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HP is putting the Utility Data Center (UDC) behind it the best way it can - by releasing a far less ambitious OpenView software package for automated server management.

HP this week took the wraps off something it's calling OpenView Automation Manager. This product combines the software HP acquired earlier this year in its buys of Novadigm and Consera and then adds a few more management pieces. Customers will turn to the new package for help setting up server management policies that make sure tasks are taken care of without the aid of an administrator.

"A year ago, HP announced its strategy to refocus management software from the process of collecting management information to the process of converting real-time management data into insight that enterprises can act on to better serve their changing business needs," said Todd DeLaughter, a VP in HP's software organization. "Today, we are executing this strategy with solutions that extend intelligent automation to help CIOs more insightfully allocate IT resources and flip the ratio of spending from maintenance to innovation."

DeLaughter, however, is being modest. It was really several years ago - not one - that HP announced its strategy to . . . gwana, gwana . . . have servers and storage systems work better. This strategy was called UDC, and it was one of the most aggressive virtualization attacks around. HP killed off UDC with little fanfare back in September, noting that too few customers were willing to shell out all the money that a UDC-ready data center required.

HP is now looking for customers to pay significantly less for just another OpenView management package. The new Automation Manager takes care of one piece - albeit an important one - of the UDC idea. It lets a data center automatically spring into action when, for example, the software spies a sudden jump in transaction volumes or a surge in email usage. The software will provision new servers to take care of this extra load.

All of the major vendors have a similar package and a number of third parties sell this type of software as well. HP did not explicitly say when the Automation Manager will be available or how much it will cost, but some reports say it should be released by January. ®

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