February 4, 2004 12:58 PM PST

HP to bolster utility computing effort with buyouts

With a pair of acquisitions, Hewlett-Packard is looking to pick up some additional systems-management technology to help it push forward with its utility computing efforts.

HP announced Wednesday that it plans to buy Consera Software and Novadigm. The two companies will provide HP with components to add to its OpenView


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systems-management software, which monitors information technology operations and identifies problems such as overloaded servers or malfunctioning storage devices.

Novadigm's program is designed to help automate software upgrades and other configuration-management activities and bring an element of standardization to mixed IT environments. Consera's software is meant to help businesses create a standardized technology infrastructure that can adapt to changing business demands.

"Together, they put repetitive, error-prone IT management tasks on cruise control," Nora Denzel, senior vice president for HP's Adaptive Enterprise initiative, said in a statement.

HP will pay $6.10 for each outstanding share of Novadigm's stock, bringing the value of that deal to approximately $116.1 million. Financial terms for the Consera deal were not disclosed.

The flexibility and automation Hewlett-Packard sees in the Novadigm and Consera products are likely to play a key role in the evolution of Adaptive Enterprise, HP's take on the utility computing trend sweeping the tech industry. Under a plan that's still taking shape, HP envisions helping customers respond more quickly to changes in their operations by linking business processes more tightly with IT products.

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Getty Images, a provider of stock footage, archival photographs and the like for filmmakers and advertisers, signed on to the initiative last month, saying it would invest in a number of HP offerings, including OpenView, and would bring the tech company on board to support the Getty Web site.

Like HP's Adaptive Enterprise initiative, utility computing efforts at competitors such as IBM and Sun Microsystems are aimed at retooling traditional computing strategies to minimize headaches for systems administrators, cut down on underused or inefficient systems, and lower customers' costs--all while providing tech suppliers with a steady stream of revenue.

Both Sun and Big Blue have also been on the acquisition trail en route to utility computing's promised land. In May, IBM bought software developer Think Dynamics in order to incorporate Think's technology into its Tivoli line, and in July, Sun agreed to acquire start-up CenterRun to bolster its N1 plan.

The planned Novadigm and Consera acquisitions aren't HP's first in the area of systems-management software. In September, HP said it would buy Talking Blocks, a developer of software for providing Web services security, tracking Web services applications and managing application processing.

The deals for Novadigm, of Mahwah, N.J., and Consera, of Bellevue, Wash., are subject to approval by those companies' shareholders and to standard closing conditions.

 

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