HP touts its adaptive strategy

Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co. provided further details surrounding its Adaptive Enterprise (AE) management strategy last month, releasing several new and enhanced solutions under the autonomic computing initiative.

With the services-focused AE strategy, the Palo Alto, Calif. company joins rivals such as IBM Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc. in offering autonomic computing solutions (analogous to our body’s ability to involuntarily regulate itself) on a utility basis.

Officially announced in May, AE revolves around providing software and services which enable enterprises to assess how potential issues with its IT architecture might affect specific business functions. The scalable and “self-healing” properties of AE, said Lynn Anderson, marketing vice-president at Mississauga, Ont.-based Hewlett Packard (Canada) Ltd., are ideally suited for Canadian companies, which generally operate heterogeneous environments.

Part of AE is the Darwin Reference Architecture, which is the company’s overall framework for business agility, efficiency and stability, Anderson said. Whether organizations decide to manage their own IT environments or adopt an outsourcing approach, the strategy allows migration from a traditional management system that monitors and alerts to one that automatically assesses and acts across the enterprise IT stack, she added. HP is looking at “opportunities” within the Canadian midmarket, she said.

According to HP customer Margo Weeks, vice-president of IS for RadioShack Canada Ltd., the Barrie, Ont.-based electronics retailer maintains a relatively small IT staff, so the challenge was to successfully implement and maintain a multilingual – primarily English and French – e-commerce offering that increased availability of production data and eased user congestion. “We needed to move to a horizontal architecture, not vertical silos,” Weeks said.

The company’s e-business strategy is different than most in that its Web site, while permitting customers to shop online, is primarily designed to funnel business to the storefronts. Weeks said the company is using HP ProLiant servers, HP migration and implementation services while upgrading to Microsoft’s .Net platform.

HP has been focusing more on software – specifically its OpenView management software solutions – since leaving the application server market in 2002. At its recent HP Software Forum in Chicago, the firm released 30 tools and updates as part of the AE strategy, including a Web services tool management solution and new self-healing features to OpenView software that track potential problems and suggest corrective measures to an IT staff.

Most of the offerings announced are updates of existing products, repackaged to fall under the AE umbrella. It’s a start, but experts note that HP still has a way to go in shoring up its software offerings. The strategy does give customers a better vision of where HP is heading, said Nashua, N.H.-based Jonathan Eunice, principal analyst and IT advisor for Illuminata Inc.

“Adaptive Enterprise speaks directly to the agility of businesses, not just their IT departments,” Eunice said.