At HP Software Universe 2008 in Vienna, Austria, last week, HP announced feature updates to the HP Universal Configuration
Management Database (UCMDB) 8.0, including more extensive integration with other HP's Business Technology Optimization products.
HP's UCMDB came to HP via its 2006 acquisition of Mercury Interactive Corp. is integrated with HP's business service management (BSM) suite of products and, like any true configuration management database (CMDB), offers federation, gives users a view of infrastructure and application relationships through discovery and dependency mapping, and also tracks change history, ostensibly offering data center managers and admintrators a 360-degree view of IT operations.Bringing order to chaos
With the update, UCMDB has integrated with more than 17 products in HP's Business Technology Optimization software portfolio, including new integrations with HP Business Availability Center 8.0, HP Operations Manager i-Series, HP Network Node Manager i-Series Advanced, and HP Service Manager 7.1.
Other new features include the following:
- New Modeling Studio that makes it easier to map applications;
- Multi-data source federation and attribute-level federation; and
- Easier export of data in tables and the ability to email reports.
UCMDB pricing starts at U.S.$60, 000.
Users generally look to HP's UCMDB for visibility into all their systems. "[HP's Universal CMDB] gives administrators a unified 360-degree view of IT operations and business services, so they can access data center information they need. It removes all the silos," said Ramin Sayar, the senior director of HP's Business Service Management, Software and Technology Solutions Group.
Tulio Quinones, an enterprise systems management unit manager for a company that provides IT consolidation consulting services, uses HP's UCMDB to manage client data at 1,100 worldwide locations.
Prior to installing a CMDB, the company stored client data in various management tools and used homegrown tools to pull data as needed. "We were successful with monitoring tools and managing them for the companies we managed, but when we were asked to combine several companies onto a single system, things got very messy," Quinones said. "We couldn't keep track of the dependencies and who owned what … and we wanted to store all this information centrally instead of using many separate monitoring tools."
To boot, uploading the data into numerous separate tools was a plodding, time-consuming process. "It was an incredible amount of work just to load data into the system. And by the time it was loaded, it was already stale," Quinones said.
Being a legacy HP shop, Quinones looked to HP's UCMDB as a way to consolidate their systems management tools and organize client data. One major benefit of HP's UCMDB is that users can combine it with existing tools, he said. "It wasn't a rip and replace. We aligned tools and integrations with it, instead of starting over. Another beneficial feature, he said, is UCMDB's relationship mapping capabilities, he said. "The UCMDB allows us to see the relationship between the host and the network and the network and the application."
Prior to implementing UCMDB, the company struggled just to maintain batches of data, but the software has enabled it to improve systems rather than simply spend all its time maintaining them. "It is quickly becoming a core of our integration strategy," Quinones said.
Quinones currently uses UCMDB version 7.5 and plans to upgrade to the new version of HP UCMDB (8.0) soon. He anticipates several features in the new version, such as change tracking and verification (planned and unplanned). "Currently, we leave it up to the engineer to verify the change with inconsistent results. Untracked changes have always been a challenge for us," Quinones said. "With 8.0, we will be able to compare managed/approved state [HP Service Manager 7.1] with actual state [UCMDB 8.0].
Open Manager i (Omi) integration is another huge plus, he said. "We do a lot of human correlation across the domains we manage. With OMi and UCMDB 8.0, we will be able to correlate events across domains and determine the real-time health of interweaved and dependant services," Quinones said. "Currently, we know when we have a disk issue or a network bottleneck, however, we are presented with a challenge when determining the impact of this event. With OMI and UCMDB, we will be able to know the impact immediately." Declining economy ushers in deals
Since a declining U.S. economy has made it difficult for companies to justify IT spending, HP has begun to offer 0% financing for companies in countries where HP has a large presence and the economy has caused budget concerns, Sayar said.
HP is offering a 0% financing promotion through July 31, 2009, for licensing costs on HP BTO and IM software for qualifying deals over $100,000. The promotion is available in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and the U.S.
"We don't want customers to worry abut having to finance services from us. And for customers who want to invest in us, we want it to be a no-brainer," Sayar said.