Management play: HP snaps up Peregrine, AppIQ

Looking to fill out its management offerings, HP last week said it would pay $425 million to add Peregrine Systems' asset management technology to its software suite.

Asset management technology was notably absent from the company's OpenView portfolio, according to Todd DeLaughter, vice president and general manager of the HP Management Software Organization. "This technology will go toward our IT service management strategy by helping companies link IT resources back to the asset and determine the financial relevance to the company."

Asset management, not to be confused with asset tracking, includes technology to handle hardware procurement and life-cycle management. For instance, information collected by asset management software could help IT managers determine the cost of supporting a desktop over the lifetime of the machine, including software support, hardware maintenance and procurement costs. Asset tracking, capabilities HP acquired in April 2004 with Novadigm, helps companies take an inventory of assets and monitor the software licenses running on the assets.

"The asset management capability will be increasingly important because it can help the IT organization get a real finance-based picture of how they are managing their existing IT operations," says Dennis Gaughan, research director at AMR Research.

HP's DeLaughter says the company can't move on product integration plans until the deal is closed next year, but HP is expected to sell the AssetCenter stand-alone, with further integration to be determined in 2006. Peregrine customers also can forget about Peregrine's planned product road map to integrate AssetCenter with its ServiceCenter product, industry watchers say. HP will be challenged to bring those technologies together, with tools from Novadigm and HP's OpenView Service Desk.

"HP will have to integrate the overlap technology of ServiceCenter and its own Service Desk product, and Novadigm's network discovery is stronger than Peregrine's, so HP will have to address that overlap," says Patricia Adams, principal research analyst at Gartner. "HP got a slam dunk in terms of asset management, but it also has to set a clear product road map to keep the Peregrine installed base."

Turning its attention to managing storage-area networks and storage resources, HP acquired AppIQ last week. The two companies didn't disclose the price, but say in about 45 days AppIQ business will be integrated into the StorageWorks division of HP's technology solutions group.

HP was already an OEM partner for AppIQ. The two companies signed a deal in March that allowed HP to resell AppIQ's StorageAuthority software as HP Storage Essentials.

"The acquisition is a smart move for HP," says Stephanie Balaouras, senior analyst for The Yankee Group. "AppIQ is the only [storage resource management] platform that can compete with EMC's ControlCenter and IBM's Tivioli Productivity Center."

AppIQ has 135 employees and about 250 customers, the company says.

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