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HP to Buy Opsware for $1.6B

Hewlett-Packard has agreed to buy data center automation supplier Opsware for about $1.6 billion in cash and debt acquisition in a deal expected to close by October 2007. (See HP to Acquire Opsware.)

While viewed as a largely positive step by financial gurus, the acquisition opens questions about the extent of HP's commitment to storage as an element of data center automation. (More on that momentarily.)

First, the basics: HP plans to keep Opsware's 550 employees, who are conveniently based in Sunnyvale, Calif. HP is headquartered in nearby Palo Alto. Opsware CEO Benjamin Horowitz will join HP as head of HP's Business Technology Optimization (BTO) group, which incorporates "heritage Openview" products, Opsware, and software acquired by HP with past acquisitions, including those of Peregrine Systems and Mercury Interactive. (See HP Finalizes Mercury Buy.)

Horowitz will answer to Thomas E. Hogan, SVP of HP software, who in turn reports to Ann Livermore, EVP of HP's Technology Solutions Group.

The Opsware acquisition buttresses BTO solution with run book automation, a key enabler of data center automation. Other elements of the company's BTO strategy include a freshly enhanced Universal Configuration Management Database (CMDB), which HP unveiled with other BTO software upgrades in June. (See HP Hoists Software Upgrades.)

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