HP: We're still big on OpenView

The company unveils first Peregrine-integrated products; dismisses report that it's losing foothold as a leading management software vendor.

SYDNEY--Hewlett-Packard (HP) on Monday announced it has melded Peregrine's asset management technology with its OpenView management software, rejected a Gartner report that it is losing its traction in this market segment.

The product integration comes three months after HP completed its US$425 million acquisition of Peregrine last December.

"Tell me we won't be around in three to four years? I think the reverse will be true."
-- David Gee
HP Software Asia-Pacific/Japan

Peregrine's AssetCenter, combined with HP's OpenView Service Desk, will provide businesses with greater insight and control over their IT assets including software, workstations and servers, said Todd DeLaughter, vice president and general manager of HP's OpenView business unit. He was speaking at the HP Software Forum in Sydney, the first such event held in the Asia-Pacific region.

DeLaughter said the integration underpins HP's Active Configuration Management Database (CMDB) strategy. CMDB is used to store data about the state of a company's IT assets, including those generated by competing enterprise management software, such as system errors and software changes as well as corporate data on employees and business units. It also shows the relationship among company assets.

Todd explained that intelligence features built into HP's Active CMDB allow businesses to consolidate disparate system management data from multiple sources. CMDB will then synchronize such data and provide businesses with an overview of their IT operations, he added.

In its annual tech trends report last December, however, Gartner had predicted that by 2008, only IBM and CA would remain on the list of top four management software vendors, which today includes HP and BMC Software.

The analyst firm did not identify the vendors that would fill the void, nor did it say if its forecast had taken into consideration HP's Peregrine acquisition.

Gartner did say that HP may lose its seat, not from having a weaker product, but because of potential market challengers with equally deep pockets such as EMC, Symantec and Microsoft.

David Gee, vice president and general manager of HP Software Asia-Pacific and Japan, rebuffed the analyst's prediction, noting that the company's OpenView worldwide software revenue had increased 34 percent year-on-year during the first quarter this year.

"Our growth in the distributed management software space in mature markets pretty much outstripped everyone," Gee told ZDNet Asia.

"There is simply no valid empirical data that backs up Gartner's assertions," he said. "With Peregrine, the OpenView business is close to US$1 billion. Tell me we won't be around in three to four years? I think the reverse will be true."

He noted that HP's software licensing revenues have been growing one to three times more than competitors BMC, CA and IBM. "The facts speak for themselves."

Gee is also unfazed about upcoming competitors, although he is keeping track of their plans.

"Microsoft has placed itself as a competitor in the management software space," he said. "In the small workgroup environment, they will have market presence. But the moment you switch to a heterogeneous environment, their footprint is fairly minimal."

Symantec also has its hands full with its Veritas merger, so Gee does not see the security company as a competitor in the short to medium term.

"EMC has acquired SMARTS (an event automation and network systems management software vendor), but we don't see them as a competitor…although it is one of the companies we watch very closely in terms of what their long-term ambitions could be," he said.

According to a separate report released by Gartner in December last year, HP's Peregrine acquisition will add IT asset management capabilities which were "sorely lacking" in HP's OpenView portfolio. The research firm said that AssetCenter has one of the largest asset management installed bases among enterprises worldwide, with over 800 customers on active maintenance contracts.

Gartner noted that the acquisition could be HP's attempt to fill its product gaps, particularly in service desk software that provides helpdesk and service-level management capabilities.

HP already has its own Service Desk 5.0 which was launched late last year, nearly four years after the last major release Service Desk 4.5.

Georg Bock, HP's director for product management of OpenView Solutions, told ZDNet Asia that the company took longer to develop Service Desk 5.0 because the product includes a new architecture that underpins future OpenView products.

"It was a preparation not for the Service Desk product itself, but for the whole OpenView portfolio," he said.

But Gartner noted that the Peregrine acquisition has in fact, allowed HP to buy market share in the IT service desk market--which the IT vendor was having difficulty building with its own products after many years of trying.

With the buyout, HP has taken a leading position in the service desk market, second only to rival BMC, Gartner said.

Matt Schvimmer, manager for systems and software engineer at HP's OpenView Business Unit, said the company is committed to its plan to unveil within the next two years, a hybrid service desk product which will incorporate features from both Peregrine ServiceCenter and HP OpenView Service Desk.

Gee said the acquisition has effectively doubled HP's research and development efforts in its service desk product. He told ZDNet: "With the talent and skills that we picked up from Peregrine, we are confident of delivering on schedule."

Aaron Tan of ZDNet Asia reported from Sydney, Australia.