Users Think Current as HP Looks Ahead

ORLANDO, FLA. (06/29/2000) - At Hewlett-Packard Co.'s OpenView 2000 user conference here this month, company officials offered information technology managers an image of a more innovative HP focused on e-commerce, but most attendees homed in on new features in network management software that could help them solve existing problems.

Patty Azzarello, the OpenView division's general manager, insisted that the new focus hasn't hurt development of the company's existing line. At the conference, HP announced two OpenView products that are being released this month: Express 2.0, a new version of the company's network management software package for Windows NT environments, and VantagePoint 6.0, a suite of e-commerce software tools.

Users like Jim Hanrahan, enterprise services director at application service provider Elcom.com Inc. in Norwood, Massachusetts, said he agrees that HP's development of current products remains on track. As his OpenView implementation progressed, he found gaps in functionality, Hanrahan said, but each time, HP had anticipated the need "and was already working on it."

"We're so large, we've had problems in the past with tools scaling up," said another OpenView user. HP is working with his company to ensure that its new tools scale up, he said.

Gay Sherman described her implementation of HP's fixed time-and-cost OpenView Express 1.0. (The $26,795 price and three-weeks-or-less implementation guarantee won't change for Version 2.0.) She said she had been struggling to bring IT systems under control for the Orange County, Florida, school district, where she's a senior network administrator. Her 10-person staff supports e-mail and Internet access for 175,000 teachers and students at 180 sites.

When her proposed budget for management software melted away, she turned to freeware and enrolled the district in beta programs for Windows 2000 and Veritas Software Corp.'s backup software. "We were running betas on betas with different expiration dates, we had patches on patches and we were having some problems," Sherman said. "It wasn't good."

It took three days to implement the ManageX component of OpenView Express for NT and Windows 2000 system management, Network Node Manager for network infrastructure management and OmniBack for backup, she said.

Express is aimed at midsize businesses but has a place in large enterprises, managing NT systems, said Corey Ferengul, an analyst at Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut. Express' visualization of the Microsoft Exchange system "is unique and makes it easy to see," Ferengul said. But because Exchange is "the No. 1 application on NT," it's a hot market, with several vendors vying for supremacy, he said. "BMC Software has a new module that does root-cause analysis on Exchange," Ferengul said.

As for the snazzier HP, the OpenView division is developing eSpeak, which Azzarello described as "e-services" business-to-business software. It will search the Web, match similar e-commerce transaction services and broker transactions among them, she said.

"It has a long way to go," Ferengul noted. "But it's still in early stages of development."

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