Users of openview management tools said they are relieved to see Hewlett-Packard recovering from recent fumbles in the enterprise management arena and clarifying the future of OpenView.
HP this week said OpenView will have a laser-sharp focus on quality of service -- in other words, helping information systems managers provide the uptime and performance levels that businesses are demanding.
To demonstrate its renewed commitment and focus, HP announced service-oriented tools designed to make OpenView deliver tangible results sooner than its competitors' suites.
"Now that I know where they are going and how they will differentiate themselves, I feel a whole lot better," said Paul Edmunds, a senior network analyst at Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina. "Every vendor talks a great set of buzzwords about service management, but HP is assembling the tools and expertise so we can make it happen."
Concern about HP's commitment to OpenView flared up several times last year.
Users and analysts complained that HP was lost in the battle between Computer Associates and Tivoli Systems for a market that could reach US$18 billion by 2001.
Many wondered if shifting the software division to the services division signaled a demotion. And many were shocked when HP hardware divisions bundled competing products with their servers.
"There's no doubt left about the importance of OpenView software to HP's business," said Sandra Potter, a telecommunications engineer at Air Products & Chemicals Inc. in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and president of the OpenView Forum user group.
Users said they were reassured to hear HP Chairman and CEO Lew Platt stress the strategic role of OpenView software. Platt said HP's goal is to help transform an IS manager's role from tactical technologist to trustee of critical business services.
"That goal provides a practical focus for enterprise management technology" that has been missing from CA and Tivoli, said Jim Herman, vice president at Northeast Consulting Resources Inc. in Boston. "HP is clearly showing why you need integrated management tools: to report what's meaningful to the business, not to the devices."
For example, IS managers at Electronic Data Systems Corp. are under pressure from internal users and external customers to maintain availability of services, not specific systems and network connections, said Michael Stollery, an advanced systems administrator at the EDS service management center in Sacramento, California.
"They don't care if we can ping a server 98% of the time. They want E-mail, databases and Web servers available 98 percent of the time," Stollery said. "HP is going in the right direction to help us do that."
Even so, HP can't deliver all the pieces to meet a company's management needs. EDS, for example, plans to use CA's Unicenter TNG as the manager of managers to give IS a clear view of business processes. It will interact with HP's network manager, NetScout Systems Inc.'s traffic monitor and BMC Software Inc.'s system manager.