HP is promising its enterprise customers an improved means of assessing and adapting their infrastructure to changing needs following its purchase Wednesday of software firm Talking

Blocks.

Executives said in a conference call the products from San Francsico-based Talking Blocks, which is privately held, would be incorporated into HP’s OpenView software line, providing increased management capabilities to firms that are pursuing a Web services strategy.

Nora Denzel, senior vice-president of HP software’s global business unit, said Talking Blocks’ software would help a company figure out how many transactions it can put through a trading system before the market closes at the end of the day, for example. This will allow customers to proactively deal with potential service delivery issues before they happen she said. At its annual Software Forum in Chicago this past June, HP Software had already said it was working on a Web services management engine to deal with these kinds of problems, but Talking Blocks had already developed a standards-based product.

HP refers to the management of Web services as its “”adaptive enterprise”” strategy, whereby software allows firms to monitor all statuses in the state of a system, keep track of response times and offer advice on provisioning of IT resources on demand in a “”utility computing”” model. In some cases the user may take care of that provisioning, in other cases, as with IBM’s autonomic computing products, the system would manage itself.

“”It helps ensure the underlying complexity that undermines service remains hidden,”” Denzel said. “”It also provides time and cost reductions in terms of resolving service problems.””

Canadian early adopters of HP’s adaptive enterprise strategy include Radio Shack Canada, which uses some of the software tools.

“”It sounds like a miracle,”” said Margo Weeks, Radio Shack Canada’s CIO. “”Everybody wants to know what their environment’s doing. There’s a million tools out there but, you know, they all have a little quirk. If you could just look and say, ‘Oh, we’re going to max out on the bandwidth or the load on the network’ or whatever, my God, it’d be great.””

Mark Potts, Talking Blocks’ chief technology officer, said the company was particularly interested in HP’s services and support capabilities.

“”The Web services management market is littered with a set of small startups,”” he said. “”For our customers, it’s a larger company with more resources.””

While HP’s Software division is committed to an organic growth strategy, no one is ruling out buyouts of other startups, Denzel said.

“”I think you’ll see a balance between buy, build and partner,”” she said. “”It wouldn’t be uncommon if you saw more partnerships and I see more acquisitions if they make sense.””

HP expects to close the acquisition by the end of the month and begin integrating Talking Blocks products into OpenView shortly thereafter, Denzel added. Shareholder approval is not required for this deal to go through.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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