Hewlett Packard Makes Multiple Moves in Middleware

  • Written By: M. Reed
  • Published: May 16 2001

Hewlett Packard Makes Multiple Moves in Middleware
M. Reed - May 16, 2001

Event Summary

On April 30, Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HWP) and TIBCO Software Inc. (NASDAQ:TIBX) announced an agreement to jointly develop products, solutions and marketing strategies for the service provider and telecommunications markets. Through a three-year collaboration agreement, the companies plan to support high-volume online transactions and to enhance the performance, reliability and advanced middleware needs of global customers.

The alliance will leverage HP OpenView management solutions to integrate TIBCO Software's real-time e-business infrastructure software with the HP Netaction Internet operating environment to help customers implement reliable, secure, scalable and manageable e-business solutions. The HP Middleware Division will lead HP's joint development activities using standards such as J2EE and XML that will complement the current TIBCO products, providing a pathway for future jointly developed products and services.

"This agreement is an important step in HP's software strategy," said Bill Russell, vice president, HP Software Solutions Organization. "TIBCO is a leader in business integration software and this agreement builds on HP and TIBCO's shared vision of the evolution of e-business technologies, our joint development plans and our collaborative market strategies."

Also on April 30, IONA Technologies announced that it had signed an agreement with HP that will allow the incorporation of IONA's Orbix 2000 within HP Bluestone Total-e-Server, the application server of the HP Netaction family of products to provide customers with an industry standard Object Request Broker (ORB) rather than a proprietary ORB.

According to P. Kevin Kilroy, vice president and general manager, HP Middleware Division, "Our goal is to provide our customers with a flexible, reliable, scalable and secure e-services infrastructure. IONA's Orbix 2000 offers enhanced interoperability support, allowing us to continue to deliver a truly integrated e-services solution, to stay flexible and to meet the ever-changing requirements of the Internet."

"HP's selection of Orbix 2000 is an endorsement for IONA's technology and Total Business Integration strategy," said Barry Morris, CEO of IONA. "I am pleased that HP will be taking advantage of our extremely advanced Adaptive Runtime Technology within their Internet Operating Environment."

On May 1, HP and webMethods, Inc. (NASDAQ:WEBM) announced a strategic alliance to co-develop software that improves the quality of customers' Internet business interactions. The HP OpenView software business unit will collaborate with webMethods to create software to help companies efficiently monitor and manage the performance of their business IT environment to meet their e-business needs.

The offering from HP OpenView and webMethods is expected to help customers discover and correct problems in application connectivity and enable better management of application interactions throughout the extended supply chain. While the current HP OpenView offering provides a dashboard for viewing the performance of networks, systems, applications and services, through collaboration with webMethods, HP expects to extend the management capabilities of HP OpenView to include business process management.

On the subject of the webMethods agreement, HP's Russell stated "webMethods is a proven leader in providing companies with business process automation software solutions. HP and webMethods' advanced technologies and consulting expertise provide customers a solid foundation for building their e-businesses."

Market Impact

Since Hewlett Packard bought Bluestone Software and announced agreements with these other vendors, the HP Middleware Division has been moving to the forefront of Hewlett Packard's strategic initiatives. HP has obviously realized that the concept of an "application server" is becoming more accepted by customers, and has taken an increasingly critical place in corporate web initiatives.

Hewlett Packard is obviously a major force in the IT world. If it chooses to compete head-to-head with initiatives from iPlanet (a Sun/Netscape alliance), BEA Systems, IBM, and others, it is only a matter of bringing the appropriate HP resources and dedication to bear. HP is definitely a little late in joining the game, but as Microsoft has proven many times, a virtually unlimited budget (HP's FY 2000 total revenue from continuing operations was $48.8 billion) can do wonders in making up for a late start.

Another important point is that HP intends to integrate OpenView up-front to help monitor and manage these complex, bi-directional, multi-platform, multi-system processes. This is an important distinction, and one that has, at least to date, been largely ignored by the other major systems management vendors, Computer Associates and BMC Software. Being the first to place an emphasis on the control of these business-critical processes may give HP an important edge in the market for total application integration solutions.

In terms of purchasing an EAI vendor, the jury is still out. Some industry sources have indicated that New Era of Networks (NEON) was being considered, but Sybase has taken that vendor out of play. Other possibilities, depending on exactly what functionalities HP decides to shop for, may include Mercator Software, IONA, Vitria, or TIBCO.

User Recommendations

Over the course of the last two years, the Application Integration market (loosely defined by TEC as including EAI, IAI, B2Bi, and A2A applications) has become a confusing mass of vendor mergers, acquisitions, name changes, strategic direction changes, marketing message changes, and more. A customer evaluating these types of technologies is strongly advised to first decide exactly what functionality is required to solve the current business problem(s) and then require the vendors under consideration for technology selection to speak directly to those issues. This should help to cut down on the level of hype and "catch phrase" noise that the customer's evaluation team will have to wade through.

In terms of high-level functionality, strong emphasis should be placed on a product or products' ability to provide management information. Whether this is through some type of integrated "management console", SNMP alerts, or some other method, it is critical that the "big picture" (actually large, complex, distributed units of work) can be monitored and controlled.

It is clear that Hewlett Packard will continue to make strategic moves in the area of application integration, and companies evaluating application integration technology should include HP on a long list of vendors to be considered. Keep an eye on HP in the near future, there is obviously more to come.

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