HP's big-time SOA entree

The 98-2 rule: The Systinet registry/repository piece was originally valued at $105 million of the $4.5 billion acquisition, but may have clinched the deal.

The big fish keep eating the smaller fish who already ate even smaller fish. And sometimes a little "mercury" in the fish isn't such a bad thing.

The two percent that Systinet Registry represents may have clinched the deal for the remaining 98 percent HP is spending.

Hewlett-Packard appears to big that giant mammal out there that keeps swallowing the large fish that are still digesting other fish. HP's pending $4.5-billion acquisition of Mercury Interactive is HP's largest acquisition since it swallowed Compaq (and all its swallowees) a couple years back.

Ironically, what has many analysts and observers all abuzz is the Systinet piece that Mercury swallowed a few months back for $105 million -- or about two percent of the value of the current entire package. The Systinet piece is important here, since Systinet is seen as a leader in the emerging SOA governance and repository/registry space.

Of course, Mercury offers a number of solutions beyond SOA governance, and the Mercury brand itself is better known for its portfolio management and testing toolsets. Some analysts say HP will be in a better position to compete with the likes of IBM Tivoli and CA with new application portfolio management offerings.

But that two percent may have clinched the deal for the remaining 98 percent HP is spending. Ronald Schmelzer, analyst with ZapThink, told eWeek's Darryl Taft that he thinks said the HP acquisition of Mercury makes it "clear that governance and the registry are becoming a key part of companies' enterprise architectures, so much so that it makes sense to incorporate those capabilities as part of the overall enterprise systems management and infrastructure that companies come to depend on today." Schmelzer said that governance and systems management capabilities are essential to lead in the enterprise system management and enterprise architecture space.

Fellow blogging colleague Dana Gardner agrees that the acquisition "makes perfect sense for HP to buy Mercury Interactive -- HP gets a strong Silicon Valley company at a good price, it quickly strengthens its role in the SOA governance market, and it broadens its core systems management value into application lifecycle management." Not only does HP get application lifecycle management products, but it "also jettisons HP into a SOA governance leadership position."

A big question, of course, is whether Systinet will retain its identity and brand -- as it had done so under Mercury -- or be absorbed into the HP combine, which includes the remnants of Compaq, Digital Equipment, and Tandem, among others. Looking at HP's history suggests that the Mercury/Systinet tools and products will be thoroughly absorbed into the HP brand and organization. Don't be surprised to see the introduction of "HP Registry" in the very near future.