Compaq plugs portals into service offerings

Compaq Computer Corp. will on Tuesday announce that its high-availability support services now include monitoring of application and database performance data delivered over a Web portal interface. Until now, Compaq services only included monitoring and reporting of hardware devices.

The Internet-based service, Remote Monitoring and Performance Reporting (RMPR), will aggregate performance wherever the equipment and software resides, whether on a single network or in distributed data centers. The service will also correlate data between those sites and equipment to narrow down the root cause of a single outage, according to Jerry Coffey, director of Business Critical Services at Compaq Global Services in Lowell, Mass.

Compaq is partnering with InteQ Corp., a support services infrastructure company that created the portal and Internet underpinnings upon which best-of-breed system monitoring, problem identification, diagnostics, reporting, and problem resolution applications sit.

InteQ uses such tools as HP OpenView, Compaq Insight Manager, and Mercury Interactive among others, according to Maureen Ellenberger, CEO at InteQ in Bedford Mass.

"We abstracted our own fusion layer away from the tools to use multiple different tools. The results come up into our layer and [are stored] in our configuration management database and our data warehouse to see trends and to proactively manage and prevent issues. That's our IP [Intellectual Property]," Ellenberger said.

System managers will receive alerts via pagers, e-mail, or phone, with wireless PDA support expected soon. "It depends on the data you want to receive, but certainly a trouble ticket could be sent to a wireless device," Ellenberger said.

While Compaq's Coffey clearly distinguished Compaq's RMPR support service from its Professional Services division, one industry analyst sees a blurring of the lines between service-level support and professional services as an industry trend.

"[Like] most professional service companies, Accenture and EDS are looking to do more of the hands-on outsourcing like this, and Compaq and HP are moving up the value chain," said Eric Rocco, vice president and research director at Gartner Inc.'s Dataquest Inc. in Lowell, Mass. "We do see that two-way street, and in this area Compaq has an advantage in supporting their own technology."

Rocco also sees a benefit from the Compaq and InteQ partnership if the merger between Compaq and Hewlett-Packard goes forward. "HP has nothing like this," Rocco said.

The Web portal approach will also lower the costs of support services to both providers and customers, said Compaq's Coffey. "It's a one-to-many model. The tools are set up within the service organization and they are able to monitor many customers using the same set of tools," Coffey said.

Pricing is based on specific objects being monitored, with a basic service -- such as monitoring whether a network device is up or down, for example -- costing US$88 per month and $94 per month per server. Enhanced services, such as availability and data-mining services, will be priced at about $200 to $500 per month per device, Coffey said.

The RMPR service is available now.

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