HP bundles asset discovery tools

HP Configuration Management System (CMS) 10 features multitenancy capabilities and a browser based interfaced

Hewlett-Packard has reorganized its suite of enterprise configuration-management software, collecting into one package a number of its asset discovery tools and equipping its asset database for multiclient service.

HP Configuration Management System (CMS 10), to be released this week, "simplifies the way our customers procure, deploy and use our discovery products," said Jimmy Augustine, an HP director of product marketing.

With this release, a number of different HP asset management tools have been bundled into a single package, called Universal Discovery.

Universal Discovery includes what was formerly called the Desktop Management Interface (DMI). DMI, an asset management software application, interrogates desktop computers and servers to collect inventory information, such as what operating system is running, how much storage the computer has, what programs are installed, and how often the computer is run. Such information is handy for license management, Augustine said.

Universal Discovery also folds in HP Discovery and Dependency Mapping (DDM), another asset tracking tool. This automated discovery tool maps dependencies, such as what servers and databases a software program relies upon. "It offers a picture of how things work together to offer a service," Augustine said. Universal Discovery also includes a passive discovery tool, one that monitors network traffic to report what virtual machines and other software are running, information potentially handy for managing cloud services.

Assembling these software tools in one package should simplify management for clients, or so goes HP's thinking. "Most of our clients have both DDM and DMI so this simplifies the product structure for our clients," Augustine said. The aggregation is also designed to simplify data storage as well -- all the HP asset tools store the data they collect in a common database.

CMS 10's database, where all the operational data is stored, has been updated as well. The Universal Configuration Management Database (UCMDB) can now keep separate records for multiple business units. Such a feature, called multitenancy, is ideal "for large service providers," such as a SaaS (software as a service) provider or a Web hosting service, Augustine said. Clients can see "how your running their server environments in your data center," Augustine said.

"Initially, some of the large cloud service providers did not provide a lot of visibility into how they managed the infrastructure for their clients. Now, they are becoming a bit more open, and we believe that trend will only continue," Augustine said. Multitenancy could also be useful for large organizations, which could use the partitioning for contractors or different business units.

CMS 10, the first major update of the software in two years, comes with a number of other changes as well. The software also includes a new browser based interface, called HP UCMDB Browser, which might help those with less expertise -- such as security or application development teams -- navigate through the operational data more easily. They could search the database to see how widely particular applications are deployed within an organization, or if there are performance issues or defects associated with a software program. The package also includes 10 new discovery patterns, including a number for SAP's HANA database product.

HP claims that 20 companies in the Fortune 50 use CMS, including a number of the largest telecommunications firms and automobile manufacturers. Many mid-sized organizations use the software too.

CMS 10, part of the HP IT Performance Suite, starts at US$30,000.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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Joab Jackson

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