HP Enters Business Service Management Fray

HP is emphasizing the integration of home-grown and acquired tools in its HP Network Management Center.

HP on Oct. 22 is ending its long silence on the subject of Business Service Management by launching an integrated portfolio of products based on enhanced OpenView tools and technologies acquired with Mercury Interactive.

The integration of tools from Mercury, Peregrine Systems and others, combined with major upgrades to several products, is intended add up to better network visibility and help customers integrate their network management tools.

The latter effort is hugely important to customers attempting to rationalize the disparate point solutions they have implemented over the years in an attempt to wrangle their networks into more manageable shape. Ironically, many of those products were purchased from vendors that have since been acquired by the likes of Hewlett-Packard.

The company has re-architected its HP Network Management Center, formerly known as OpenView Network Node Manager, and given major facelifts to HP Operations Center 8.0, HP Network Management Center 8.0, HP Business Availability Center 7.0 and HP Universal CMDB (Configuration Management Database) 7.0.

Notably, the Opsware data center automation technology HP acquired recently does not figure in these upgrades.

The revamp, four years in the making, moves HP Network Management Center beyond polling SNMP devices, allowing it to provide more end-to-end views of performance as experienced by end users, according to Ramin Sayar, senior director of products at HP, in Cupertino, Calif.

"We integrated [it] with our Business Availability Center 7.0 so that [one can] monitor the real user, understand the path the user traffic is taking and break down the session for the customer, and then see the exact path a transaction took and replay it back to understand all the dependencies with other routers and switches that may have caused degradation," he said.

The BAC integration allows passive analysis of real-time traffic in order to understand the time an application process spends at the user end, at the server and traversing the network.

While BAC provides the end-user monitoring, Network Management Center V 8.0i provides an understanding of the Layer 2 and Layer 3 that the application packets traversed, and mapping those together provides the complete path, improving efficiency and reducing mean time to repair, according to Joe Fox, product marketing manager in Roseville, Calif.

HP added new real-time discovery technology and built a new user interface on top of the n-tier architected offering, which is now much faster and easier to implement, according to Sayar.

Beta testers at Duquesne Light Company agreed with that assessment. "From what Ive seen so far working with our internal people and the consultant helping us customize it, the install was extremely easy—like a normal Windows install," said Tracy Ames, supervisor of IT Infrastructure for Duquesne Light, in Pittsburgh. "[Because of] Enhancements in the product to help set up rules and maps, looks like it should make things a lot easier on us," he said.


Click here to read more about HPs software integration road map.

The BSM suite, which emphasizes integration of different product lines developed internally and acquired with Mercury Interactive and Peregrine Systems, also features integration between HP Operations Center 8.0 and the BAC, as well as with a shared Universal Configuration Management Database developed originally at Mercury Interactive.

"Now all the products share the same service model, discovered and managed through the CMDB. It eliminates the need to manually create and maintain the service models," Sayar said.

Operations Center 8.0 can also now associate events with specific applications or business services, suppress other insignificant events and help operators "see the potential impact on service-level agreements, so they can understand which problems to fix first," Sayar said.

Version 7.0 of HP Business Availability Center, which provides end-user monitoring and problem diagnostics, also has guided workflow-enabled problem isolation. Integration with the HP Universal CMDB allows operators to determine whether recent, related configuration changes cause performance or availability problems. HP also integrated BAC with its transaction monitoring product, HP TransactionVision, and its business process monitoring product, HP Business Process Insight.

The HP Universal CMDB 7.0 release has "out-of-the-box federation" capabilities with other CMDBs and simplified visualization and compliance reports to streamline the change management process, Sayar said.

The new version is also integrated with the HP Service Desk, and provides initial integration with the Opsware process automation system that came with the Opsware iConclude acquisition.

HPs emphasis on integration is key, especially as enterprises look to consolidate the number of tools they use to manage IT infrastructure, said Stephen Elliot, an industry analyst with IDC.

"The proof will be in the integrations, and HPs ability to sell the value of the broader portfolio in those integrations. This is not an HP-specific challenge. Its an industry challenge," he said.

HPs BAC 7.0 and the HP Universal CMDB 7.0 are available now. HP Operations Center 8.0 and HP Network Management Center 8.0 are due in late November.


Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.