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HP launches SOA on the world

Fresh from its assimiliation of Mercury (fresh from its assimilation of Systinet), Hewlett-Packard has announced a new suite of SOA related products and services. As Radovan Janacek (ex-Systinet, ex-Mercury, current-HP) points out, they even retained the Systinet name for some of them. Anne Livermore, EVP Technology Solutions Group in HP had this to say:
“SOA is entirely transforming the way IT is created, delivered and consumed, providing organizations with a software and systems infrastructure that is more agile and cost-effective and that delivers better business outcomes. HP is committed to providing the tools and expertise customers need to begin adopting SOA successfully. Our open, standards-based approach maximizes the business benefit from their SOA initiatives.”
The suite, called the Business Technology Optimization for SOA (BTO), is apparently an integrated set of software and services designed to help customers address some of the biggest challenges in SOA adoption, including:

  • Control over the lifecycle of services creation and reuse;
  • Reducing the risk of low-quality, poor-performing services;
  • Managing services and application in production;
  • Identifying and resolving SOA-related problems before they negatively impact the business;
  • Utilizing services regardless of the underlying integration platform.
Anne Thomas Manes, VP and research director of Burton Group (and ex-Systinet from several years before the acquisitions) agreed that governance of SOA is critical to the success of any deployment:
“A strong governance, quality and management program – addressing the entire service lifecycle from design and development through operations and maintenance – is critically important to a successful SOA initiative. Enterprise-wide SOA systems are likely to encompass heterogeneous computing environments; therefore, organizations should adopt a standards-based, platform-neutral approach to governance, quality and management, and they should keep interoperability high on their list of priorities.”
The suite offers solutions in the following broad categories:

  • Governance, through HP SOA Systiner 2.5.1, which includes new service lifecycle and policy management along with workflow capabilities.
  • Quality, by extending the existing HP Change Impact and Business Process Testing packages so they are SOA-aware.
  • Management, with the HP Business Availability Center that delivers real-time monitoring and management of Web Services
As part of the announcement, HP is also offering service support to companies that are ready to move beyond the initial pilot stage of SOA development. Zapthink analyst Ron Schmeltzer doesn't think this puts HP quite in the same league as IBM with respect to SOA, citing a lack of a home-grown middleware company as a disadvantage:
IBM has an advantage over HP in SOA, said Schmelzer, because HP doesn't own a middleware software company. That means HP can provide software and consulting to manage an SOA deployment, but they can't actually run an SOA-based service except by partnering with a middleware provider.
But we know from past experience that HP and its own middleware companies tend to mix like oil and water.

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