HP Acquisitions Add Up

OpenView platform stands to gain new capabilities.

In acquiring Novadigm and Consera Software this month, Hewlett-Packard continued a buying spree that has brought a number of small companies under its corporate umbrella. The purpose of the acquisitions is to enrich HPs OpenView enterprise management platform, which is an integral part of the companys Adaptive Enterprise strategy.

Enterprise management, once freighted with legions of high-priced consultants and grand ideas of controlling everything from laptops and PCs to mainframes and back-office applications, is making a gradual comeback, thanks in part to HPs renewed efforts. The Novadigm and Consera buys came on the heels of other purchases. Last July, HP acquired Baltimore Technologies Identity Management Solutions. In September, HP snapped up Talking Blocks Web services management platform. And in November came Persist Technologies for information lifecycle management. Baltimore was struggling just to keep afloat in the always-difficult-to-implement public-key infrastructure market. The addition of Baltimore to HPs Adaptive Enterprise stable means that some decent authentication technology will be added to the OpenView data center software stack.

The most important requirements of successful enterprise management are these: First, companies must be willing to spend 3 to 5 percent of their IT budget on management products; second, IT managers must ensure that their currently deployed management tools are fully leveraged before bringing in new tools; third, IT pros must build management infrastructures with a top-to-bottom approach, ensuring the health and security of physical devices and basic logical connections at the bottom, while ensuring that applications at the top are properly tuned for enterprise use.

This is where HPs acquisitions of Novadigm and Consera make a lot of sense. Building on the strong foundation of HPs OpenView Network Node Manager in ensuring that the basic physical and logical network structure is in stable working order, HP is now reaching into the middle to take care of provisioning through Novadigm technology and service modeling using Conseras products.

I have worked with Novadigm, and it is not the very best desktop, server and laptop management suite. Its surpassed in various ways by Altiris Client Management Suite, Marimbas Client Management family, Novells ZENworks products and even Microsofts Systems Management Server. However, Novadigm is pretty good and should prove more than suitable for IT managers who are thinking of taking the Adaptive Enterprise plunge.

Consera technology should allow IT managers to build models that map business services. Novadigms automation services can use the models to make sure servers, desktops and other end-user devices have the right software.

Following marching orders that have clearly come from the companys highest echelons, HP is working to overcome the lethargy that characterized OpenView development during the past three to four years. HP Senior Vice President Nora Denzel said, and I agree, that HP has traditionally done well in integrating third-party products into OpenView, which is still one of the most widely used network management platforms in large IT organizations.

HPs renovated OpenView will give CA, with its Unicenter enterprise management platform, and IBM, with its Tivoli management family, a real run for the money. Although all three companies are hampered by their support of legacy systems and outdated operating systems, HP has shown the most gumption in getting out of a rut. For this reason I think IT managers should circle back and spend some time with the products that make up the Adaptive Enterprise strategy.

Chances are, most IT managers will find they already have a fair amount of HP software in place, such as OpenView NNM. IT pros could take this opportunity to make those previous investments pay by using their already-installed software as the basis for implementing new change management components—such as those HP has acquired.

Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant can be reached at cameron_sturdevant@ziffdavis.com.