Hewlett-Packard Details Middleware Strategy

This month Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to redefine its middleware strategy by announcing a new set of partnerships that will give it more power as an enterprise systems integrator.

This month Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to redefine its middleware strategy by announcing a new set of partnerships that will give it more power as an enterprise systems integrator.

The company will announce its new middleware strategy in two weeks, and is also expected to reveal plans to resell WebLogic's Tengah Java application server.

HP will also integrate Iona's object request broker (ORB) into its OpenView network management, ChangeEngine Workflow management software, and SoftBench and OpenStudio application-development packages.

Furthermore, the company will make inroads into new markets by leveraging partnerships with vendors such as supply-chain management specialist Ariba, according to company officials.

Significantly, WebLogic and Iona are working on partnerships with Microsoft, HP's strategic partner of choice.

HP is also expected to complete its plans to kill off its ORB+ development.

"We looked at our situation in the CORBA world, and the conclusion we came to was that HP doesn't help the CORBA world by fragmenting it further [with another ORB], so we decided to license Iona's," said Jishnu Mukerji, senior architect at HP.

Although Iona would not comment on any specifics of the deal, officials confirmed that they would be pursuing a wide-ranging OEM agreement with the company.

"HP has a very large systems-integration business and they have made a significant commitment to Iona," said Colin Newman, vice president of marketing at Iona, in Dublin, Ireland.

Meanwhile, one industry watcher said she thought that the alliances would benefit HP.

"It makes sense for HP to partner with Iona, rather than continue to develop its own product since ORBs are becoming a commodity item," said Anne Thomas, editor in chief of Distributed Computing Monitor at Patricia Seybold Group, a consultancy in Boston. "In WebLogic's case they will need to try and grow Tengah into a volume business. This deal, like the OEM deal they have just done with Novell will help them to achieve this."

HP's play in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) market will lie in its role as a enterprise systems integrator.

"We are looking at a number of bundling deals," said Sara Jacobsen, HP's Java program manager.

HP has identified Java/CORBA technology as a rallying point for new ERP product plans, officials at the company said.

"These are important to HP's interest in providing an optimized enterprise platform for the Internet," said a representative at HP. However, officials pointed out that its relationship with Microsoft was not to be ignored.

HP will focus its new-found middleware and Java development efforts on several key vertical areas, according to company officials.

"We are looking at ERP, supply-chain management, and electronic commerce," Jacobsen said. "So our strategy with companies like WebLogic is to provide the best deployment platforms for vertical applications."

HP officials pointed out that the company had not signed a contract with WebLogic.

Hewlett-Packard Co., in Palo Alto, California, can be reached at http://www.hp.com/.

****[Note to editors: This article appears in the April 6 issue of InfoWorld and may not appear online or in print prior to this date.]

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