HP upgrades Netaction suite

While a little late arriving to the Web services market, Hewlett-Packard has nonetheless released a set of upgrades to its Netaction software suite.

Some of the significant enhancements include: Web services platform 2.0, Apache-based Web server 2.0 for HP-UX 11i, Java 2 Enterprise Edition is now J2EE 1.3 open standard and enhancements to its application server Resilient Edition 8.2.

“[Customers] will be able to integrate new applications with their existing applications [regardless] of the architecture or applications they are running it on,” said Xing Zeng, software category marketing manager at HP in Mississauga, Ont. He added that Web services are not intended to replace EAI but rather should be seen as an alternative.

Web services is broadly defined as a method of making various applications communicate with one another automatically over the Internet.

One industry analyst said the Netaction upgrades are keeping the company on par with the rest of the industry, but have not clearly established HP as a significant player in the market.

“HP as an enterprise application player in [

Java 2 Enterprise Edition]

, they were a little late to that game,” said Randy Heffner, vice-president of application architecture at Giga Information Group in Dallas. “They entered when they bought BlueStone (last year) and they had done some things with early versions in Web services with their e-speak architecture but have not gained the industry position as a major leader,”

Heffner said that HP has made strides in layering Web services on top of other capabilities and environments in its platform architecture but that on the whole, there was nothing of significance to note in the upgrades that would separate HP from the rest of the Web services pack. The demand for the service is currently being forged by those in the application development space, he added.

Mike Campigotto, CEO at Collective Minds Consulting in North Bay, Ont., has been using the HP/BlueStone product since last year in providing e-transactions between the public and private sectors. He said that the company created a private

Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (

UDDI) Web services framework, and is currently using HP’s application server.

Collective Minds has already migrated to HP’s application server suite and are looking at the rest of the Netaction suite, specifically the transaction manager of the toolset and the process manager component, Campigotto said.

The complexity of implementing and becoming functionally operational in the Web services space is a laborious task, as Campigotto admitted to first installing a complex transactional model that failed after eight months.

“It is a complicated process but success comes from drilling down to simplicity. If you try to eat the elephant all at once – and we tried that once – you get to the point where you have to keep what you’ve learned and go back to the drawing board,” he said.