HP Gets Serious On Software

With its lifecycle manager, ALM 11, HP is starting a new push into the software industry under CEO Leo Apotheker

One Complete Solution

The new offering aligns with HP’s stated plans for the Mercury acquisition, which was to combine HP’s existing OpenView offerings with Mercury’s BTO (Business Technology Optimisation) Enterprise offerings to integrate the many building blocks of enterprise IT management into one complete solution for the entire IT life cycle — from planning through to deployment and operations.

The ALM 11 platform and software solutions are components of HP Application Transformation. Through these solutions, HP aims to transform applications and processes designed for another era, helping enterprises gain control over aging applications and inflexible processes that challenge innovation and agility by governing their responsiveness and pace of change. Application Transformation solutions help businesses and governments in their pursuit of an Instant-On Enterprise.

West, as well as Veghte and other HP officials, said there is a major difference between HP’s ALM solution and ALP products from competitors such as Microsoft, with its Visual Studio Team System, and IBM, with its Jazz and Rational Team Concert tools. The key difference, they said, is that Microsoft, IBM and others treat the developer as the central player in the ALM scheme of things. However, HP does not single out the developer as king, but gives equal status to other stakeholders in the SDLC process. Beyond that, the HP platform is not tied to a particular operating system or development environment.

“With ALM 11, business analysts, QA [quality assurance] analysts, security professionals, developers and others can all go to this unified system,” said Mark Sarbiewski, vice president of products for BTO applications at HP.

“We come at the application life cycle from our core competency of quality, performance and life-cycle management,” said Jonathan Rende, vice president and general manager of BTO applications. “We come at ALM delivery from a core competency that is very different from others who come at it from a development perspective. We are stack-agnostic.”

“We’re not seeing a big, single repository story like with IBM Rational or Microsoft,” Forrester’s West said. “It looks to be more of a federated, integrated story. IBM and Microsoft have some bias toward their own platform. This [ALM 11] is not tied to Java or .Net.

“What we see is that it’s important to support a different repository. Subversion [an open-source revision control system or repository] is the most prevalent. HP ALM does support it [by enabling users to use Subversion instead of moving to a proprietary repository]. So what’s important is the change management hub, not the repository or the IDE.”

Moreover, taking a knock at his former employer, Veghte said, “One area where I see opportunity is when I’m with customers having a conversation.” He explained that you can’t claim that everything is Windows or everything is C# and .Net because the world doesn’t work that way. “Instead of saying the unifying concept is .Net, the unifying concept is the requirement,” he added. “And it can go from the start of the development process all the way to the end.”

Facilitating Life-Cycle Management

ALM 11 automates workflow processes across multiple teams. HP also announced several new solutions to facilitate application life-cycle management. Some solutions, such as the “Sprinter” technology, are part of ALM 11; others, such as the enhancement of bringing together Performance Center and Quality Center, are done in addition to ALM 11.

The company simplified the process of making risk-based decisions of application releases with its ALM 11 Project Planning and Tracking capability. It establishes release criteria and manages milestones throughout the process based on real-time metrics, which give the user better, more accurate information to make decisions.

HP is also fostering greater collaboration among developers, QA teams, business analysts and security teams with prebuilt integration between ALM 11 and IDEs, which provide traceability across the life cycle and the ability to manage change.

In addition, the company is helping to support rapid application delivery with its Agile Accelerator 4.0, which manages Agile development projects with predefined workflows and configurations that significantly simplify development.

Agile Accelerator 4.0 reduces business risk from application failures due to functional, performance and security defects in composite and RIAs (rich Internet applications). The new product also automatically imports business process models into ALM’s Requirements Management to visualise business process flows and augment textual requirements.

HP’s ALM platform provides the foundation for the new versions of the company’s Quality Center and Performance Center 11.0. These solutions help simplify and automate application quality and performance validation to lower operational costs, thereby freeing up investments for innovating applications in the delivery phase, according to HP officials.