HP-Mercury: Modules to Monoliths

Opinion: Enterprise buying and labs' testing change when categories combine.

At eWEEK Labs, we know Hewlett-Packard, and we know Mercury Interactive. Soon, well need to know the combination of the two beyond just the sum of the parts, following next quarters consummation of a $4.5 billion cash transaction that will fold Mercury into the HP Software business unit.

Much has been said about the companies differences: on the plus side, their complementary product lines; on the downside, their cultural divide. The brightest blip on our radar, though, is the degree to which both companies have sought—with some success—to offer sustainable management for the growing complexity and scale of enterprise IT.

/zimages/7/28571.gifClick here to read a Q&A with HP Executive Vice President Ann Livermore about her companys purchase of Mercury Interactive.

This isnt the first time that eWEEK Labs has had to answer the question, "What makes this a good buy for HP?" When HP pursued Compaq in 2001, we observed that the companies strongest synergy was between HPs OpenView and Compaqs VersaStor in managing large-scale storage architectures.

As it turned out, though, the story in which we said that—published on Sept. 10, 2001—came literally on the eve of a need to address other new and complex concerns. In the world post-9/11 and post-Enron, HP faces enterprise buyers aggressively seeking the flexible integration of SOAs (service-oriented architectures), while concurrently meeting new demands to achieve improved IT governance.

Mercurys tools and packaged services for compliance-oriented configuration management are thus a valuable new strength for the OpenView portfolio. Mercurys own acquisition earlier this year of SOA governance guru Systinet makes Mercury an even more attractive addition to HPs assets.

Its perhaps a bit perverse that buyers who are building more modular SOA systems, and facing demands for better governance, may find themselves doing so with more monolithic offerings from a company that will have some governance ghosts at its feast when scandal-plagued Mercury weds HP.

For eWEEK Labs, testing the effectiveness of the integration represents an additional task and level of complexity compared to testing the individual functions of formerly separate products. We invite and welcome readers input on any resulting concerns that we should address.

Technology Editor Peter Coffee can be reached at peter_coffee@ziffdavis.com.

/zimages/7/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.