HP, Altiris cozy up with software suites

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) and systems management software vendor Altiris Inc. have strengthened their long-standing partnership with the release of two co-developed client management software bundles. Although the pair made the HP Client Foundation Suite and the HP Client Premium Suite available worldwide Friday, they didn’t publically announce the news until Monday.

HP and Altiris were originally due to unveil the new products on July 11, but they delayed the announcement so it wouldn’t be overshadowed by the steady stream of other HP product and restructuring news, according to Walt Jurek, worldwide marketing manager for HP’s client management solutions.

“This is the culmination of all the joint development work we [and HP] have done over the last four-plus years,” said Mark Magee, director of Altiris alliance product marketing. “Our level of integration with HP is unprecedented.”

The HP, Altiris relationship dates back to 1999 when Altiris had a close bond with Compaq, which was continued after HP acquired that computer maker. HP resells Altiris’ complete line of life-cycle management software under an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) deal.

The two new suites are aimed at companies of all sizes that are looking to carry out cross-platform client management, Jurek and Magee said.

The HP Client Foundation Suite retails at US$63, while the HP Client Premium Suite costs $92, each representing a cost saving of over 62 percent compared to what customers would pay to buy the software elements of the suite separately, according to HP’s Jurek. “This creates a price point that gives us a definite differential against other hardware vendors,” and provides users with a central console to manage their systems, he said.

The HP Client Foundation Suite includes five main software pieces — HP Client Manager 6.1, HP Systems Insight Manager Connector, Altiris Inventory Solution, Altiris Deployment Solution and Altiris Local Recovery Pro. The HP Client Premium Suite contains those products plus seven more: HP OpenView Connector, Altiris Software Delivery Solution, Altiris Patch Management Solution, Altiris Application Metering Solution, Altiris Connector Solution, Altiris Carbon Copy Solution and Altiris Application Management Solution.

Although HP and Altiris wouldn’t provide a precise figure for the number of customers they share, over a five-year period HP has sold 50 million licenses of Altiris software, according to Jurek. Last year, 10,000 people downloaded HP Client Manager, he added. HP polled those people as they downloaded the software as to the number of PCs they expected to manage and it was around the 10 million mark, Jurek said.

Jurek stressed that there is room for both the Altiris management software and the Radia product line HP acquired last year when it purchased Altiris rival Novadigm.

“Novadigm fills the high-end portion for very, very mature IT departments which really wanted [systems management] capability like a thermostat — you set it and forget it,” Jurek said. “There’s not a large population there. Both [Radia and Altiris] have their places. As we move forward, we’ll continue to have a complete product portfolio,” he added.

Magee at Altiris wouldn’t comment on his company’s profit warning issued on July 7. In a press release, Altiris said it would announce lower than predicted second-quarter financial results in early August in part due to HP’s below expectation OEM sales of Altiris software, with several larger deals being pushed back to future periods.

“With anticipated revisions to its sales compensation program, we expect a more modest contribution from HP during the second half of 2005,” Greg Butterfield, Altiris chairman and chief executive officer, said in the release. By contrast, Altiris had a strong second quarter with its newer OEM partner Dell Inc., the release noted.

“The best way for a detailed answer [on the relationship with HP] is to listen in to our earnings call on August 4,” Altiris’ Magee said.