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HP buys Mercury, positions itself for SOA management

When Hewlett-Packard yesterday announced it is buying Mercury Interactive, it also picked up the Systinet registry, giving HP OpenView some SOA muscle.

The $4.5 billion purchase of Mercury Interactive Corp. announced by Hewlett-Packard Co. on Tuesday could potentially change the SOA management market.

When the $4.5 billion deal is completed later this year, HP will gain Mercury's software management technology plus the Systinet Registry, which Mercury acquired this past January. Assuming that HP can successfully integrate the Mercury and Systinet products into its OpenView management architecture, it will be positioned to compete with IBM Tivoli and Computer Associates, said Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst with ZapThink LLC.

 The war is over [enterprise IT management], but the battle zone is shaping up to be SOA governance.
Jason Bloomeberg
Senior AnalystZapThink LLC

"It's now the battle of the Titans, HP versus CA and IBM Tivoli, to see who can put together the most complete, service-oriented enterprise IT management (EITM) story for the enterprise," the analyst said.

"CA is well on its way to reworking its entire product line to take advantage of the CA

Integration Platform, essentially an ESB that enables their products to interact via services as part of a service-oriented product architecture," Bloomberg explained. "Under OpenView CTO Mark Potts HP has also been reworking its OpenView architecture along SOA lines. With the Mercury acquisition, HP now adds full lifecycle management to the mix and what will likely turn out to be the gem of the deal, the Systinet Registry -- HP's answer to IBM's new registry/repository product. The war is over EITM, but the battle zone is shaping up to be SOA governance."

During a press teleconference following the announcement, Thomas Hogan, senior vice president of software at HP, extolled the synergy between OpenView and the Mercury products. He said it was as if the two companies – or three counting Systinet – had spent the past five years specifically working to develop complimentary software management tools.

"It's almost a perfect match with virtually no product overlap," Hogan said.

Addressing the question of integrating both products, salesforces and corporate cultures, Tony Zingale, Mercury's president and CEO, said he was dedicating the coming months to working with Hogan and other HP executives to smooth out the merger. No specific future title or role with HP was discussed at the press conference. But Zingale said, "I will become part of the organization moving forward."

While the titans battle, smaller vendors in the SOA governance space scrambled to position their products as viable alternatives.

Miko Matsumura, vice president of technology standards at one of those vendors, Infravio Inc., sought to do that by characterizing the HP, Mercury and Systinet combined technology as "a strong solution for governance, but is weighted heavily towards centralized IT and control of IT systems." Infravio's SOA governance registry/repository on the other hand is aimed at more decentralized federated organizations seeking to capitalize on SOA's capabilities for business agility, he said.

Still Matsumura, who also helped organize SOA Link earlier this year to promote product integration in the governance, policy and quality assurance areas, characterized the deal as "a huge move" for HP, which is a member of that organization.

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"It's a huge move for HP and securely puts HP at the center of the systems management arena for emerging SOA initiatives," he said. "The systems management assets of HP and the IT management assets of Mercury and the SOA governance capabilities of Systinet, provide the ultimate control suite for SOA as well as IT management assets."

The HP acquisition of Mercury, which had recently completed its acquisition of Systinet, continues the consolidation in among vendors of SOA tools that is likely to continue, according to ZapThink's Bloomberg.

"Any such acquisition is a sign of consolidation," the analyst said. "[It's just that all the] smaller vendors simply haven't been consolidated yet."

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