Hewlett-Packard buying software co. Opsware

Hewlett-Packard is acquiring process automation software provider Opsware, the companies announced yesterday. HP has offered $14.25 per share, or approximately $1.6 billion, for the company.

HP plans to incorporate Opsware software into its own line of data center support software, overseen by the company's Business Technology Optimization group. Recently, the company also purchased two other companies to support this line of business ? Mercury Interactive and Peregrine Systems.

This line of software will let administrators manage a large number of machines through automation of tasks such as initial provisioning of servers, initiating systemwide changes and compliance requirements.

Opsware software was designed to let administrators automate incident resolution procedures and routine tasks and orchestrate wide-scale changes to equipment.

The Defense Intelligence Agency has used Opsware software to help manage its main network. Other federal users include the Energy Department, the Army Knowledge Online program and the Federal Reserve, according to an Opsware spokesperson.

Mary Johnston Turner, a vice president of the IT research firm Ovum, noted that the acquisition will help strengthen HP's portfolio of automation software for the data center. Previously, the company tried with limited results to extend Radia, its desktop automation software, to the back office.

"Attempts to expand Radia into the core data center have largely been unsuccessful and were one of the drivers leading to the Opsware purchase," Turner said in a statement.

HP expects to complete the deal by the end of October.

Joab Jackson writes for Government Computer News, 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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