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The adaptive enterprise is an umbrella

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HP's adaptive enterprise is, well, adapting.

After enduring months of criticism for being vague at best and incomprehensible at worst over its adaptive enterprise vision, HP unveiled a series of partnerships, services and software to help people understand what it's talking about. The company has summed up the adaptive enterprise in one word.

"The adaptive enterprise is an umbrella," said Peter Blackmore, executive vice president at HP, during a press conference held today in Germany.

Okay, it's not an umbrella. It's an umbrella term that leads to adaptive management. Yep, call us dense, but we're still confused. Nonetheless, HP did roll out an impressive set of product on the day, and, vague as it, appears to be well ahead of competitors with the next-generation of data center management gear.

Of most immediate interest to IT managers is HP's roll out of the new Systems Insight Manager product - code-named Nimbus. El Reg brought you the exclusive on the software way back in July. The software combines HP's Insight Manager 7, Top Tools and Service Control Manager products into a single management package. Users can now manage Windows, Linux and HP-UX servers from one console via a command line or with GUI help.

"I think HP has a pretty good opportunity here," said James Governor, principal analyst at RedMonk."With the current consolidation in many data centers to standardized racks of Intel systems, you do want a single mechanism for managing Windows and Linux."

HP plans to have other OpenView tools, ISV products and even management technology from rivals such as Sun Microsystems plug into the Systems Insight Manager product. The sum total is that admins can become familiar with a common interface no matter what type of system they are working on.

In addition, the software fits in well with HP's Itanium server strategy. The company is pitching that it can run Windows, Linux and HP-UX on the Itanic servers and is now giving users a single management tool as well.

The management product, however, is just the tip of the iceberg for all of the news pouring out of HP today.

HP has signed an agreement to acquire Persist Technologies - a software maker that fits in the elusive information lifecycle management category. Persist has a speciality in data archiving software, which is in demand of late as companies rush to meet new regulatory requirements. Should the deal meet approvals and close by the end of year as expected, HP plans to use the software for archiving e-mail and Office documents. It will be sold with HP's Intel-based ProLiant servers and ProCurve switches.

HP also announced that is has reached a "Memorandum of Understanding" with SAP. The two companies have agreed to create tighter links between their various software management packages and to go after helping larger enterprises together. Touching.

HP has a boatload more software and services announcements here. Enter the world of marketing mayhem at your own peril.

The most important message on the day, however, came from Nora Denzel, a senior vice president and head of the adaptive enterprise at HP. Denzel is a rising star at HP and eloquent - to say the least.

"The more standardized you are the less costly it is to manage IT," she said, during the press conference.

For all of HP's slogan slinging, this really is what the company is getting at and doing a nice job of providing.

"IBM and Sun are still in separate domains," said RedMonk's Governor. "I think from their perspectives, they realize they have to change."

HP has all the right pieces in place thus far. It has a single chip vendor strategy with Xeon and Itanium, the HP OpenView package as a leading management platform and technology such as Utility Data Center humming away in the labs for future use.

If any vendor is getting close to the standard data center that Denzel describes, it's HP.

Sun's N1 vision and IBM's on demand computing plans are thinner on detail and execution at this point. There is still plenty of time to see how the whole data center of the future idea plays out, but at the moment, you've got to give the nod to the Palo Alto crowd.

We still have no idea about who or what is adapting, but the product is rolling out. And that's what is most important.®

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