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HP execs detail ‘adaptive enterprise’ strategy

May 06, 20034 mins
Managed Cloud ServicesTechnology IndustryWi-Fi

On the one-year anniversary of its acquisition of Compaq, HP mapped out its vision for focusing its broad resources on helping enterprises optimize their technology investments by more tightly linking IT and business operations.

Announced at a press event in San Jose Tuesday, HP’s “adaptive enterprise” strategy touches all aspects of its software, services and hardware portfolio. Emphasizing automatic management, straightforward integration, and architectural flexibility, the approach echoes moves made lately by several of HP’s rivals, most notably IBM, which has for months been pursing a similar strategy it’s dubbed “on-demand computing.”

In a play on IBM’s tagline “e-business on demand”, HP CEO Carly Fiorina claimed that her company’s adaptive strategy is about demanding more. “The truth is technology should be, and can be, understood in terms of the results it delivers,” she said. “It has to yield to the demands of business.”

HP’s strategy centers around a reference architecture, called Darwin, designed to integrate business processes with virtually every enterprise product, service and standard that HP supports — everything from J2EE to .Net, to software from PeopleSoft and SAP. “The goal is to have infrastructure that is standardized and modularized and integrated,” said Fiorina.

Looking to turn questions about the success of the Compaq merger into a competitive advantage, Fiorina said that the challenges in merging the two companies’ operations had actually made HP stronger. “Like evolution, it’s how a company reacts and responds and adapts to change that’s the difference between competitive vulnerability and competitive success,” she said.

In fact, Fiorina claimed that some of the ideas behind Darwin were developed within HP as the company struggled to integrate the infrastructure of 1,200 networked sites, 7,000 applications and 21,671 servers that the merger created. “Change presents opportunities,” she said. “We are bringing to market the distillation of the integration experience that we have been through.”

She added that since the merger, HP had reduced its own IT costs by almost 25%. “This is what we mean by demand more,” she said.

An array of partners have lined up to support HP, including Accenture, BEA Systems, BearingPoint, Cisco, Deloitte Consulting, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP and Siebel Systems. With the goal of simplifying systems management and integration at the heart of its message, partnering will be key to carrying out HP’s vision, according to company executives.

According to one of HP’s customers, Sprint principal network design engineer Tom Steele, another benefit of the merger has been a change in HP’s culture. “If anything, we’ve seen that old Compaq-Tandem culture come out in HP,” he says. “Now we see a lot more of the HP reps.”

Sprint has worked with HP to implement a Zero Latency Enterprise architecture that integrates Sprint’s telecom networking data with its other systems, including customer relationship management, bandwidth management, and fraud detection.

As part of the event Tuesday, HP announced 15  new products and services supporting its adaptive enterprise push. Among the announced software offerings are HP Virtual Server Environment, a virtualization tool powered by an enhanced version of HP-UX Workload Manager. This software, which is available now as part of HP’s Mission Critical version of HP-UX, lets HP machines band together and add or reduce the number of processors they are using, depending on application requirements. “The server gets bigger or smaller, depending on your workload,” said HP director of utility computing Nick van der Zweep.

HP also announced Software Self-healing Services for HP OpenView, which are intended to expand the dynamic allocation and troubleshooting capabilities of HP’s network management software.

The self-healing services features will first be available for HP’s OpenView Operations and Network Node Manager, and will roll out over time throughout the entire OpenView line, HP said. Within the next 12 months, the company will introduce adaptive-enterprise-themed enhancements in the areas of virtualization, automatic provisioning, business impact analysis, service-level agreements, dynamic deployment and maintenance of management functions, policy-based IT flexibility, and service lifecycle management, the company said.

HP also unveiled a new design framework called the Darwin Reference Architecture, an outline for creating an IT infrastructure using standards-compliant technology from HP and its partners.

Embedding itself deeply within its customers IT infrastructures is part of HP’s game plan, and in launching its new vision, the company made sure to highlight one of its biggest wins: A just-finalized $3 billion, 10-year managed services contract with Procter & Gamble. Approximately 2,000 P&G employees from 48 countries will become part of HP Services when the agreement commences on Aug. 1, pending regulatory approvals.

The P&G deal is one of more than 200 managed services contracts HP has signed since acquiring Compaq, the company said.