HP Joins SOA Fray With BEA

HP threw its hat into service-oriented architecture (SOA) ring Tuesday, announcing new software and services to protect and serve the delivery of distributed computing models for data centers.

HP is committing to the SOA model as another stepping stone in its quest to provide a fluid, dynamic “Adaptive Enterprise” for customers looking to automate data center change on the fly. Distributed computing models that often use Web services, SOAs are increasingly becoming the glue between software vendors and customers.

The company also used BEA Systems eWorld 2004 show in San Francisco as the launch pad for extending its long-time collaboration with the infrastructure software maker, which is itself intent on leading the SOA market, with software released under Projects “Beehive” and “Sierra.”

HP Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Shane Robison said during his keynote that SOAs, like their Web services brethren, help businesses benefit from changing processes, technologies and demand, bridging the gap between business and IT.

Robison said SOAs add value by breaking up silos of information, making it easier to reuse shared services, improve interoperability between systems and automate business processes.

While HP’s new Real-Time Information Director software and management software acquired in the company’s purchase of Web services specialist Talking Blocks comes after products or strategies from IBM, BEA and Oracle, the company has the same advantage rival Big Blue has in a massive team of services professionals.

HP will waste no effort in throwing those 2,000 consulting and integration experts at its SOA offerings as part of its Adaptive Enterprise strategy and, according to a company statement, has implemented SOAs for more than
500 customers to date.

HP said it also inked a non-binding pact with BEA to integrate HP OpenView management software more deeply throughout BEA’s WebLogic Enterprise Platform. The goal of this pact is to make it easier for joint customers to create and manage SOAs.

As for the software, Real-Time Information Director is based on years of development and more than 30 implementations of HP’s Zero Latency Enterprise (ZLE) architecture created in the outfit’s NonStop business. The software uses BEA WebLogic Server to apply business rules in real time, and integrates and distributes business data across company, supplier and partner systems.

Geared for supply chain, finance, retail and telecom, the new software cuts custom coding typically associated with real-time business transactions and projects.

Moreover, HP is offering SOA Management software vis-á-vis technology acquired through its 2003 purchase of Talking Blocks. HP has built the HP OpenView Management Integration Platform on top software from the Talking Blocks buy to let customers manage services across the entire lifecycle.

Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst for SOA and Web services research firm ZapThink, said HP is making its play at the right time.

“It’s definitely not too late for HP to move into the SOA space in a big way,” Bloomberg told internetnews.com. “In fact, their timing is probably quite good, considering that the number of enterprises who are now considering SOAs has spiked over the last few months. It didn’t make sense for the likes of HP to offer a strong SOA story through last year, because
they weren’t yet getting strong demand for such products from their customers.”

Bloomberg said SOAs have been on HP’s roadmap for OpenView for well over a
year, as evidenced by the Talking Blocks acquisition.

“Now the time is right for HP, as well as CA, to move into leadership positions in the Web Services Management space — with IBM Tivoli not far behind,” he continued. “As for the small players — Actional, AmberPoint, Blue Titan, Digital Evolution, Flamenco Networks, Infravio, NetIQ, and Westbridge Technology — the clock is ticking.”

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