Adaptive management promising, but years away

Hewlett-Packard last week took a step toward making its "adaptive enterprise management" vision a reality, but users were left...

Hewlett-Packard took a step toward making its "adaptive enterprise management" vision a reality, but users were left with little doubt that it would take years for the strategy to fulfil its promise of reducing IT complexity and costs.

At the HP Software Forum in Chicago last week, the company unveiled more than 30 products and upgrades in its OpenView systems management software line, and made assurances that the products will bring IT shops closer to an infrastructure that can change with business needs and even heal itself.

However, attendees admitted they were not holding their breath. "It's obvious that we're going to get clear [systems] event management, but it's not happening today," said Steven Yee, director of channel development at Voyence, an OpenView integrator in Texas. "There is still no silver bullet."

Others believed their companies would take some convincing that the products would reduce costs

Many of the product releases, such as OpenView Network Node Manager (NNM) 7.0, were demonstrated at the event, but will not start shipping until 30 September.

Nora Denzel, senior vice president and general manager of HP's Global Software business unit, said in her keynote speech that adaptive management will provide the ability to "automate IT infrastructure to adapt to any business decision". Adaptable and self-healing networks will, eventually, free IT workers from maintenance and let them take on higher-level strategist and developer roles instead, she added.

Analysts agreed that the ultimate promise of adaptive management is still years away.

"[HP has] shown us a high-level view of a [yet-to-be] fully implemented strategy for leveraging IT resources in a virtualised business environment," said Tim Grieser, an analyst at IDC.

But Grieser noted that HP has already signed dozens of large customers for its Utility Data Center product, which he called the closest thing to a fully implemented adaptive management system.

"Obviously we aren't there, but we're closer. And this is more achievable than you think," said Laura Koetzle, an analyst at Forrester Research.

Still, Koetzle predicted that it would be 10 to 15 years before such software satisfied business and IT managers alike.

Matt Hamblen writes for Computerworld

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