HP, Altiris cozy up with software suites

HP and systems management software vendor, Altiris, have strengthened their long-standing partnership with the release of two co-developed client management software bundles.

HP and Altiris were originally due to unveil the new products on July 11, and made the products available last week. However, they delayed the announcement until this week so it wouldn't be overshadowed by the steady stream of other HP product and restructuring news, worldwide marketing manager for HP's client management solutions, Walt Jurek, said.

"This is the culmination of all the joint development work we [and HP] have done over the last four-plus years," director of Altiris alliance product marketing, Mark Magee, said. "Our level of integration with HP is unprecedented."

The HP, Altiris relationship dates back to 1999 when Altiris had a close bond with Compaq, which was continued after HP acquired that computer maker.

HP resells Altiris' complete line of life-cycle management software under an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) deal.

The two new suites were aimed at companies of all sizes that were looking to carry out cross-platform client management, Jurek and Magee said.

The HP Client Foundation Suite retails at $US63, while the HP Client Premium Suite costs $US92, each representing a cost saving of over 62 per cent compared to what customers would pay to buy the software elements of the suite separately, according to HP's Jurek.

"This creates a price point that gives us a definite differential against other hardware vendors," he said.

It also provided users with a central console to manage their systems, Jurek said.

The HP Client Foundation Suite includes five main software pieces -- HP Client Manager 6.1, HP Systems Insight Manager Connector, Altiris Inventory Solution, Altiris Deployment Solution and Altiris Local Recovery Pro. The HP Client Premium Suite contains those products plus seven more: HP OpenView Connector, Altiris Software Delivery Solution, Altiris Patch Management Solution, Altiris Application Metering Solution, Altiris Connector Solution, Altiris Carbon Copy Solution and Altiris Application Management Solution.

Although HP and Altiris wouldn't provide a precise figure for the number of customers they shared, over a five-year period HP had sold 50 million licenses of Altiris software, Jurek said.

Last year, 10,000 people downloaded HP Client Manager, he said. HP polled those people as they downloaded the software as to the number of PCs they expected to manage and it was around the 10 million mark.

Jurek stressed that there was room for both the Altiris management software and the Radia product line HP acquired last year when it purchased Altiris rival Novadigm.

"Novadigm fills the high-end portion for very, very mature IT departments which really wanted [systems management] capability like a thermostat - you set it and forget it," Jurek said. "There's not a large population there. Both [Radia and Altiris] have their places. As we move forward, we'll continue to have a complete product portfolio."

Magee at Altiris wouldn't comment on his company's profit warning issued on July 7.

In a press release, Altiris said it would announce lower than predicted second-quarter financial results in early August in part due to HP's below expectation OEM sales of Altiris software, with several larger deals being pushed back to future periods.

"With anticipated revisions to its sales compensation program, we expect a more modest contribution from HP during the second half of 2005," Altiris chairman and chief executive officer, Greg Butterfield, said in the release. By contrast, Altiris had a strong second quarter with its newer OEM partner Dell, the release said.

"The best way for a detailed answer [on the relationship with HP] is to listen in to our earnings call on August 4," Altiris' Magee said.

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