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Consolidated Change

After so many years and so many vendor promises of centralized, multi-vendor network management, IT managers are still too often jumping back and forth between multiple console systems or, worse, handling many functions by hand that should be automated. Asset and storage management are two areas in which many applications still aren't fully integrated with management console software.

However, there was some promise of progress this week on both those fronts. HP announced its plans Monday to acquire not one, but two management software companies in an effort to deepen the management functionality from its its OpenView management system.The company's goal is to give IT managers more centralized - and automated - administrative control of their hardware and storage resources.

Peregrine Systems makes software that handles a number of aspects of asset management including asset tracking, process management, and expense controls, as well as an ITIL-based suite for problem, change, and service level management. AppIQ, HP's other acquisition target, offers software for storage area network (SAN) management and storage resource management. The AppIQ addition will expand OpenView's multi-vendor management capabilities.

Once the software is integrated with HP OpenView, IT managers and executives will have something they sorely need: more practical automated resource management functionality from a single console. Companies spend far too much time, and too much money, handling so many aspects of asset management by hand. And what they don't take on manually often doesn't get handled at all, presenting companies with a serious inventory management issue.

HP wasn't the only vendor on the acquisition trail. The purchase by enterprise content management vendor FileNet of compliance vendor Yaletown Technology Group gives the company's Records Manager a crucial automation capability - the ability to search stored documents to make sure they meet established regulatory rules. Yaletown's Records Crawler scans Microsoft file servers looking for newly created documents that comply with company business rules, which are established in FileNet's Records Manager software.

And Microsoft joined the pack with its decision to buy smart card management vendor Alacris Inc. These acquisitions follow Oracle's Siebel buy last week. That move marks consolidation of another kind. Bill Gates was one person who remained underwhelmed by Oracle's software strategy.

And speaking of Bill, his official word is that a Vista upgrade may not require a coinciding hardware upgrade. I am interested in hearing your thoughts on this. Please take a minute to weigh in on your company's plans with this week's poll. Thanks and have a great week.