HP OpenView drives service management

Shaking off the cobwebs and inactivity it portrayed during the lengthy Hewlett-Packard Co.-Compaq Computer Corp. merger, HP OpenView will finally have its coming-out party this week backed by new software products and services that emphasize the value of service management capabilities.

On Tuesday at the HP Software Forum in Seattle, HP will announce new Web applications for J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) and Microsoft .Net Web services environments, service management tools, and a re-architected storage product added to its HP OpenView suite.

The new offerings are designed to help customers push the levels of services-driven management through a unified operational, infrastructure, and end-user expectations approach, said Bill Emmet, HP OpenView solutions marketing manager for Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP.

"Service management is more than just building a service model and creating proportion rules. Effective, service-driven management means giving the operations staff the right tools to solve problems when they come up," Emmet said. "We are making service-driven management something that's more cost-effective, efficient, and useful."

Diving headfirst into the high-stakes Web services systems management arena -- HP competitors such as Computer Associates International Inc. and IBM Corp./Tivoli Systems Inc. have already unveiled products and roadmaps that they will address at their respective customer events this year -- HP OpenView on Tuesday will announce HP Transaction Analyzer and HP OpenView Smart Plug-Ins for webMethods and IBM WebSphere to correlate business processes and business structure.

Making its debut as part of the OpenView family, HP OpenView Transaction Analyzer offers detailed transaction path analysis and automates the discovery of performance bottlenecks within J2EE and .Net frameworks, Emmet said. Deployed as either a stand-alone product or as part of HP OPenView Internet Services, customers of BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, and .Net will be able to pinpoint where availability is threatened at the network, server, or application level.

Since developers who are building software using Web services often are not thinking far enough ahead in the application lifecycle to build management into those applications, a tool such as HP OpenView Transaction Analyzer should help plug performance holes that will arise, said Debra Curtis, research director for Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.

"Most of the end-users are not willing to bet their architecture on Web services, although they are looking to Web services for some process of multivendor data sharing," Curtis said. "Looking at J2EE and .Net components in the concept of a transaction is going to be very valuable. That provides some of the detailed insight into the end-user experience that has been invisible up until this time."

Curtis said that software and systems management discussions with clients must begin to tackle finite enterprise management processes and integration points, not simply offer available tools for the job. Therefore, HP's commitment to implement HP OpenView as a conduit to pass data and service-level management across multiple tools in an automated workflow process is an excellent vision, she added.

HP will introduce its next version of Network Node Manager, 6.31, on Tuesday. Emmet said the product has been improved to reduce network management events by up to 85 percent and to key in on critical areas that exist with a distributed network infrastructure for root cause analysis. HP Service Desk 4.5 has also been enhanced to run on a pure Java application server. This automates SLAs (service-level agreements) by identifying service-level objectives and pushes implementation into proper management tools for ongoing measurement of IT services based on those objectives.

However, others are also getting into the act of tying together system information to augment enterprise health and service-level management. On Monday BMC Software Inc. introduced Patrol Central Alerts--Web Edition, an XML Web-based service management interface that integrates into BMC's Patrol Enterprise Manager console to push management up out of the domain level, said Mark Brown, director of product management for service management at Austin, Texas-based BMC. The product will be generally available in September, he said.

HP OpenView is taking care to match its competitors' attention toward storage, revealed this week through HP OpenView Storage Data Protector and HP OpenView Storage Area Manager. According to Emmet, HP OpenView Storage Data Protector is the next generation of HP OpenView's Omniback. He said the name change reflects a shift in focus from traditional backup to instant application restoration and recovery completed through disk mirroring. Data Protector enables both tape and disk recovery. HP OpenView Storage Area Manager has been enhanced with the addition of new HP, IBM, HDS, and XIOtech storage devices as well as interconnect devices from Brocade, Chaparral, Inrange, Nishan, and Vixel.

In addition to its new products, HP OpenView will announce new support services for online support and partner services.

Pricing has not yet been set for the new HP OpenView products.