HP Extends NT Management with OpenView Express

Earlier this month, Hewlett-Packard Co. released an OpenView product designed to extend the management capabilities of Windows NT to include networked applications.

HP says its new OpenView Express unites application, network, system, and storage management with cross-discipline integration, implementation services, and support.

Application management has become an IT buzzword, and the influx of products claiming to manage applications emphasizes this status. But defining application management can be just as tricky as managing the applications themselves.

Bryan Dean, OpenView Express solution manager at HP, says applications need to be managed across the network. This includes servers, desktops, and all the plumbing in between, as well as the software.

While some applications have a simple client/server relationship, the applications that really need to be managed carefully are the programs that require the whole network to function well, such as Microsoft Exchange.

"If you’re just looking at the server, you’re not managing the application," Dean says.

The OpenView Express solution includes three components: OmniBack for NT storage management software; Network Node Manager 250 for NT network management software; and Manage X, application and system management software. The combined components also ship with a cross-discipline integration package.

According to Cathy Fitzgerald, general manager of HP’s OpenView Express division, the product is designed to facilitate quicker problem isolation and resolution by integrating information across management disciplines in areas such as event correlation, thresholds, alarming, and reporting.

OpenView Express also has two of what HP refers to as extended solutions -- essentially software snap-ins that extend the functionality of the overall product. The extended solutions include a Microsoft Exchange management Smart Plug-in and HP OpenView Service Desk.

The Exchange tool provides more control over Microsoft Exchange. HP OpenView Service Desk delivers help-desk capabilities and proactive support.

"We have several snap-ins that are going to be coming out in the future, such as one for Lotus Notes," Fitzgerald says.

HP is aiming OpenView Express at the midmarket, defined by HP as companies generating between $50 million and $1 billion in revenue. Dataquest (www.dataquest.com), a market research firm, estimates revenue generated by network systems management vendors within this market segment will grow to $5 billion by 2002.

Stephen Elliott, an analyst at Dataquest, confirms that there is a need for OpenView Express in this market segment because companies traditionally have had to choose between expensive, overwhelming frameworks and point products that offer less functionality created by smaller start-up companies.

In the case of frameworks, the complexity of deployment and use, as well as the price points, make the software unrealistic for middle-market companies.

HP’s OpenView Express, on the other hand, sells at a base price under $18,000 -- not cheap, but less than the cost for expensive framework packages.

"Price may be a factor, but outsourcing could be a bigger issue," Elliott says. "Right now we are watching to see if customers will outsource this type of management or prefer to do it in-house."