HP unveils

Hewlett-Packard Co. celebrated the one-year anniversary of its Compaq merger with the rollout of its new Adaptive Enterprise strategy and a sneak peek at its management software roadmap for the next 12 months.

In a press conference earlier this month, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company launched various new services, software and solutions, along with Darwin – a new enterprise reference architecture. HP CEO Carly Fiorina said the strategy emphasizes automatic management, straightforward integration and architectural flexibility, and is designed to help organizations better connect IT and business operations. Since the merger, HP has cut its own IT costs by 25 per cent, Fiorina said.

In all, the company released 15 products and services. The offerings include Software Self-healing Services for OpenView; HP Virtual Server Environment solution, powered by an enhanced version of HP-UX Workload Manager; and a new Agility Assessment Service, designed to help IT organizations measure and assess specific IT agility needs. As part of the launch, HP released “enhanced” management software and new self-healing solutions for HP OpenView designed to “proactively” resolve technical issues via expansion of the dynamic allocation and troubleshooting capabilities of HP’s network software.

Specifically, Darwin will integrate business processes with virtually every enterprise product, service and standard that HP supports, according to Lynn Anderson, vice-president of marketing, strategic solutions and partners at HP Canada in Mississauga, Ont. The new strategy focuses on Virtual Server software, autonomic computing and integration tools, Anderson noted, adding that HP’s plan is to eventually extend the Virtual Server Environment to the Windows and Linux operating systems, though no timeframe is out yet as to when the extension will be available.

Companies such as Accenture Ltd., BEA Systems Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., PeopleSoft and SAP have committed to support HP’s new initiative. For Canadian companies, said Greg Lane, director of business development for Deloitte Consulting in Ottawa, there is a growing interest in the concept of autonomic computing. The main issue, Lane noted, is around standards and interoperability – and how well the technologies allow enterprise flexibility.

Once one cuts through the marketing hype, according to Jonathan Eunice, principal analyst and IT advisor for Illuminata Inc. in Nashua, N.H., HP’s Adaptive Enterprise (AE) does appear give the company a much needed boost to counter competing offerings, such as Sun Microsystems’ N1 or IBM’s On Demand initiatives, which both have similar autonomic computing models.

“AE directly apes IBM’s On Demand. One could argue that both AE and On Demand are ‘larger’ and more inclusive than the infrastructure-focused N1,” Eunice said.

Indeed, HP’s rivals were quick to cast the company’s adaptive enterprise campaign as a marketing manoeuvre posing as an operating strategy. “This is a repackaging of what we’ve seen come out over the last few months,” said Paul Phillips, Sun Microsystems Inc.’s manager of competitive strategy. “They’ve now done what IBM’s favourite trick is: put a big banner out there they can later put anything they do underneath.”

Sun has also been emphasizing a simplified, flexible approach to IT management through its N1 initiative. While Sun took a “clean slate” approach to fashioning N1, HP is shaping its strategy around its existing OpenView line, according to Phillips.

“Our take on it is they are applying a somewhat old software technology and methodology to what is a newer problem,” he said.

HP’s plan is to eventually extend the Virtual Server Environment to the Windows and Linux operating systems, though no timeframe is out yet on when the extension will be available, Anderson said.

Computer Associates International Inc., which spoke earlier this month of its own commitment to on-demand computing and related additions to its Unicenter line of management software, said HP is too focused on its own proprietary technology.

“It’s obvious that HP’s primary support is for HP. We don’t see any plans for their Virtual Server Environment to support any non-HP platforms,” said David Hochhauser, CA’s vice-president of Unicenter marketing, in an e-mailed statement.

But as vendors squabble over whose on-demand approach is the purest and most customer-friendly, it helps the industry to at least have everyone singing the same tune about a standards-based, modular approach to building a modern IT infrastructure, Sun’s Phillips acknowledged.

– With files from IDG News Service