmer, director of products for HP.

"This is the announcement of integration paths," said Gartner analyst Ronni Colville. "The products that come to market [now] have to do with Peregrine and some of that heavy lifting promised over the last 18 months from that acquisition."

HP Service Manager 7.0 manages each process at the service level instead of at the component level, using HPs universal Configuration Management Database from Mercury as a common framework from which to view and measure a service.

HP integrated its uCMDB into Service Manager 7.0 to share SLA data with HPs Business Availability Center offering. "And we have a definition of service within the uCMDB that acts as federation hub," said Schvimmer. "There is a ton of integration to help customers leverage what they have today."

As a part of its rationalization, HP standardized on its uCMDB and made the CMDB that is a part of the former Opsware suite a core reporting engine for the new BSA suite.

One analyst gave HP kudos for the speed of that decision making. "If you consider it took them two years to decide how to include Peregrine into Service Desk or vice versa, and they came up with how to include Opsware in three months, they have considerably accelerated the strategic decisions," said Forrester Research analyst Jean-Pierre Garbani.

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Key Integration Point

A key integration point in much of the work yet to be done is the HP Operations Orchestration run book automation tool, originally acquired by Opsware from iConclude. It allows users to create automated process workflows that enable complex changes that span multiple infrastructure elements. Those workflows can include built-in audit trails.

"[The integration] seems seamless so far," said former Opsware customer Kyle Rhynerson, service delivery manager with chip maker Advanced Micro Devices. "Ive been speaking with my HP sales rep and continuing with my Opsware sales rep. The people supporting the tool are continuing in those roles as they transition under the HP umbrella."

Rhynerson said HPs acquisition of Opsware validated his companys decision to go with Opsware to automate compliance auditing of data center servers against Minimum Baseline Security Standards.

Although Opsware didnt have everything AMD wanted, the company "seemed more committed to us as a customer and would include our needs in the development cycle," Rhynerson said. "If HP is willing to invest $1.6 billion, it seemed like we must have made the right choice."

Even without Opsware, HP Software in its fourth fiscal quarter doubled revenue to $698 million, making HP a $2.3 billion software company. David Gee, vice president of worldwide marketing for HP Software, said HP grew at about twice the rate of the market.

Still, rivals such as CA and BMC Software also claimed significant growth rates. "Everybodys claiming growth in business service management and CMDBs and related IT management software," said Forresters Garbani. "BMC, HP, CA are all claiming growth. HP didnt take the market by storm."

But its combined piece parts with Mercury, Opsware, Peregrine and others could open more doors, said AMDs Rhynerson. "Once you have your foot in the door, you have an advantage," he said. "I think leveraging OpenView with companies already using those [acquired] tools makes it easier to say, Hey, would you consider this server automation technology now, or maybe this QA testing from Mercury?"

Gartners Colville agreed. "What this gives HP is a very accessible story to sell to different kinds of buyers—the data center buyer for servers, IT Service Desk suite buyers, CMDB buyers, network operations around service impact—they have lots of ways to sell into clients with some value," she said.

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