Adaptive Enterprise: It"s about automation and insight

Von Nicolas Callegari

Last week"s HP Software Universe kicked off in Madrid on Monday, with Hewlett-Packard Co. officials hosting a press conference for some 2 900 delegates and journalists from the EMEA region, making a number of announcements on the company"s Adaptive Enterprise strategy.

The underlying theme for this year"s conference was "capitalize on change", and, according to Nora Denzel, senior vice-president for adaptive enterprise at HP, the adaptive enterprise will eventually see the synchronization of business and IT, allowing the CIO to bring more agility to the business.

"Each business process or action puts a certain number of IT processes into motion," she says, "which has brought about the need to automate certain IT processes."

Up until now, the truly "Adaptive Enterprise" has been nothing more than an academic theory that looked good on paper. "But the promises we made a year ago are being delivered upon, with the new product and service announcements from HP," Denzel adds.

"Eighteen months ago," she continues, "we already knew that to achieve a truly adaptive enterprise, HP needed to deepen its business process capabilities, and move more into the managed services space."

As a result of this move, she says, and the success that the company has experienced in the infrastructure market, HP has been able to make the adaptive enterprise more than just an academic theory.

"We have shown remarkable progress," she says, "as we already have some 300+ companies enlisted in our Agility Assessment Index, and have re-aligned our salesforce to adopt a more consultative approach."

According to HP, to date, orders for Adaptive Enterprise equipment have reached US$8,1bn, and the aim is to drive this segment to 50 percent of the company"s revenue. "Software is a strategic area for HP," says Denzel.

The notion of an adaptive enterprise is far from perfect, however, and even HP admits that there is still a lot of work to be done.

"But much has already been accomplished, and now the need is to drive automation to reduce the time between business decisions and the IT engagement of those decisions," adds Todd DeLaughter, vice-president and GM for HP"s management software organization.

He says that there is no set-in-concrete "Adaptive Enterprise" that a business can just buy and plug in. "Companies need to implement it in phases, using modular building blocks, and placing solutions where they are needed in the business," he says.

He adds that becoming an Adaptive Enterprise is as much of a mindset as it is a technology investment, and each business will have its own idea about what a truly Adaptive Enterprise is, but the underlying principles are the same. And, in HP"s case, that is automating IT"s interaction with business processes to help the business to capitalize on change.

New products

HP also announced new products and solutions that, it says, aim to automate the link between business processes and IT, allowing for IT resources to be delivered to meet shifting business priorities in the "Adaptive Enterprise".

HP OpenView Automation Manager is the first product to result from the combination of technologies from Novadigm and Consera, companies HP acquired earlier in 2004.

HP OpenView Automation Manager, HP says, expands the current generation of HP OpenView change and configuration management solutions by determining when the desired state needs to be changed in order to satisfy business priorities and automatically provisions based on capacity and current demand.

HP also announced enhancements to HP OpenView Service Desk. With all IT-critical operations data centralized through a common Configuration Management Database (CMDB), data is always synchronized and consistent, which helps improve service quality levels. HP OpenView Service Desk 5.0 responds to customers" requests for an easy-to-use solution, with quicker time to value and lower total cost of ownership.

Erik Moller, manager for storage and network solutions, also announced an updated version of HP Data Protector, version 5.5, which, he says, has enhanced media management features, back-up mirroring, and wider ecosystem coverage including SMI-S.

Other products announced by Moller include the new Ultrium 900 tape drive, which scales up to 800GB compressed, and has a transfer rate of 160MBps. The 900 also supports Worm cartridges and ships with a single server version of Data Protector 5.5.

Lastly, Moller says that HP will soon introduce a range of Optical Jukeboxes, a product that, he claims, is still in great demand. The entry-level devices will scale from 700GB to 1,1TB, HP says.

New reseller agreement

DeLaughter briefly touched on a new reseller agreement just signed with Cisco Systems, for the resale of various HP software solutions. These, he says, include Network Node manager, IP Telephony manager, IP Multicast manager, OpenView Performance Insight and TMIP.

Overall, HP seems confident that it is well on course to delivering the truly adaptive enterprise.