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7/19/2011
09:24 PM
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HP Tools Bring Developers, IT Operations Closer

Three new Application Lifecycle Management suite modules offer additional intelligence, service virtualization components.

Slideshow: Apotheker Takes The Stage, Paints An HP Cloud Vision
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Apotheker Takes The Stage, Paints An HP Cloud Vision
HP wants to pull developers closer to IT operations' orbit, with the idea that the way the code runs in production after its development, and the ease with which it is maintained, should have an impact on the next round of development.

To try to further that purpose, it's added three modules to its Application Lifecycle Management suite: HP Service Virtualization 1.0, HP Application Lifecycle Intelligence, and HP Agile Accelerator 5.0.

Service Virtualization 1.0 is intended to give developers a means of creating their application source code and testing it against simulated outside services in a controlled, internal environment. The alternative, often ruled out, is to test a budding application against an actual outside service, racking up charges to the development team as the application goes through repeated service calls in the process of revision.

Service Virtualization enables an outside service supplier, such as Federal Express, to supply a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) module that includes a package shipping service description and code capable of responding to a call for the service as if the application had accessed an outside the service.

In an unveiling of the module Tuesday at HP's Cupertino, Calif., Executive Briefing Center, Kelly Emo, HP director of product marketing, said an ability to virtualize services associated with an application was vital to developing software with an agile methodology. "Developers want to deliver faster solutions but you can't get there from here. A business process in the application may need a credit check, and developers could run up charge after charge as they test the code by running it against an actual credit service," she said.

It can be hard for developers to gain access to internal production services as well. "They are told they can test against an internal transaction service [say] at 2 a.m. next Thursday," noted Emo. Service Virtualization removes these constraints, she said.

Application Lifecycle Intelligence is another new module that works with Application Lifecycle Management version 11. ALM 11 gathers information on lines of code written, the number of tests executed against the code, and the defect rate encountered from a wide variety of development tools and integrated development environments, said Raffi Margaliot, senior director of products.

"Developers don't have to change the tools they prefer to use," he noted, regardless of whether they may be in Microsoft Visual Studio, IBM Rational, or open source and Java tools. Application Lifecycle Intelligence's ability to use the ALM information "enables us to be Switzerland" in organizations with heterogeneous tools, he added. The module also works with a variety of source code repositories, including the open source Subversion or open source Git, which has recently emerged as the most popular repository for open source projects.

It's intended to be a next-generation application management environment, recording not only the development process but changes to the code throughout its production lifecycle until retirement, he said. It works for distributed teams as well as those in a single location.

The intelligence module can report on developers' progress using a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) defined by HP and embedded in the system. The system collects key information on an individual developer's efforts and on the project as a whole, then presents KPIs in a dashboard that keeps project managers up to date on the project. HP uses the system itself to keep track of projects being developed by its 500 software engineers in Israel and another 150 in the Prague.

HP also introduced HP Agile Accelerator, a scheduling tool for developers using the agile development methodology. The tool provides a real-time view of project data, not one that needs to constantly synchronize background data collection with the user's current view of the data, said Matthew Morgan, director of product marketing.

"Large scale, agile (development project) roll-outs are in danger of failing because they don't have the tools needed," said Mik Kersten, CEO and co-founder of HP partner Tasktop. HP's Agile Accelerator imposes more data capture, documentation, and structure on the agile process, often characterized as a series of "sprints" to produce specific features as a project moves toward an overall goal. The software under development is tested frequently during development, not at the end of a long process, and testing includes feedback from target business users.

As a result, requirements often change in the midst of an agile project, and the HP module is meant to capture code changes and link them back to requirement changes, making it easier troubleshoot code if it ends up functioning differently than expected, Kersten said.

His firm participated in the HP announcement because it produces a viewer of ALM management details, including those of the Accelerator.

The three HP modules are separate products being added to the ALM 11 suite. The core ALM applications were last upgraded in December when version 11 was introduced.

IT is caught in a squeeze between requests for new applications, services, and device support and demands from upper management to keep budgets lean, staffing light, and operations tight. These are irreconcilable objectives as long as we spend the vast majority of our resources on legacy services. Read our report now. (Free registration required.)

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