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HP software targets service management
HP OpenView is a very good example of a software brand with high levels of public recognition and, indeed, with a reputation for quality. This is a relatively unusual state of affairs when you consider that HP is a company better known for its hardware products rather than its software tools. At its Software Forum event in Seattle, the new HP this week announced the latest releases in its growing range of software tools.
The company issued a raft of announcements covering many of HP OpenView's constituent offerings with Service Management clearly forming a particular area of focus. Cesare Capobianco, General Manager Software Global Business Unit, EMEA, stated that the software group's aims are "to provide tools that help customers to reduce the cost of managing their systems, simplify operations and to reduce the risk inherent in running complex IT environments."
At the top of the list, HP OpenView's highly regarded Network Node Manager has been enhanced with the addition of extended capabilities to help streamline and accelerate root cause analysis with new features covering topology, smart event correlations, scalability and correlation maintenance. At the same time OpenView Service Desk 4.5 has been updated to provide new Service Level Management facilities and now makes use of an OpenXML interface.
Another area that HP is addressing covers the management of Web services with the release of OpenView Transaction Analyzer, which helps to identify performance bottlenecks in both J2EE and .NET architectures. The tool operates in BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere and Microsoft .NET environments to analyse the path of transactions and identify network, server or application bottlenecks. The product can be deployed as a stand-alone solution or in conjunction with HP OpenView Internet Services to facilitate end-to-end response time monitoring and diagnosis.
HP also launched a number of the so-called 'Smart Plug-Ins' (SPIs). OpenView Smart Plug-In for WebMethods provides automatic discovery and maintenance of business processes, whilst OpenView Smart Plug-In for IBM WebSphere facilitates the management of WebSphere systems, and OpenView Smart Plug-In for Sun ONE Web services offers similar capabilities in Sun One architectures. SPIs for .NET and BEA WebLogic are already available.
HP software also possesses very strong storage management tools (including the OmniBack II suite) and these are moving into the OpenView brand. In Seattle the company announced two new storage management products, namely OpenView Storage Data Protector and OpenView Storage Area Manager. HP OpenView Storage Data Protector software uses a service-driven approach that shifts the focus of data protection from backup to recovery. The software provides disk-based instant recovery capabilities and unlike traditional tools that focus exclusively on tape-based recovery, OpenView Storage Data Protector enables both tape and disk-based recovery.
OpenView Storage Area Manager provides sophisticated management capabilities in multi-vendor storage infrastructures and now includes support for many new storage devices and switches.
All of these software announcements fit well with the overall 'Service-Driven' Management approach that HP OpenView advocates strongly to ensure that end users receive the IT service that the business requires at minimum cost. It is highly likely that we can expect the gradual introduction of Compaq software technologies into the new HP portfolio.
Overall, it is clear that HP has a very strong Infrastructure Management Software story to tell. Indeed, it is apparent that OpenView has mapped out its development over the next year or so in great detail, and we can expect the software arm of HP to bring ever more sophisticated offerings to market.
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