HP software gains automation features, tighter integration

New features work across technologies the company acquired through Mercury Interactive, Opsware and Bristol Technology

HP this week unveiled new automation capabilities and tighter integration work across technologies the company acquired with Mercury Interactive, Opsware and Bristol Technology. HP took the wraps off its product enhancements in Las Vegas, where the company is hosting its Technology Forum & Expo and Software Universe conferences.

HP's updated software products (see slideshow), such as Release Control 4.0, now feature automation technologies designed to lessen the load on IT managers. Release Control 4.0 (formerly Change Control Management), which previously had been designed as a decision-support tool for change advisory boards, has been updated to take action to execute changes after approval processes are complete.

"Managing change was cited by more than 1,000 IT professionals as the number one contributor of risk to business services, and a majority of downtime is attributed to change," says Ramin Sayar, senior director for Business Service Management at HP, who cited an HP and Economist Intelligence Unit survey (see story). "This product now marries the change approval process and review with the execution of the changes."

Release Control 4.0, based on technology originally acquired with Mercury, can now coordinate the hand-off between change and release teams, provide real-time views into the impact of change through a new dashboard, and detect potential run-time collisions. The software is expected to be available in July, with pricing starting at US$100,000.

HP is also announcing its Configuration Management System that incorporates existing software products and features enhancements to key applications. CMS includes the applications HP Universal Configuration Management Database (CMDB) 7.5 and Discovery and Dependency Mapping 7.5, as well as a federation software development kit and Web services-based adaptors that connect relevant information to common third-party repositories, HP says.

"What we have done is not only improved the breadth and depth of our discovery patterns and provided a framework, but also enabled the solution to pull in customized data sources into our environment," Sayar says.

HP modeled its CMS against the management best practices laid out in ITIL's latest release, Sayar says, but industry watchers warn HP might be ahead of end-user adoption of such processes.

"Our research shows that ITIL V3 adoption is taking place very slowly and many organizations face cultural challenges in implementing collaborative planning and release processes," says Mary Johnston Turner, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "HP is highlighting ITIL V3 compliance as a major value add and differentiator, but many customers many not be ready for this level of sophistication for some time."

Customers attending the show this week hope to learn more about HP's configuration-specific products.

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