HP pieces together its software puzzle

Hewlett-Packard has united its 25 software products into two solutions in an effort to add emphasis to its dedication to software. At an announcement in San Francisco last month, HP said that one new suite and an expansion of another encompass the company’s vision for service-centric computing and are geared at building out the next-generation Internet.

“We are a US$2 billion software business and it is growing very rapidly,” said Bill Russell, vice-president of HP software solutions organization. “We are very conscious in this area where there are a lot of declarations and not a lot of content. We have been investing and enhancing.”

Through its new HP Netaction and expanded HP OpenView suites, the company hopes to boost its low-profile software business. The Netaction suite integrates technologies from Bluestone Software – the middleware company recently acquired by HP – into its existing software medley. Netaction includes HP e-speak and HP Process Manager. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said e-speak is the open software platform for e-services involving the Services Framework Specification (SFS) – a set of technical and business conventions based on XML registry software – and the Service Engine – high-performance software that enables the deployment environment for e-services.

Process Manager is equipped with a business-modelling tool and allows business managers and analysts to build solutions through the usage and re-usage of underlying business services provided by employees, business applications or business partners.

HP expects the OpenView suite to become the family name for an expanded software management suite. The company detailed several SLAs (service-level agreements) for OpenView that enhance storage area management for SANs (storage area networks), as well as a new IP multicasting tool. According to the company, OpenView already manages 70 per cent of all devices on the Internet.

Patty Azzarello, vice-president and general manager for HP OpenView, said that HP is continuing the pursuit of making information more meaningful for network administrators. Russell added that the company is going through a major architectural shift from a do-it-yourself model, to a do-it-for-me model.

According to Kate Fessenden, research director for enterprise XML for Aberdeen Group in Boston, HP has considered many factors in the recent announcement. Fessenden said that, historically, there has been talk that HP was less concerned with its software solutions than with its hardware solutions.

“This is to let the world know they are very serious about software,” Fessenden said. “They have done the acquisition of Bluestone, which is a huge significant piece of the software solution that they need.”

Fessenden said that many drivers have had influence over HP at this point, not least of which is competition. With IBM and Sun Microsystems making recent announcements of similar strategies, HP has had to up the pace to stay in the game.

“In order to grow, they knew they had to get involved with both feet and they had to do it consistently,” Fessenden said. “I do think they have made a serious attempt, and when HP makes a serious attempt, they usually achieve their goal.”

According to John Enright, vice-president of outsourcing services for Boston-based Integris, a provider of e-infrastructure outsourcing and system integration services, several HP software solutions have been installed at Integris, including OpenView and security products from the Netaction family.

“Since Integris is a service provider, our customers expect savings and high levels of quality,” Enright said. “With HP, this is realized through…product integration and innovation.”

HP Netaction and OpenView suites are available now and software can be purchased as a suite or individually. For more details, visit www.hp.com.