Big Changes Afoot for OpenView

New vision calls for integration of management functions throughout the lifecycle of a service, from service creation or provisioning through service assurance or delivery and service usage or billing

Much of Hewlett-Packard Co.s Utility Data Center news relies on OpenView technology, which itself will see major changes in HPs latest set of announcements. In its latest OpenView developments, HP is delivering on the Integrated Services Management vision it laid out last June at the OpenView Users Forum.

That vision calls for integration of management functions throughout the lifecycle of a service, from service creation or provisioning through service assurance or delivery and service usage or billing. HP will introduce three new integrated service assurance bundles centered around Unix, Windows NT and communication networks.

"It allows the service provider or enterprise to identify the customer they are providing services to and write a service-level agreement [SLA]. Then it instruments all the elements in the infrastructure responsible for providing the service and connects them in a visual way, so the operator can get a view of how the service is performing," said Brenda Peffer, director of marketing for OpenView, in Cupertino, Calif.

Key to the modular bundles, based on existing products, is new integration between the products that allows users to "write a SLA once and have all the downstream tools understand the SLA is in place and provide information specific to the SLA," Peffer said. The products also include a new GUI designed to provide a variety of views into the infrastructure, whether its a high-level business view or detailed drill-down for problem diagnosis.

"One of the biggest problems operators have is all the noise" generated by a multitude of faults that can be meaningless. "By integrating, the operator can understand a particular fault is critically important because its affecting gold-class customers," Peffer said.

That kind of ability for different management products to exchange information in an automated way has been the Holy Grail of the enterprise management industry, according to Deb Curtis, research director for network and systems management at Gartner Inc., in Stamford, Conn. "This is the kind of integration and data sharing we hoped for back in the framework days. They are automating information exchange and, bless me, they are doing it in a standard way using XML. Theyre wisely using a standard means to exchange information rather than reinventing the wheel. Theyve taken a pragmatic approach," said Curtis.

HP will also surprise Curtis and others by delivering before years end a new OpenView Network Node Manager option that integrates Layer 2 auto-discovery and monitoring based on technology from Riversoft Inc. The new OpenView Network Node Manager Extended Topology option allows operators to understand the interplay of different networking components, such as LAN switches and routers, and to understand "whats connected to what," said Peffer. The option also provides VLAN and WAN support, and it is designed to speed fault isolation and problem diagnosis.

The OpenView unit, since HPs acquisition of Trinagy and its Trend performance management tools last August, will provide distribution and global support for those products. Redubbed OpenView Performance Insight for Networks, it will be marketed through HP channels.

HP also integrated its storage area management products with OpenView Operations and with the OpenView Service Information Portal, providing a single view of all managed infrastructure components. In addition, HP added the ability in its Integrated Service Assurance for Storage offerings support for EMC storage products.

The OpenView organization, once a highly decentralized operation with a history of independent developments and long lead times for delivering new functions, now appears to be in sync, believes OpenView user Mark Whatman, chief architect for infrastructure architecture at Avaya Inc., in Maitland, Fla.

"The reorg and the one-shop view—instead of eight different developing entities--are finally bearing some fruit," Whatman said. "Were seeing products that are integrated and work with other products. They speak with one voice. They never did that before. They finally realized they wanted to be a software company instead of having software support their hardware. This is a separate software entity on its own."