OpenView Throws Its Hat into the CMDB Ring

HP is expected to unveil a roadmap for developing a federated approach to the configuration management database, leveraging SOA technology.

Hewlett-Packard on Feb. 27 will become the last of the big four enterprise management providers to announce its strategy for creating a common configuration management database scheme.

At the first HP Software Forum Asia Pacific conference in Sydney, HPs OpenView unit will outline its strategy and roadmap for developing a federated approach to the CMDB, leveraging SOA (service-oriented architecture) technology.

The "highly federated" approach provides for a centralized data model, but allows information to be "highly distributed," said Bill Emmett, manager of portfolio marketing for OpenView in Fort Collins, Colo.

"We are consolidating the data model and information about the processes you automate, and what you tie a CMDB to, but the information can be highly distributed," he said.

Although Emmett acknowledged that big OpenView competitors have come out sooner with their CMDB strategies, he said their timing has not given them a competitive edge, and that HPs use of SOA is unique.

At least one HP customer agreed.

"I dont think theyre late to market because [building a CMDB is] reasonably new for very large enterprises," said Dennis Deane, head of program management for global infrastructure at DHL Worldwide Network S.A. in Prague, Czech Republic.

"Theres not a lot [in the market] that can cover the very large enterprises. I think HP is on track," he added.

DHLs aim in its one-to-two-year CMDB project is to pull together asset data, financial data and service desk functions to be able to create a "holistic IT service management view," according to Deane.

The ultimate goal of the project, which employs 30 to 40 IT staff members full time, is to better control costs, he said.

HPs federated CMDB strategy calls for synchronization and reconciliation of configuration items as they change, so that "appropriate notification is made to the end user that needs that information [such as a help desk operator], and other data sources that care about [the change] get synchronized," he said.

HPs CMDB roadmap calls for HP to build out a discovery capability for applications and IT services this year.

And HP this year will "focus on facilitating a close-loop exchange of data" across different data sources.

For 2007 the roadmap calls for active SOA federation and a further build-out of discovery capability and the number of data sources that can be federated.

"Weve observed with customers building CMDBs that its a process you constantly improve on. Its not an off-the-shelf thing you buy. The CMDB is the data heart of ITIL," said Emmett.

By leveraging standard SOA Web services, HPs CMDB strategy will streamline integration of different data sources by eliminating the need for more complicated, point-to-point integrations for creating a single view of IT.

An open SOA can be less costly to maintain, and it allows for the translation of data between unique sources.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about HPs efforts in the SOA arena.

In the near term, HP on Feb. 27 will announce the first integration it has created between the HP OpenView Asset Center software it acquired with Peregrine Systems and HPs OpenView Service Desk.

The integration allows automated, bi-directional data sharing between each product.

The data sharing allows help desk operators to identify, locate and optimize IT assets ranging from PCs to mainframes to make service desks more responsive and improve service levels.

The integration component, dubbed Connect IT, is free for existing users and will be available next week.

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