New HP products take aim at managing complexity in 'hybrid data center' era

Summary:HP BSM 9.0 works on automating comprehensive management across applications lifecycles, with new means to bring a common approach to hybrid-sourced app delivery models.

WASHINGTON - The HP Software Universe 2010 conference is in full swing here this week, highlighted by a slew of HP products and services focused on giving IT leaders the means to view and control their rapidly escalating complexity.

Among the most significant announcements Tuesday is the next iteration of the HP Business Service Management (BSM) software suite. HP BSM 9.0 works on automating comprehensive management across applications lifecycles, with new means to bring a common approach to hybrid-sourced app delivery models. Whether apps are supported from virtualized infrastructures, on-premises stacks, private clouds, public clouds, software as a service (SaaS) sources, or outsourced IT -- they need to managed with commonality. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

"Our customers are dealing with some of the most significant combination of changes in IT technologies and paradigm that I have ever seen," said Robin Purohit, Vice President and General Manager of HP Software Products. "So whether it's a whole new way of developing applications like Agile, the real acceleration of virtualization, test environments moving into production workloads, and all of the evaluations of where the cloud and SaaS fits -- and then how they support all the enterprise applications."

[See an interview with Purohit on BSM 9.0, or listen to it as a podcast.]

HP’s core message around the BSM 9.0 is clear: To help companies automate apps and services management amid complexity so they can reinvest in innovation. The economics of innovation -- of being able to do more in terms of results without the luxury of spending a lot more -- has to be factored into the management matrix.

“We did a study last October that showed our clients believe innovation is going to help them even through uncertain economic times—and they see technology as central to their ability to succeed in a changing environment,” said Paul Muller, vice president of Strategic Marketing, Software Products, HP Software & Solutions. “There is some skepticism within the business community that IT is ready to make those changes.”

HP’s view of the hybrid world

HP wants to help IT combat that skepticism by equipping them with HP BSM 9.0. The solutions not only address hybrid delivery models, but also what Muller calls the “consumerization of IT,” referring to people who use non-company-owned devices on a company network. As Muller sees it, employees expect to have the same dependable experience while working from home as they do at work.

“We believe organizations will struggle to deliver the quality outcomes expected of them unless they are able to deal with the increase rate of change that occurs when you deploy virtualization or cloud technologies,” Muller said. “It’s a change that allows for innovation, but it’s also a change that creates opportunity for something to go wrong.”

Indeed, Bill Veghte, HP Executive Vice President for HP Software and Solutions, said that three major trends -- all game changers on their own -- are converging around IT: virtualization, cloud, and mobile.

"We need to continuously simplify" management to head off rapid complexity acceleration aroud this confluence of trends. He pointed to the need for gaining a comprehensive view into hybrid IT operations, automation for management and remediation, and "simply expressing" the views on what is going on it IT, regardless of the location or types of services.

"Users want a unified view in a visually compelling way, and they want to be able to take action on it," said Veghte.

At the center of Wednesday’s announcement is what HP proposes as the solution to this challenge: HP BSM 9.0. The software offers several features that should cause companies that work with hybrid IT environments to take a closer look. One of those features is automated operations that work to reduce troubleshooting costs and hasten repair time. BSM 9.0 also offers cloud-ready and virtualized operations that aim to reduce security risks with strategic management services.

"The active interest of our clients in cloud computing has just exploded," said Purohit. "I think last year was a curiosity for many senior IT executives something on the horizon, but this year it's really an active evaluation. I think most customers are looking initially at something a little safer, meaning a private cloud approach, where there is either new stack of infrastructure and applications are run for them by somebody else on their site, or at some off-site operation. So that seems to be the predominant new paradigm."

Purohit described BSM 9 as "a breakthrough" for coming to grips with the "hybrid data center."

It’s the great trap because if you don’t know what infrastructure your application is depending on from one minute to the next, you can’t troubleshoot it when something goes wrong.

Indeed, integration is a running theme with HP BSM 9.0. The solution offers a single, integrated view for IT to manage enterprise services in hybrid environments, while new collaborative operations promise to boost efficiency with an integrated view for service operations management. Every IT operations user receives contextual and role-based information through mobile devices and other access points for faster resolution.

"BSM 9 is our solution for end-to-end monitoring of services in the data center. It's been a great business for us, and we now have a break-through release that we reveled to our customers today, that’s anchored around what we call the Runtime Service Model," said Purohit.

"So a service model is basically a real-time map of everything from the business transactions of the businesses running, to all of the software that makes up that composite applications for the service, and all of the infrastructure whether it be physical or virtual or on-premise or off-premise that supports all of that application," said Purohit.

"So all of that together -- knowing how it's connected, what the health of it is, what's changing in it so, you can actually make sure it's all running exactly the way the business expects -- is really critical," he said.

The run-time service model works to save time by improving organizational service impact analysis and troubleshooting processing times, said HP. The HP Business Availability Center (BAC) 9.0 offers an integrated user experience as well as applications monitoring and diagnostics with HP’s twist on the run-time service model.

“The rate of change in the way infrastructure elements relate to each other -- or even where they are from one minute to the next -- means we’ve moved from an environment where you could scan your infrastructure weekly and still be quite accurate to workloads shifting minute by minute,” Muller said. “It’s the great trap because if you don’t know what infrastructure your application is depending on from one minute to the next, you can’t troubleshoot it when something goes wrong.”

Other elements of BPM 9.0 include the BAC Anywhere service that lets organizations monitor external web apps from anywhere, even outside the firewall, from a single integrated console. HP Operations Manager i 9.0 promises to improve IT service performance by way of “smart plug-ins” that automatically discover application changes and updates them in the run-time service model. Finally, HP Network Management Center 9.0 gives aims to give companies better network visibility by connecting virtual services, physical networks and public cloud services together.

HP’s expanded universe

In other HP news, the company announced software that aims to accelerate application testing while reducing the risks associated with new delivery models. Dubbed HP Test Data Management, HP also promises the new solution lowers costs associated with application testing and ensures sensitive data doesn’t violate compliance regulations.

The improvement helps simplify and accelerate testing data preparation, an important factor in making tests and quality more integral to applications development and deployment, again, across a variety of infrastructure models.

Along with HP Test Data Management, HP launched new integrations between HP Quality Center and the Collabnet TeamForge with the goal of improving communication and collaboration among business analysts, project managers, developers and quality assurance teams.

The integration with CollabNet, built largely on Apache Subversion, will help further bind the "devops" process, said Purohit. "The result is better apps," he said.

And as part of its work to help clients maximize software investments, HP also rolled HP Solution Management Services. This offering is a converged portfolio of software support and consulting services that offers a single point of accountability to manage enterprise software investments.

BriefingsDirect contributor Jennifer LeClaire provided editorial assistance and research on this post. She can be reached at http://www.linkedin.com/in/jleclaire and http://www.jenniferleclaire.com.

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Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Data Centers, IT Employment, Software

About

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news edito... Full Bio

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