HP officially launches Nimbus systems mgmt. tool

Continuing to evolve its Adaptive Enterprise vision, Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday unveiled more than three-dozen management software and services products, including its much-anticipated systems management tool previously codenamed Nimbus. The products are aimed at making it easier for businesses to create IT environments that grow and shrink according to business demands.

At its HP Software Universe conference in Hamburg, Germany, the company finally took the wraps off Systems Insight Manager, which combines features of all of HP's server management systems to create an integrated tool for managing disparate systems.

Analysts say Systems Insight Manager is the first product that can handle the most basic server management tasks, from updating server BIOS and driver agents to updating patches, on Unix, Linux and Windows platforms. The product combines Insight Manager, a Compaq technology that monitors Windows and Alpha servers; Service Control Manager for HP-UX and Linux systems; and HP Toptools Device Manager, which was discontinued last year, but managed multiple platforms.

HP also announced plans to acquire storage software maker Persist Technologies in order to boost its information life cycle management capabilities and said that it was expanding a partnership with SAP to enhance its business process and application management offerings. In addition, HP announced updates to its OpenView network management product, including new identity management capabilities and a Web services integration platform. As for services, HP detailed, among other things, preconfigured process templates that are based on existing customers' infrastructure and said that it would certify vendors focused on creating adaptive enterprise environments.

HP spends about US$2.5 billion, or about 60 percent of its research and development budget, on adaptive enterprise technologies. About half of that $2.5 billion is spent on creating the software to manage adaptive enterprise initiatives, says Peter Blackmore, executive vice president, HP Enterprise Systems Group. HP officials at Tuesday's announcement focused on explaining how that management software is key to changing the way enterprise data centers are run.

"In a typical data center you typically have three levels. You have infrastructure, which typically consists of lots of hardware of different types from different vendors, applications obviously run on top of that with application middleware, all in support of your business processes. The adaptive management software is the link between your infrastructure and your business processes and it's done dynamically and in real time," says Nora Denzel, senior vice president, HP Adaptive Enterprise.

The ability to manage heterogeneous servers at a deep level is important as companies move toward the idea of running their data centers as a single pool of compute resources, analysts say. Systems Insight Manager feeds into HP's OpenView product, which provides higher level network management capabilities across heterogeneous servers, storage and other resources. In the past, server-level management on disparate systems had to be done through separate consoles.

"So you can have one person trained on how to manage these OSes and they can manage these OSes from anywhere in the world using one single interface," Denzel says.

Systems Insight Manager, which runs natively on Windows, Linux and HP-UX, is scheduled to be available for download for Windows and HP-UX in December and for Linux by the first quarter of next year, says Lee Johns, marketing director of the Velocity software business in HP's software global business unit.

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