HP to Offer Managed Network Appliance Service

Hewlett-Packard this autumn (US) will leverage policy-based networking technology along with network appliances to deliver a new network management service based on its OpenView management platform.

The offering will be marketed as a managed service and is designed to eliminate the need for IT managers to deal with the complexity of managing and deploying network infrastructure software to create VPNs (virtual private networks). Instead, HP will offer a series of network appliances that have been pre-configured with a variety of network software options that can be managed remotely by HP.

HP officials said the appliances will be configured with tools such as WebQOS, software that polices software-licensing agreements, firewall tools, and intrusion-detection software running on top of an HP-UX kernel.

The service will be one of the first tangible manifestations of HP's E-services push, which the company began to outline last year.

One analyst said that HP will have to outline how the forthcoming technology will be able to remotely manage complex network-infrastructure software.

"To be successful, HP will have to conceal the complexity of this offering from [buyers] and present them with a plug-and-play experience," said Robert Enderle, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc., in Santa Clara, Calif. "If HP gets too enamored with [its] technology and loses track of the ease of user experience, this offering will not be successful. Otherwise, it appears they are doing the right thing," he said.

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