In a move to bolster its place in the utility computing market, Hewlett-Packard Co. announced on Friday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy the identity management software business of Baltimore Technologies plc, a United Kingdom-based company.

The acquisition will add another layer to HP’s utility model via its Adaptive Management Platform, and shore up its position against rival utility vendors IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc. The premise behind the utility model is customers pay for their IT services, hardware, or software requirements based on their consumption each month.

HP’s Adaptive Management Platform combines parts of its HP OpenView management software suite with its Utility Data Center technology, which is comprised of its virtualization products. At the core of the platform is the Utility Controller software, which allows users to disperse bandwidth, storage resources and processor capacity to different applications in their data centres, according to HP.

The company said Baltimore’s SelectAccess software – its identity management software product – will become part of HP’s Adaptive Management portfolio. SelectAccess is a Web-based, single sign-on product for intranet and extranet users and is intended to offer users additional security and access to network services and enterprise resources.

The partial sale of Baltimore should come as no shock, as the company announced to shareholders at its annual general meeting in May that it was in the process of conducting a “controlled sale process” for parts of the business and is seeking to sell the entire company. The transaction is expected to close by Oct. 31, 2003 during HP’s fiscal fourth quarter, pending approval from Baltimore’s shareholders.

In Canada, HP is based in Mississauga, Ont. The company is online at Baltimore Technologies in Toronto is at