HP Hones Management Tools

Hewlett-Packard and others are sharpening their focus on enterprise management tools as increasing complexity in data centers drives the need for better IT resource management.

Hewlett-Packard Co. and others are sharpening their focus on enterprise management tools as increasing complexity in data centers drives the need for better IT resource management.

At the companys Technology Forum here last week, HP executives said enterprise management software will be a key focus going forward with continued growth of HPs OpenView and SIM (Systems Insight Manager) offerings. In addition, two other software vendors—Opsware Inc. and Opalis Software Inc.—last week rolled out enhanced versions of their management products.

In her keynote speech at the HP Technology Forum, Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the Technology Solutions Group, said the Palo Alto, Calif., company would continue to find ways to improve the management software, both through acquisitions and in-house development. She pointed to HPs recent moves to buy AppIQ Inc., RLX Technologies Inc. and Peregrine Systems Inc. as examples. "Many of the acquisitions youve seen us make ... have been around management," Livermore said.

Russell Daniels, vice president and chief technology officer of HPs Software Global Business Unit, said Mark Hurd has made business software a priority since taking over as president and CEO in March. With that in mind, the company will look for the best ways of integrating the new capabilities gained through the acquisitions while also making a broad marketing push to let customers know what it has to offer.

"There has been a significant gap between what the industry thought we had [in management software offerings] and what we had," Daniels said.

Acquiring RLX Technologies Control Tower management software will immediately improve what SIM can do in the Linux and blade server arenas, Daniels said. HP software personnel also are considering ways the technology could boost capabilities in other areas, such as management of Windows environments.

Users said HPs focus on management software makes sense at a time when the differences in hardware are blurring. "As much as you can simplify things, thats very good," said Kristi Browder, director of IT at Silicon Laboratories Inc., in Austin, Texas, and president of the Encompass HP User Group. "If you can get them under one roof, thats also valuable."

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Browder said her company is looking to introduce blades into its environment and that she is evaluating several vendors. "Whos going to win is basically whos got the best tools," she said. "Hardware is a commodity; software is the big differentiator."

Opsware, of Sunnyvale, Calif., at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo here last week announced an upgrade to its Network Automation System. Version 4.5 is aimed at providing better control over disparate and networked systems. New features include automatic identification of devices with multiple interfaces, a new Web services API and JMS (Java Message Service) Connector for better change and configuration management, automatic prioritization, and remediation of policy violations.

Opalis Software, of Mississauga, Ontario, next month will release Version 5.0 of its Integration Server, which links data center resources to enable automated processes. Features include new integration packs for such monitoring applications as BMC Software Inc.s Patrol, HPs Service Desk and VMware Inc.s VirtualCenter.

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