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HP calls for 'elite' OpenView partners

Company aims to work more closely with third-party vendors.

Hewlett-Packard is expanding its partner program and planning new products to stimulate sales of its OpenView management software.

Closer technical integration will be offered to "elite" partners who resell or repackage HP's "business service management" applications.

As expected, the company announced the plan at the HP Software Forum customer conference being held in Montreal this week.

The new "elite" designation is aimed at third-party software companies that want to create a close coupling between their own products and HP's OpenView management suite, said Todd DeLaughter, vice president and general manager of HP's management software organization.

To ease integration with OpenView, HP intends to eventually offer partners a package of software tools based on its acquisition of Talking Blocks, DeLaughter said. The software, which is being tested right now, uses a services oriented architecture design to share information between HP's OpenView suite and other software programs.

HP's partner outreach echoes similar moves by competitors such as IBM, Computer Associates International and BMC Software, noted Richard Ptak, an analyst at research company Ptak, Noel and Associates.

"With margins getting squeezed and hardware and software getting commoditized, everyone is focusing on lowering cost," Ptak said. "Channel partners provide a long-term revenue stream, like an annuity."

At the customer conference, HP executives also plan to detail products designed to help corporate technology departments get a better understanding of the costs associated with their tech infrastructure.

HP has developed a visual tool called Business Process Insight, which helps administrators analyze a company's systems in the context of the business processes they support. For example, the program will let IT professionals calculate the cost of running the servers, storage and software needed to deliver a particular business application, DeLaughter said.

Another new product, which will ship as part of the OpenView Network Node Manager application, is designed to more quickly locate the cause of errors in networks.