HP unifies management of its server lines

FRAMINGHAM – Hewlett-Packard Co. this week announced more than 40 IT management products and services in an effort to further its autonomic computing initiative, including new software that provides systems management capabilities across its Windows, Linux and Unix server lines.

The cross-platform product, called Systems Insight Manager, brings together three tools that HP previously sold separately and unifies management of the company’s ProLiant, Integrity and HP 9000 servers. The product can also handle plug-in tools for managing PCs, storage devices, printers and power supplies as well as some third-party software, HP said.

In addition, HP said that Systems Insight Manager can be integrated with OpenView Operations and OpenView Network Node Manager, the company’s flagship enterprise management tools.

Subhash Tantry, executive vice president of engineering and operations at CenterBeam Inc., said the San Jose-based IT outsourcing vendor wants to use Systems Insight Manager in its data centre, which houses hundreds of servers for the company’s North American customers. CenterBeam runs HP’s Insight Manager 7 tool now but needs the new software’s cross-platform capabilities.

“We service the midsize market, and the diversity of hardware and software is huge,” Tantry said. “We prefer to have one (management tool) that is extensive and monitors multiple nodes.” Systems Insight Manager also has a “more intuitive and process-oriented interface,” he added.

Because of the nature of its business, CenterBeam has tried to keep abreast of all the management products from HP and its competitors, such as Computer Associates International Inc. and IBM Corp.’s Tivoli software unit, said Brian Johnson, director of public relations at CenterBeam.

“HP is on the right track” by attempting to bring all its management tools under its autonomic computing strategy, Johnson said.

In addition to introducing Systems Insight Manager and other products, HP said it plans to buy Persist Technologies Inc., a Pleasanton, Calif.-based vendor of software for archiving e-mail messages, Microsoft Office data and other types of information. HP didn’t disclose the cost of the acquisition, which is part of its plan to develop a set of information life-cycle management tools.

HP also announced an agreement with business applications vendor SAP AG, under which they will work together to facilitate management of IT infrastructures at large companies that want to adopt autonomic computing — or adaptive management, in HP’s parlance. Another facet of last week’s rollout was a set of IT management best practices, including new certification programs and process templates designed to help users align IT with business needs.

The series of announcements are typical for HP, which tends to lump dozens of management software revisions into announcements every six months, said Laura Koetzle, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass.

Koetzle said that HP “is making a lot of strides in rationalizing all the systems management software it has.” She gave HP a slight edge over Tivoli in the race to develop autonomic management tools.