New HP Application Lifecycle Product Combines Quality And Performance Management

Hewlett-Packard has taken two of its application management platforms, HP Quality Center and HP Performance Center, and united them in an effort to provide organizations with a single, automated product for developing, testing, delivering and monitoring their applications.

December 3, 2010

4 Min Read
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Hewlett-Packard has taken two of its application management platforms, HP Quality Center and HP Performance Center, and united them in an effort to provide organizations with a single, automated product for developing, testing, delivering and monitoring their applications.

HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) 11 is designed to support those involved in the applications delivery process, such as business analysts requesting new software, developers, quality analysts and system administrators. According to HP, the product integrates with a variety of development tools and enables the automation of workflow processes within and across applications teams. It combines new versions of HP Quality Center, a suite for managing application quality and application testing, and HP Performance Center, a suite for testing and optimizing application performance. Both suites include updates and new functionality.

Two years in the making, the platform was designed with the idea that building software is a team sport, not an isolated set of activities, according to Mark Sarbiewski, vice president of products with HP's software division. Each product within HP ALM 11 has a discrete function, but all the work and associated data created and managed with the products feeds into a single repository, enabling organizations to create workflow processes and best practices that can be shared across the enterprise.

In addition to unveiling an overall, unified solution, HP has added updated versions of products and introduced new products. For example, there is a new version of HP's LoadRunner, an automated performance and load testing product designed to help organizations test system behavior and performance while generating actual load. HP has added TruClient to LoadRunner for streamlining the scripting process to reduce testing time and shorten release cycles, particularly for Web 2.0 apps created with AJAX. With TruClient, novice and non-technical users can participate in script creation, and when the user interacts with an application, TruClient captures every step in the form of a script.

HP has added a new product call Sprinter, aimed at functional testing. Typically, when building new software, someone has to sit in front of it and start banging away, says Sarbiewski. Sprinter automatically displays steps that should be followed during that manual testing and captures all the steps taken. Sprinter includes a capability called mirror testing that enables users to test one machine and then automatically perform that same testing sequence on other machines, even those with different operating systems and browser apps. If an error occurs on any of the machines, that error is flagged and the tester will be alerted.Health-care services company and drug wholesaler Cardinal Health has been using HP Performance Center and plans to upgrade to HP ALM 11 within the next six months, says Donald Jackson, a certified product consultant and senior engineer with Cardinal Health. Cardinal Health currently leverages HP Performance Center as a software as a service (SaaS); HP has been offering both HP Performance Center and HP Quality Center as SaaS offerings and will continue to do so with HP ALM 11.

"The SaaS model has been a huge benefit for us. The biggest benefit from SaaS is that we can focus our Performance Engineering team on tuning and testing our applications rather than having to dedicate time and energy of skilled resources on administrating the Performance Center infrastructure and installations. In addition, as new versions of the tool arrive, we can continue to not lose focus on our applications that we need to work against, letting SaaS handle upgrades and support," Jackson said.

Jackson says Cardinal Health is looking forward to the support for Java over HTTP, which is an enhancement in HP Performance center. "With the inclusion of this new protocol, Cardinal Health estimates being able to save on a single suite of our applications 20-plus man-days per quarter," he says. In addition, Cardinal Health has plans to take advantage of the shared infrastructure with HP Quality Center, which will let Jackson and his colleagues "more easily trace defects through runs and back to requirements, enabling us to have more meaningful conversations with the application owners and project managers."

HP ALM 11 is available now. Pricing is dependent upon configuration and number of concurrent licenses. For those HP customers that currently have the premier version of Quality Center, HP ALM 11 is an automatic upgrade when customers are ready to do so. For those that have different versions of either HP Quality Center or HP Performance Center, there is an upgrade path. In addition to purchasing HP ALM 11 as a total package, customers can purchase new, individual versions of either HP Quality Center or HP Performance Center, which are subsets of HP ALM 11.

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