RealTime IT News

HP Buys Bear First Fruit

HP used an event in Spain to introduce software that configures computing services and applications based on changes in business demand.

Officials from the Palo Alto, Calif., company unveiled the new OpenView Automation Manager as the first software from its Novadigm and Consera Software acquisitions this year.

Launched at the Software Universe show in Madrid, the tool adjusts on the fly to meet peaks in order processing for applications, servers, storage and networks, based on service-level objectives and transaction demand.

OpenView Automation Manager also employs business intelligence technology from HP Labs, according to Todd DeLaughter, vice president and general manager, Management Software Organization, HP.

The product improves on current OpenView change and configuration management software by determining when the desired state needs to be changed in order to satisfy business priorities. It then automatically provisions changes based on current demand.

In one Automation Manager use case, a financial services client uses the tool for real-time monitoring and analysis of how IT incidents impact its business. In the event of a bottleneck during a transaction, Automation Manager analyzes and decides such tasks as whether or not to add another application server.

Such products are valuable because they allow IT managers to minimize manual management without adding new hardware or applications. Engineers can look into their data centers and understand their make-up and what they should look like.

"Automation and insight are two key pain points our customers are struggling with at this point," DeLaughter told internetnews.com. "How do you take the reams of data and string them up into something meaningful?"

DeLaughter argued that Automation Manager trumps competing products from IBM's Tivoli line and Opsware because they don't rely on scripts to operate, rendering those software tools more rigid. HP's model-based approach offers more flexibility, he said, and pares costs through task automation and resource optimization.

Competition among management software vendors is strong, with IBM, HP Computer Associates, BMC, Opsware and even Microsoft mixing it up in a market Gartner said topped $5.6 billion in 2003. IBM Monday unveiled an on-demand Tivoli center to lure and educate more customers.

Automation Manager will be available later this month on Windows, Linux, and eventually HP-UX. HP expects the software will be popular with blade server environments. Pricing depends on how much automation is built in, but generally starts at $1,000 per server.

DeLaughter also revealed that HP has refreshed its home-cooked OpenView Service Desk. Version 5.0 includes new, off-the-shelf reports, service and service-level agreement (SLA) templates, as well as a Web graphical user interface that is kinder on the eyes.

The enhanced HP OpenView Service Level Manager 5.0 module of Service Desk makes defining, agreeing, measuring, reporting and improving the quality of service to run IT like a business. Used with Service Desk 5.0, the module sends out alarms around compliance in real time. The product supports Windows and Unix and will move to a Web-based Java interface in due time.

The third product HP is highlighting in Madrid this week is OpenView SelectFederation, a piece of identity management software that will work with the company's SelectAccess and SelectIdentity tools to provide a fully interoperable suite for enabling Web services through various devices.

SelectFederation gives clients the ability to establish and maintain IDs across different technology platforms, such as Windows-based or Unix-oriented domains where code differs. For example, a handheld device fitted with SelectFederation could access different services from disparate sources via the Web with no trouble.

The tool is based on technology from OEM partner Trustgenix and supports Security Assurance Markup Language (SAML) and the Liberty Alliance. It will be available in the first quarter of 2005 with platform support and pricing to be named later.

To sell more OpenView products to the customers who need network management, DeLaughter said HP has embarked on a reseller agreement with Cisco, which will now sell OpenView products on their price list and through their sales force.