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HP Serves Up Multivendor Cloud Management

As more and more businesses make their way into the cloud, the ability to manage various suppliers becomes far more complex--especially for large enterprises. Another issue for IT is that business groups are rapidly adopting cloud services, often independent from their IT. Procurement of cloud services from external suppliers by such business groups is creating "supplier sprawl," which obscures IT’s visibility into all cloud services and suppliers.

HP Software is rolling out a set of new services geared toward helping large enterprises manage and govern complex multisupplier environments. The aim of the new HP Service Integration and Management (SIAM) offerings is to provide enterprises with a single view into cloud services provisioned both internally by IT and externally by non-IT business groups.

HP has seen customers go from outsourcing to one vendor to migrating to multiple providers for various aspects of IT processes, including network and desktop, and now adding cloud into the mix, says Michael Garrett, VP of professional services at HP Software. "What we’re finding is, given the complex sprawl of services, it’s therefore difficult for organizations to manage them consistently because there are different priorities for different services, different security requirements and different service levels." That makes it difficult for IT to get good visibility across all of those various providers, he adds.

According to the second InformationWeek Reports: State of Cloud Computing Survey, there is an appetite for the more-advanced cloud services now available. IT isn't going to the cloud just for plain-vanilla infrastructure services, such as paying for pay-per-use online servers or storage. Rather, once solid infrastructure is established, the real value shows up when services are layered on top.

The survey asked what "new" provider will be used during the next 12 months. Some respondents are already using Amazon, Terremark, Rackspace, GoGrid or other IaaS (infrastructure as a service) products. So these figures indicate that new cloud uses will focus on the higher-level services, wherever they might be found.

While the idea of operating as an integrator is certainly not new, what HP has done is to "package some of the knowledge they have around operating in these heterogeneous environments and insert cloud services into that mix," says Gard Little, research director, IT Consulting and Systems Integration Program, at IDC. The notion of cloud services as a complement or substitute for outsourcing services is of value to enterprises, he adds. The other new aspect of HP’s announcement is that the company is "trying to productize some of the knowledge it has doing this type of systems integration into its software."

Managing and measuring complex IT sourcing environments in terms meaningful to the business has become a pressing need for the CIO, particularly with the recent and rapid adoption of cloud computing, says Will Cappelli, research VP, Gartner, in a statement. "An end-to-end management solution to govern and measure multi-sourced IT environments will be critical to gaining timely service performance and financial information in order to optimize the IT supply chain and avoid the costs of supplier sprawl."

HP is addressing three new service offering areas: governance, which encompasses areas including compliance and risk management; business management, which focuses on areas including service portfolio, procurement management and financial reporting, and operational service management, which deals with managing suppliers and coordinating cross-supplier issues and activity.

HP Software runs a tiered process of activities with clients, such as a transformation workshop, to get an understanding of their strategies and goals and where they’re going with their service integration. The next step is working with clients to build out a roadmap service that looks at where the client is today, where gaps are, and where they want to be and what tools can be used to support delivery of that vision, Garrett says.

The company says SIAM will also decrease service disruption and related business risks by identifying the suppliers responsible for critical service interruptions. It will reduce IT maintenance costs, it adds, through the integration and centralization of multiple supplier services management.

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