HP OpenView Sets Sights on E-Commerce

Last year, HP rolled out a revamped and extended HP OpenView suite designed to give IT managers a view of the entire service environment. Does the revamped HP OpenView VantagePoint reflect HP's goals in allowing IT managers to focus on business, rather than just technical results?

The technology of the new electronic world may be propelling a booming economy, driving a sizzling, if volatile, stock market, and changing everything - from the way businesses collaborate, to the way we order pizza - but it's also been giving IT managers a headache, especially in the area of system management.

The major players in the system management arena developed their software suites to align with IT department organizations divided along technology lines - a network management team, a systems management group, a storage management administrator and so on. There was relatively little overlap among these groups, and the system management vendors usually developed tools independently to solve specific management issues faced by a particular group. But, all that has changed in the new e-world.

Applications, and the services built on them, cross boundaries, and IT organizations must be able to manage a service from the back end to the end user, including external users. That means IT managers need solutions that integrate management functions and portray the entire service environment.

Last year, the large vendors - HP, Tivoli and Computer Associates (CA) - took steps to enhance their management suites so IT managers could effectively control extranets and e-commerce sites. Then, in February, HP, the predominant player in the system management space, rolled out a revamped and extended HP OpenView suite designed to give IT managers a view of the entire service environment.

The revamped system management suite, now rebranded HP OpenView VantagePoint, fulfills two purposes, according to John Peters, Marketing Manager for HP OpenView. The first is consolidation. "We've consolidated various availability and performance management products under the VantagePoint name. So IT/Operations [now VantagePoint Operations], PerfView, MeasureWare, Service Reporter and Web Transaction Observer all become part of VantagePoint," Peters says. "Second, we've added new capabilities as part of the VantagePoint rebranding, because we had to focus on key transitions in the customer environment. There's a lot more interest in driving the IT infrastructure and IT applications from a business, rather than a technology, perspective. Electronic business initiatives have changed conditions for our customers, forcing us to introduce new approaches to IT."

HP OpenView VantagePoint reflects HP's three main goals in allowing IT managers to focus on business, rather than just technical results. "First, we've moved away from the silo approach of the past - silos built on particular technologies," Peters explains. "We've provided integration to talk across silos, although, of course, we still need technical experts who are specialists in databases, Windows NT, UNIX, and what have you. But we're allowing IT managers to better align processes and functions with what they're trying to achieve in the business."

Second, HP is better meeting IT managers' need for rapid deployment and adaptability of management solutions. "E-business is thrusting new processes, new applications into the system very rapidly because IT is being measured by business results," Peters says. "IT has to build in new applications very rapidly in order to compete. The speed with which they can adapt new technologies is a key factor in managing these technologies. So, it's important that we provide for speedy implementation of manageability, as well as for speedy implementation of new solutions."

Finally, Peters says VantagePoint addresses the issue of the lack of skilled IT professionals. "With VantagePoint, we help to reduce the skills required in IT management by automating processes."

Intelligence Management

HP OpenView Vantage Point manages business services through three types of intelligence: business-driven intelligence, instant intelligence and active intelligence.

Business-driven intelligence is rooted in HP OpenView's Service Navigator technology, first developed to provide a visualization mechanism for IT services managed by OpenView IT/Operations. With VantagePoint, this capability has been transformed to provide a top-to-bottom view that addresses immediate business perspectives rather than infrastructure and server issues. Business-driven intelligence provides business-centric views of critical services; shows the business impact by relating business processes to services and their underlying network, systems and application elements; and measures IT performance in terms of business service objectives and bottom-line results.

With service views, IT managers can visualize how IT resources work together to deliver business services, as well as clarify the bigger picture or focus on a particular managed object. The views show network elements, computer systems, databases and the application itself so that IT can identify the components that make up a particular service. If a component fails, then, it is clear which services are at risk. IT managers can modify service views via a graphical configuration tool. The views are dynamically updated on-screen as the underlying management model changes so there is an ongoing, realtime, virtual representation of the business service. VantagePoint Reporter supports the service-level model by providing standard and customizable reports showing IT service quality levels (application response times and service availability) from aggregated event and performance data to provide reports on service delivery performance.

VantagePoint's instant intelligence makes use of an auto-discovery mechanism to discover and manage services in the electronic environment. Information obtained through auto-discovery is used to populate the management model repository. Management models capture and maintain all elements of an end-to-end business service, including the hierarchy, dependencies and relationships between elements, as well as the business rules and service-level information contained within IT processes. Management models learn and adapt based on prior management experience, and adjust automatically and dynamically as components of a business service are added, removed and changed.

The VantagePoint service broker works in tandem with management model policies to prescribe the agent services to be deployed to a managed object. The types of policies enacted on the managed node are not "one-size-fits-all," but depend on what is prescribed by the policy. If, for example, management of an Oracle database is limited to the collection of historical performance information, only measurement agent services are deployed, not services that control thresholding, events and actions. VantagePoint also offers prepackaged management models, or Smart Plug-Ins (SPIs). These include second-generation SPIs, as well as new SPIs for Windows 2000/NT, Microsoft SQL Server, BroadVision and VantagePoint self-management. Users also are able to develop their own SPIs.

Active Intelligence provides an automated response to unanticipated changes and problems in the IT environment, triggered via a performance threshold. Active Intelligence continues to deploy a set of health metrics until the problem is analyzed and corrected.

The active intelligence approach works like this: When first deployed, VantagePoint collects defined service-level statistics, such as response times on key transactions, service uptime, and so on, as well as key IT infrastructure metrics, like CPU load and I/O rates, on distributed managed objects. Through the measurement engine, the frequency and intensity of data collection can be altered based on the status of the managed service. IT managers can view problems, in context, to connect the problem with a higher level service. Fixes, in the form of scripts or other applications, can be automatically executed or operator-initiated on a remote node.

All three types of intelligence are compliant with the CIMM (Common Information Management Model) and WM (Microsoft Management Interface) specifications.

Solutions for Service Providers

In revamping OpenView, HP didn't forget its 19 million ISP customers who use the management software. Following its announcement of OpenView VantagePoint, HP unveiled OpenView Venture Solutions, which enable service providers to offer Web-based delivery of management and business information to their customers.

"What service providers offer - bandwidth access and pure network access - are becoming commodities," says Tom Major, Service Provider General Manager for HP OpenView. "Service providers have to move up and sell more value-added services if they want to increase their revenue and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

"With HP OpenView Venture Solutions, we're providing solutions based on software that enables service providers to offer new services," Major adds. "OpenView Venture gives the screen back to the end user - the service provider's customer - so that users now can look into the environment the service provider is delivering them."

HP OpenView Venture Solutions include OpenView Venture Foundation, OpenView Venture Networks, and OpenView Venture Customer Experience. Venture Foundation allows service providers to give their customers a secure, personalized interface to account status and services information. An interactive communication link between the service provider and the end customer gives the provider a means of enhancing customer satisfaction.

OpenView Venture Networks enables service providers to create customized Web-based views for each customer or group of customers, with network information that includes topology maps, events, performance summaries and network health, augmented with messages and other customer information.

OpenView Venture Customer Experience modules will enable service providers to provide visibility to the performance of hosted Web services. Customers will be able to view the actual end user access trends and performance of their e-services infrastructure. HP plans to partner with vendors like WebTrends and BEA Systems to provide modules, and, in early May, introduced a module developed with Keynote Systems, a provider of Web site performance measurement and diagnostic services.

HP is integrating OpenView VantagePoint with Keynote Perspective to allow users to view Keynote measurement data in OpenView's user interface. Through predefined reports, users will be able to view, side-by-side on a single console, data collected by Perspective, which measures the realtime end user experience, with the actual IT infrastructure performance transaction times collected by OpenView VantagePoint Web Transaction Observer. Moreover, if a user's IT infrastructure is identified as the bottleneck, users can associate Perspective data with IT infrastructure performance data collected by OpenView, to quickly identify performance problems.

Solutions for IT Providers

HP is also targeting a particular group of providers - IT service providers - with its recently unveiled OpenView VantagePoint Internet Services. These solutions aim to enable IT service providers to obtain more revenue by selling Internet service management, improve customer loyalty through "peak demand" management, and implement cost-efficient financial administration through subscriber usage.

The HP OpenView VantagePoint Internet Services provide a Web-basedservice dashboard with a cohesive view of the service provider's customers, Internet services, and support physical infrastructure. This gives account managers an instantaneous picture of service level compliance and allows the operations staff to isolate potential problems, assess impact, and forewarn customers. Services being managed include Web, secure Web, mail, news, naming (DNS), authentication, directory and firewall services. Health summaries of these services are based on information from active software probes, which gather performance statistics from different points in the network.

The first release of VantagePoint Internet Services will support an NT-based measurement server and NT probes, and will be followed by a second release that will provide HP-UX and Solaris support for both the probes and the database on the measurement server.

HP has also announced it is integrating HP WebQoS with Vantage Point to give IT service providers the ability to assure SLAs even under extreme loading conditions and create differentiated offerings by configuring multiple classes of services for users and applications. The WebQoS and HP OpenView integration will be delivered in two phases. The first phase will include integration with VantagePoint Operations, VantagePoint Performance, and VantagePoint Reporter. The second will include integration with HP OpenView Web Transaction Observer and HP OpenView PolicyXpert.

On the service usage metering front, HP also announced integration of its SMART Internet Usage solution with OpenView to give IT service providers single management station access to both network management and usage information. The integration allows capacity planners to correlate resource consumption with patterns of usage for the same traffic in order to optimize the network configuration. Network performance can then be easily traced back to the user, or users, causing the bottleneck.

- Jean Nattkemper is the Editor at Large for HP Professional. She can be reached at jnattkemper@hppro.com.

Integrating HP OpenView with e-speak

It's not surprising that HP chose OpenView as the first enterprise management solution to be embedded in e-speak, the new technology helping to drive HP's e-services strategy. e-speak, which consists of five components - dynamic discovery, service composition, negotiation, contracting, and mediation - allows services to come together dynamically to achieve the end a user desires, without human intervention.

HP now boasts a demo in which it has successfully implemented about 60 percent of OpenView's features in e-speak. The demo runs so well, reports Dave Lewis of HP's e-speak operation, that it operates on a 24x7 basis and has been brought down only when HP engineers wanted to make additions.

The demo features an e-speak ecosystem handling travel mediation for a major U.S. airline. This ecosystem is constantly receiving transactions from a TestDriver application and delivering services. The second piece of the demo features an OpenView interface that reports statistics - for example, usage rates and SLA violations - on what is taking place within the ecosystem.

This e-speak enabled ecosystem solves a major problem for airlines dealing with stranded passengers. It provides services now generated only through manual processes. The ecosystem allows the airline to dynamically discover, compose, negotiate, contract and mediate a solution for each passenger on a canceled flight, based on the needs of the individual. Moreover, this customized one-to-one solution can be delivered to hundreds of people in a very short time. OpenView plays its role in all this by reporting on that take place as the TestDriver moves transactions through the ecosystem.

- J.N.

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HP OpenView Products

HP OpenView Products

Agilent NetMetrix

OpenView Express

Agilent NetMetrix Service Simulator

OVC (Telecom)

AssetView

PerfView (now VantagePoint Performance)

Customer Views for NNM (Network Node Manager)

PolicyXpert

Desktop Administrator

Service Desk

Extensible SNMP Agent

SMART Plug-Ins

GlancePlus and GlancePlus Pak

SMART Plug-Ins for Exchange

HP Dazel Output Management Solutions

Software Distributor

IT Service Management

 

IT/Administration

VantagePoint

IT/Operations (now VantagePoint Operations)

VantagePoint Database Pak 2000

ManageX

VantagePoint Operations

MeasureWare (now VantagePoint Performance)

VantagePoint Performance (PerfView and MeasureWare)

Network Node Manager

VantagePoint Reporter (Service Reporter)

Node Sentry

VantagePoint Response Time Workbench

OmniBack II

VantagePoint SMART Plug-Ins

OmniStorage

VantagePoint Web Transaction Observer

Openspool