HP And IBM Push Systems Management Tools Up-Market

This week, Hewlett-Packard will announce it has finished integrating Mercury Interactive's application-management and IT governance software with its HP OpenView systems, network and IT services-management products. That comes one week after IBM disclosed plans to acquire Consul and its compliance and security audit software and add those technologies to its Tivoli line of systems-management software. That deal, for an undisclosed price, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007.

"I think they are all trying to move up-market," says Judy Hurwitz, president of the Hurwitz and Associates industry research and consulting firm, referring not only to IBM and HP, but competitors BMC and CA, too.

Earlier generations of systems-management tools were targeted at IT operations staff. But today the goal is to make these products relevant for higher-level executives for IT planning and governance, compliance and business-process management tasks, Hurwitz says.

That was HP's goal with the $4.5 billion acquisition of Mercury Interactive, completed last month. Mercury Interactive adds application-management and business-process optimization capabilities to HP's systems management lineup. The product line also gains the ability to manage the lifecycle of business services based on service-oriented architecture technology, thanks to Mercury's earlier $105 million acquisition of Systinet.

Sponsored post

This week, at HP Software Universe 2006 in Vienna, Austria, HP will disclose that it's dropping the OpenView name in favor of "HP Software." The company is organizing the products previously known as OpenView and the Mercury Interactive software -- more than 200 products altogether -- around four categories: systems management, network management, applications management and project portfolio management, according to Magdy Assem, worldwide director of product marketing for HP software.

HP will work with solution providers and channel partners, who account for more than 50 percent of OpenView software sales, to target sales of HP Software toward what Assem calls "buying centers": specific individuals within customer organizations who are responsible for purchasing management software for specific tasks such as network or applications management.

HP also will provide solution providers and customers with the first of a series of best-practice templates for such chores as system performance and availability, change and configuration, and service.

The Consul technology provides user activity monitoring capabilities needed for risk-management compliance and reporting purposes for Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and other regulations. That's something Tivoli has lacked, says Al Zollar, general manager of IBM Tivoli Software. It's the latest in a string of acquisitions IBM has made this year to build out Tivoli's capabilities, including CIMS Labs (resource utilization metering), Rembo Technology Systems (software provisioning), Vallent (wireless network service management) and MRO (asset management).

"We see acquisitions as a way to bring a quicker pace of innovation to our customers," Zollar says.

Altogether, IBM has acquired 11 software companies this year alone. About 25 percent of IBM's Tivoli sales are through indirect channels, although about 60 percent of storage-management tools are sold through resellers, Zollar says. IBM is seeking to boost sales of Tivoli products through solution providers using the Tivoli Express line of products, targeting small and midsize businesses, which the company unveiled in February.

HP has hardly been quiet on the acquisition front when it comes to systems-management technology. Last year it acquired IT service and asset management software vendor Peregrine, and in 2004 bought Novadigm, a developer of change and configuration management software.