HP Hoists Software Upgrades

Vendor touts enhancements around configuration management, Web 2.0, and ITIL

June 19, 2007

4 Min Read
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HP has unveiled a slew of software enhancements designed to speed up the roll-out of new IT storage and server projects. (See HP Adds Software, Services.)

The enhancements, focused on what HP describes as Business Technology Optimization (BTO), were unveiled today at an HP event dubbed "HP Software Universe" in Las Vegas. They leverage products from recent M&A activity by HP in this space, including the purchase of BTO specialist Mercury Interactive in a $4.5 billion deal last year, followed by the acquisition of Bristol Technology earlier this year. (See HP Finalizes Mercury Buy and HP Acquires Bristol.)

Specifically, HP has overhauled its software offerings around configuration management, Web 2.0 applications, and emerging compliance requirements, such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). (See CA Joins CMDB Working Group, Keynote Monitors Web 2.0 Apps, and ITIL Irritates IT Managers.)

In the configuration management database (CMDB) arena, for instance, HP has enhanced its Universal CMDB offering, built on technology acquired when the vendor bought Mercury Interactive. (See HP Purchases Mercury.) Universal CMDB incorporates automatic discovery of devices, systems, and applications, and sets up a repository of information about them and their relationships to one another. Technologies covered by the platform include servers, storage, and networking devices. (See Storage Left Out of CMDB Loop, Opsware Adds Orchestrator, and Configure This!)

The software has now been expanded to share data from over 75 different applications within HP's BTO portfolio, including help desk, change management, and service management offerings.Other upgrades to the former Mercury portfolio include HP's Quality Center and LoadRunner software. Quality Center, which aims to examine the quality of software roll-outs, has been upgraded with a feature called "agile testing," which identifies the specific impact of software releases and patches, highlighting the knock-on effect on other systems.

At least one Mercury user is looking forward to getting her hands on the upgrade. "We're an Oracle ERP shop, and Oracle is releasing more complex patches, so we're looking to document requirements more quickly," says Kim Puttnam, information systems project lead at Oregon Health & Science University and co-chair of the Portland Mercury User Group. "We're hoping that the new enhancements to Quality Center will allow us to do that."

There has been concern in some quarters that, all too often, storage is low priority when vendors formulate their CMDB strategies, although Michel Feaster, HP's director of products for change and configuration told Byte and Switch that Universal CMDB supports both HP and EMC storage (See Storage Left Out of CMDB Loop.)

Other vendors can also be added to this mix thanks to a feature called "custom discovery pattern", according to the exec. "You can extend the Universal CMDB today to teach it about other technologies it may not know about," she explains.

Another upgraded Mercury product is LoadRunner, an application testing package that has been beefed up for Web 2.0 applications, such as those involving wikis and blogs. (See IBM Exec Declares Web 2.0, In Search of Enterprise 2.0, and Woven Readies 10-Gig Switch.)Just how much end-user demand there is for Web 2.0 testing remains to be seen. "There's not a whole lot of Web 2.0 testing going on in the southeast region right now [but] in the next year, year and a half, there will be," says Scott Moore president of Brentwood, Tenn.-based testing firm Loadtester.com, and a member of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based Mercury User Group.

HP is not the only vendor bolstering its portfolio of testing and configuration management products. Rival Compuware recently tied a range of application management offerings into a single solution.

Other enhancements unveiled by HP today focus on the area of service management, with the vendor adding a set of pre-defined ITIL processes to its Best Practices for Service Center software. (See HP Enhances With ITIL v3 and ITIL v3 Launches Today.)

The upgrades to Quality Center and LoadRunner are available now, with the former available free of charge to users with existing maintenance agreements, and the latter priced on the number of concurrent users running a load test.

The ITIL enhancements to Best Practice for Service Center are also available today, with pricing varying by customer implementation.Universal CMDB, which is available now, is free of charge to existing users of HP's Service Desk and Service Center software. For other users, pricing will depend on the number of devices they manage.

James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • Compuware Corp. (Nasdaq: CPWR)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Mercury Interactive Corp.

  • Oracle Corp.

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