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How HP can fulfill promise of ‘adaptive management’

Jun 30, 20034 mins
Data Center

* Strengths of HP that can be applied to Adaptive Management strategy

Each of the vendors that recently introduced management initiatives has something unique to contribute in posture, focus, capability and direction. HP and its “adaptive management” strategy stand out in a number of ways that are worth mentioning here.

HP has been focused on “service management” through various initiatives for more than five years. Its investments in IT Infrastructure Library processes, as well as its large footprint in the service provider market with Integrated Services Management, have engendered the largest array of products from any single vendor. One of the more significant announcements in June was a tighter integration of OpenView Service Navigator and OpenView Service Desk, building a common data store for better efficiencies between a help desk and an operations center.

Network management is another strength in the OpenView portfolio – certainly in contrast with its more systems management-centric competitors. With Network Node Manager 7.0, HP is addressing some issues that have left NNM behind industry leaders (for example, multi-threaded polling for better scalability) and is setting the stage for functionality that can advance its leadership. This more advanced functionality is reflected in near-term features – most notably policy-based polling with sensitivity to the “state” of network services – with longer-term capabilities for integrating performance management (from Performance Insight) with NNM fault management. Executing on this well – with fully realized analytics, strong out-of-the-box functionality, and compelling visualization – would significantly enhance HP’s leadership in network management.

HP is also investing in improving its visualization capabilities to allow role-based views that are available out of the box, or that can be customized through drag-and-drop object-based technology. They will, over time, be extended to support a broad array of users and requirements.

One of HP’s secret weapons is Internet Usage Manager (IUM), which provides usage-based accounting focused on IP services – and which is now being made available for the enterprise. Enterprise Management Associates is seeing a strong uptake in requirements for measuring service usage in IT – as it is a fundamental vehicle for defining and communicating value, priorities, and trade-offs between IT and the broader business. IUM’s deep roots among service providers should give it an edge in creating a truly robust suite of products and process guidelines as enterprise and service provider paradigms continue to converge.

HP’s focus on openness and integration is another potential strength, with its emphasis on Web services not only as an environment to manage, but also as a way to enable superior infrastructure and business impact management. Along with partnerships with vendors such as Tibco and WebLogic, this augurs well for HP in establishing a platform for modular intelligence aligned with multi-brand integration. Needless to say, this will require much work.

That leaves me to mention a few concerns, which are really not unique to HP:

* HP’s portfolio, like any other vendor’s, is not complete. HP’s biggest limitation is in managing mainframe environments – but a long list of “could haves” or “must haves” could fill multiple columns. The challenge for HP is to corral its core brand position, deliver what its customers truly need, and integrate deeply where it doesn’t have products of its own.

* Not invented here. HP has a tremendous development force matched with demanding customers (including its own internal IT shop). Nevertheless, HP has a short time (as do all vendors) to cover a lot of ground. Judicious integration and acquisition of best-of-class technologies is a must.

* Cohesive architectural vision. This is coming – and I am optimistic that this will quickly turn into a strength for HP. However, executing on this vision requires a mix of creative vision, sensitivity to customer migration, disciplined development and a Draconian willingness to simplify and at times jettison products.

The winner(s) in the next-generation “framework” race will – must – address all three of these issues.