HP targets hybrid IT environments

New products aim to simplify management of virtualized environments and cloud-based services

HP is kicking off its Software Universe 2010 show in Washington, D.C., where it's unveiling a raft of new and upgraded products designed to simplify management of virtualized environments and cloud-based services.

HP is kicking off its Software Universe 2010 show today in Washington, D.C., where it's unveiling a raft of new and upgraded products designed to simplify management of virtualized environments and cloud-based services.

As enterprises adopt hybrid IT models, spanning physical and virtual environments, they need tools that can help manage the performance and availability of all their applications, irrespective of where they're running, says Paul Muller, vice president of strategic marketing for software products in HP's Software & Solutions group.

"We want to help IT simplify and automate the process of deploying business applications into this new hybrid world of virtual, cloud, physical, on-premise and off-premise, and help them accelerate the benefits to the business without introducing them to more risk," Muller says.

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Among the news being announced at HP Software Universe is a new version of HP Business Service Management; a new product called Test Data Management; and three new service offerings designed to help customers maximize their software investments.

BSM 9.0

HP's Business Service Management (BSM) software correlates business services with the underlying infrastructure so IT teams can manage applications, networks and events more efficiently and stay in compliance with service-level agreements.

"Business Service Management 9.0 is all about helping our clients improve the health of their services in the hybrid services delivery model," Muller says.

New to BSM 9.0 is what HP is calling a "run-time service model," which maintains an updated view of a company's application services, whether the applications are running in an on-premise, off-premise, physical or virtual environment. This can reduce the time it takes to troubleshoot and analyze service issues when there's a potential problem. "Your diagnosis of a problem is only as good as the level of information that you have to work with," Muller says.

While traditional products use manually created configuration management database (CMDB service maps, BSM 9.0 automatically integrates with HP's Configuration Management System. The service model is constantly updated to ensure that IT operations teams can view the most accurate state of IT services. This is particularly critical for managing virtualized and cloud environments, Muller says.

"We're dealing with a virtual/cloud world where the velocity and frequency of change has, we believe, somewhere between 10 to 100 times the number of changes that were occurring in traditional physical environments. So you need a system that [keeps track of all those changes] and is run-time up to date, all the time."

New collaboration capabilities in BSM 9.0 use mash-ups to provide role-based management data, in context, to IT team members to speed decision making and problem resolution. "So you've got a contextualized but shared view of the IT world," Muller says.

New elements in the BSM 9.0 portfolio include: HP's Business Availability Center 9.0 for applications monitoring and diagnostics; Operations Manager i 9.0, which automatically discovers and reports any changes in applications and physical/virtual infrastructure; and Network Management Center 9.0, which integrates fault, availability and performance management into a single view.

Test data management

On the testing front, Test Data Management (TDM) is a new product designed to automate the process of obtaining test data from live applications. Enterprises need relevant data to test future applications, but extracting such data from production applications and making sure it's appropriate to use in the testing environment is a cumbersome, costly effort.

In fact, extracting and preparing data for a testing cycle can consume more than 50% of overall testing time and resources, Muller says.

With TDM, enterprises can use tools to automatically extract, scrub, normalize and mask data, and then feed it to testing systems that need it. This can lower costs associated with application testing plus ensure the use of sensitive data doesn't violate compliance regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. 

HP also inked a deal to integrate its Quality Center software with CollabNet's TeamForge application life-cycle management platform in an effort to help software teams -- including business analysts, project managers, developers and quality assurance specialists -- better collaborate.

Extended services

On the services front, HP is highlighting three new and expanded offerings. Its Solution Management Services (SMS) provide software support and consulting services aimed at helping companies simplify and optimize their deployments of HP's business technology optimization and IT management applications.

In addition, HP extended its Business Availability Center (BAC) Anywhere service to support on-premise environments. HP BAC Anywhere, delivered via a software-as-a-service model, allows organizations to monitor their external Web applications from anywhere in the world -- including outside the firewall -- from a consolidated console. Businesses can connect their on-premise instances of HP BAC to global points of presence that reside in the HP SaaS cloud.

Lastly, HP's BSM 9.0 services can help customers design and deploy their HP BSM software. A discovery workshop helps customers identify people, process and technology challenges, while deployment services are designed to minimize application downtime.

Ann Bednarz covers IBM, network management, and telecommuting for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at http://twitter.com/annbednarz

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