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HP automates management of VMware, other virtualization systems

Software updates help automate storage, workflow to reduce IT management costs

By , Network World
April 08, 2009 09:37 AM ET

Network World - HP Wednesday announced updates to its business service automation suite designed to help customers cut the cost of managing virtualization and improve service quality.

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The company updated two software applications and introduced one new offering in its BSA suite, which is built on technology HP acquired with Opsware

"We see a huge opportunity to cut back on labor bloat. When you have very expensive resources, the storage administrator is one of the most expensive people in the data center. Logging into storage arrays and checking for capacity is a huge waste of their time," says Michel Feaster, senior director of products for Business Service Automation Software at HP. "We want to take all these low-level tasks and apply automation to take advantage of the huge opportunity for productivity improvements."

HP added new capabilities to its Storage Essentials and Operations Orchestration products and launched BSA Essentials, a set of subscription services that will help customers better manage their infrastructure in a standardized way by providing access to security alerts and updates on regulation policies and compliance auditing, the company says. BSA Essentials also includes a community portal that would provide an online forum for HP BSA customers.

The company enabled Storage Essentials to discover and map VMware hosts to storage and storage-area network (SAN) dependencies. HP says this will enable IT managers to reclaim unused storage resources from virtual machines and reallocate the capacity. The software can also now automate storage provisioning to VMware hypervisor and guest operating system. Industry watchers say HP recognizes the need to manage IT services in virtual environments that span across technology silos.

"One issue is expanding the reach of virtualization management to encompass and to coordinate with the management of technology silos - storage, networks, application, and database," says Jasmine Noel, principal analyst and co-founder at Ptak, Noel & Associates. "For example, it is difficult for many enterprises to shift mission-critical virtual machines from one physical system to another during a hardware failure or upgrade because while their server stacks may be mobile, the network connections to SANs, databases and other legacy systems may not be mobile. That's why HP is trying to make their other management products more virtual machine-aware."

HP also upgraded its Operations Orchestration automated workflow software with additional support for VMware Virtual Infrastructure, Citrix XenServer and Microsoft HyperV. The updates will help integrate automated tasks across servers, network, storage and other IT elements.

"If you speed up the mean time to change without also giving IT managers a way to speed up all their other administrative tasks then you are not going to see the full benefits that you are expecting," Noel says. "What HP is trying to do with Operations Orchestration is speed up the other admin tasks with workflow automation."

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