UPDATE: HP Unveils OpenView Network Configuration Manager

Available Aug. 1, the new OpenView product is an HP-branded version of VoyenceControl NG, which maps enterprise networks and can report and roll back changes, said Jeff Scheaffer, senior product manager for the network management business at HP, Palo Alto, Calif.

HP OpenView Network Configuration Manager "gives you a complete history of who is accessing devices, the configuration of those devices," Scheaffer said. "And then it takes those changes, events, configurations, operating system settings and firmware data and incorporates all of it into root-cause analysis."

Identifying and rolling back complex changes that create network latency--or just quickly identifying, for example, how many devices in a network are running a Cisco operating system that needs to be updated--can be performed by the new OpenView product, said Scheaffer. Compliance reporting can also be done using the rebranded Voyence software, he added.

The move will put to the test the ability of Voyence to protect its small group of partners from losing deals to HP once OpenView resellers get their hands on the rebranded Voyence product, said Mitch Miller, director of channels at Voyence, Richardson, Texas.

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In the coming weeks, Voyence will host for its dozen or so salespeople what Miller called "channel sensitivity training." The effort will be to make sure Voyence's legacy partners don't lose accounts they have landed to HP partners that may bid against them with the HP-branded version of the Voyence product, Miller said.

"We are very concerned about channel conflict," he said. "I think you will see a little conflict, but our position will be to stick with the partner that brought us to the dance. And if that partner was originally a Voyence partner and HP comes in to compete on the deal, we'll stick with our guy."

In September, Voyence made a pledge to what were then its 35 or so resellers to boost margins significantly. At the time, Miller, who had just come on board as the vendor's first channel chief, said Voyence was making a push to deliver partner margins of more than 40 percent through an increase in the amount of professional services opportunities that Voyence would forward to its partners. Since September, Voyence has added about 18 new partners, mainly overseas, Miller said.

Currently, Voyence enlists the aid of its resellers during every deployment of its product, said Darren Orzechowski, vice president of marketing at Voyence. The HP OEM deal is positive for Voyence resellers because most of them are already HP OpenView partners, he said.

Partners who are not OpenView partners should consider becoming one, Orzechowski said. The broad portfolio of OpenView delivers a more complete solution with Voyence's technology than if Voyence were to be sold as a stand-alone product, he said.

However, Henry Draughon, business development manager at Florance and Associates Consulting, a Voyence partner based in Richardson, Texas, said he has no intention of becoming an OpenView partner. Draughon is about to close a Voyence deal worth nearly $100,000 that took him about three months to complete. He said he doesn't sell many HP products.

"I've still got a few reservations about the whole [HP-Voyence] deal," Draughon said.

HP OpenView Network Configuration Manager is HP's answer to recent change and configuration product announcements from BMC Software and IBM, Scheaffer said. In May, IBM pegged a June 30 arrival date to its much-awaited Tivoli Change and Configuration Management (CCMDB) software. That same month, BMC announced upgrades that simplified its Atrium Configuration Management Database (CMDB) product.

HP OpenView Network Configuration Manager will be sold via a per-node pricing model and will cost in the range of $20,000 to $30,000 for a typical enterprise deployment, according to Scheaffer. A partner certification and training course for the product is being developed, he said.