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HP Views Adaptive Enterprise as ‘Uber OS’

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Keeping the heat on its utility computing rivals, Hewlett-Packard Tuesday outlined sweeping changes to its Adaptive Enterprise platform, including new software, partners, and an IP acquisition.

At an event in Hamburg, Germany, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer and printer maker introduced more than 40 new management services and software products to help customers manage their heterogeneous server rooms and data centers. The new software is part of HP’s Adaptive Enterprise strategy, which was launched in May. The idea is to create a top-level operating system that powers several operating systems such as UNIX, Linux, and Windows and lets companies apply virtualization, provisioning, and policies to their management software.

HP senior vice president for Adaptive Enterprise Nora Denzel characterizes the software as an “uber-OS.”

“We don’t believe there will be any more IT projects. There will only be business projects that have IT components,” Denzel says. “We want you to think of Adaptive as the same way you are used to thinking of an operating system on a desktop. You can’t buy an Adaptive Enterprise from HP — you build one.”

Based mostly on its OpenView platform, HP rolled out its new IT Service Management (ITSM) software. Previously code-named Nimbus, the offerings include ITSM Certification for Service Providers, Global Service Desk with eSupport, HP Mission Critical Partnership, HP ITSM Best Practices for HP OpenView Service Desk, Agility Assessment Services for IT Service Providers, HP Systems Insight Manager, HP OpenView Management Integration Platform, HP OpenView Select Access, HP OpenView Operations, and HP Web Jetadmin version 7.5.

HP currently spends $2.5 billion on Adaptive Enterprise-related R&D, which is about 60% of the company’s total R&D budget. Of that $2.5 billion, Blackmore says 50% are investments in software capabilities.

One of those investments is a proposal to acquire the assets of Persist Technologies. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based firm makes information lifecycle management (ILM) software designed for long-term storage and access of reference information. In addition to their technology, Denzel says Persist’s engineers would be transferred to HP’s ranks. The company expects the acquisition to be complete by year’s end.

HP ‘Ahead of the Curve’

Analysts say HP is ahead of the curve in terms of vision, solutions, and architecture.

“The adaptive infrastructure that HP has laid out is impressive and clearly leads the market place, as it is focused on the technology and infrastructure components,” says Forrester Senior Analyst Julie Giera. “The strengths of the offering are the technical components. The weaknesses here are the fact that HP – unlike IBM – has to rely on its partners like Deloitte, Bearing Point, and Accenture for the business process/applications stuff.”

“In fact,” Giera continues, “for HP’s adaptive infrastructure to really work, HP has to look at the entire customer environment — the strategic goals of their customer, specific business problems, etc. — and then the technology. Partnerships are always a problem since a company like HP cannot ensure that one of its partners won’t get acquired.”

The one thing Giera contends has changed is HP’s focus. Up until two months ago, HP led the marketplace in infrastructure services and outsourcing, leaving the majority of applications work to other firms.

“What happened, though, was that because of this almost exclusive focus on infrastructure, HP was not even considered in some of the mega-deals that had shown up on the radar screen,” Giera reports. “Customers are consolidating the service providers they use in the enterprise. The desire is for fewer providers that can deliver broader ranges of services.”

While HP has traditionally fought IBM, Sun, BMC, and Computer Associates in the on-demand computing space, the company will now have to deal with Dell. The Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker Tuesday unveiled server management tools that utilize new Microsoft software.

HP executive vice president Peter Blackmore called any comparison between HP’s and Dell’s software management strategies “apples and oranges.”

“We have great respect for Dell, but they are not known for their management software,” he said. “They are more of a distribution company. We have a complete systems approach that delivers Windows, Linux, and UNIX. If Dell is working with Microsoft, they are only delivering Windows.”

To help fortify its position, HP said it has deepened its strategic partnership with German CRM powerhouse SAP. The collaboration is designed to help joint customers manage their heterogeneous environments and will be based on HP’s IT Service Management Reference Model and management solutions, and SAP IT Service & Application Management. Both organizations report they will offer joint services to their customers. HP in particular said it has 2,500 of its own professionals, including 500 ITEL certified experts, for servicing accounts and more than 60,000 people as part of its partner base that are trained to lend a hand.

“We have only 16 strategic partners, of which SAP is a major one,” says Blackmore. “Some 48% of SAP software installations run on HP hardware. This is a deep and very important relationship.”

HP is also strengthening its partnership with software vendors such as BEA, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, TIBCO, and webMethods to jointly deliver enterprise solutions.

HP has been methodically enhancing its Adaptive portfolio through acquisitions. Such was the case when the company recently purchased Baltimore
Enterprises and Talking Blocks, and is the case with the current proposed acquisition of Persist Technologies.

Story courtesy of

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