Hewlett-Packard stepped up its commitment to the emerging area of service-oriented architecture Monday, announcing consulting and software that draw heavily on its acquisition of Mercury Interactive.
At a press conference, the company outlined its strategy to manage the IT operations that underpin a service-oriented architecture (SOA), a modular system design to bring business applications online faster.
With an SOA, a company creates services, such as network authentication or customer look-up, that can be used in different situations. With these pre-built services in place, businesses should be able to roll out new applications faster by combining existing services.
HP's products focus on establishing rules, or governance, for using those services, as well as testing services and managing the data centers that run them.
Also on Monday, HP announced it has more closely integrated testing and governance software from Mercury Interactive with its long-held line of management software. Prior to HP's purchase of Mercury Interactive last year, Mercury acquired Systinet which makes a registry where services are defined, stored and tracked once they are in use.
HP CEO Mark Hurd has said the company is ramping up its activity in business software to grow profits. Earlier this month, it introduced Neoview, a business intelligence offering.
In the SOA arena, HP has created a portfolio of software and services aimed at helping business customers deploy projects reliably, said Tom Hogan, senior vice president of HP Software.
Without naming competitors, Hogan said that HP's expertise in operations, rather than software development tools or middleware, allows it to play a more neutral role in managing "heterogenous" systems with products from multiple providers.
"When you think of other vendors in this space, they are either tied to a development stack or an integration (product) or an application portfolio," he said. "We think the key to nailing SOAs is heterogeneity."
Thomson Financial said the governance tools allow the financial services firm to have one person, rather than more than 20 people, manage the process of introducing services.
That means the company can bring products to market in hours versus weeks, which was "a huge ROI (return on investment) for us," said Vladimir Mitevski, vice president of product management for core services at Thomson Financial.
HP executives also detailed enhancements to the company's Systinet registry, which gives users more detailed controls for approving the use of services.
There is a module for testing services and simulating the impact of changes through a Web-based testing product that doesn't require writing code, according to HP executives.
HP also beefed up its consulting with a "center of excellence" in which HP consultants will work with SOA architects at corporations.