HP opens up OpenView

Hewlett Packard Ltd. unleashed a slew of new components for its OpenView IT management platform at a recent user conference in Miami Beach, Fla., including capabilities that aim to let users better gauge the future and also get a firmer grip on the present realities of their computing environments.

Specifically, HP debuted an offering known as DecisionCenter, which allows IT executives to construct “what-if” scenarios based on historical data and to get an idea of what a potential change to staffing organization, for instance, would have on their businesses.

HP made the announcements during June’s HP Software Forum, a joint production of HP and OpenView Forum International, an OpenView user group.

Also announced at the event was some of the fruit borne from HP’s acquisition of Peregrine Software Inc. last December. OpenView AssetCenter 5.0 is an IT lifecycle management tool which serves up improved audit preparation and security functionality, as well as easier access to key asset data, HP claims.

“[The Peregrine offering] was a market-leading solution, so as an addition to the OpenView portfolio, it makes a lot of sense to have a strong asset management contender in there,” said Ross Armstrong, a senior analyst with Info-Tech Research Group in London, Ont. “For existing OpenView customers, I think it will definitely be a product that’s worth investigating.”

A modelling tool known as Application Insight 7.0 was also introduced, which groups apps and underlying infrastructures into a hierarchical model.

Although Application Insight is also designed to help IT shops manage license and support headaches, one Canadian user who attended the show would like to see more assistance from vendors such as HP in this area.

Brian MacKenzie, systems officer for CN in Montreal, is part of an IT operation that oversees approximately 35 sites throughout North America and which operates a private wide area network. At the railway’s Montreal headquarters, MacKenzie and his staff monitor applications, servers and mainframes, as well as the activities of signals and communications personnel throughout the continent.

“It’s a challenge to install (license management), whether it’s systems management or vulnerability management or access management. You have to deploy clients and agents across the board and you have to manage it. I’m looking for vendors — for HP in its asset management portfolio — to help us manage these licenses,” MacKenzie told ComputerWorld Canada in an interview.

As for the forthcoming products from HP announced at the Miami event, MacKenzie said his company is primarily interested in the offerings that will help manage its applications. “We’ve prioritized a lot of the applications, where we’ve built templates and rules and so on specific to automation,” he said, but added that third-party programs have to be employed to ensure that new apps will integrate with the increasingly automated OpenView console.

“I need to reduce the amount of effort it takes to build these rules and templates, especially in the case of release management. We spend a lot of time working with OpenView and applications in the case of a new release and going through all the release notes to see what changes (will come about) and what is going to impact automation.”

MacKenzie said he would like to lessen his dependency on these third-party tools, partly because of the cost incurred in using them.

“Sometimes you don’t need the full 100 per cent of the capability. In some cases, I’ve only used 20 per cent of the capability and it’s met my requirements, but I’m paying for the entire package.”

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