HP on Target with QA Tools, Services

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 06-18-2007
Seven months after the close of Hewlett-Packard's acquisition of Mercury Interactive, HP will try to prove it is effectively integrating the largest software acquisition in its history with the launch of a wide-ranging set of software releases and services.

With new offerings in quality assurance, load testing, IT service management, and change and configuration management, the Palo Alto, Calif., company will introduce at its Software Universe conference June 18-22 in Las Vegas the largest set of software releases seen in years for Mercury's core QA testing franchise, according to HP officials.

The officials are claiming a first in the renamed HP Quality Center software, saying it integrates both business requirements management and QA testing.

"In a single Quality Center solution, we are now including business requirements management as part of that platform," said Jonathan Rende, vice president of products at HP. The benefits of such integration include greater efficiency, better risk management and acceleration of new application delivery, Rende said.

While other vendors may already offer a single repository for both requirements management data and QA testing data, HP's Quality Center has the best integration of the two data types, said Carey Schwaber, an analyst with Forrester Research.

Schwaber said the real breakthrough in the Quality Center release is its support for risk-based testing. "People have been doing it for a long time, but [HP] built great support into the tool to get a better idea of what the risk is really about," she said.

In addition, the HP Quality Center release, along with a new release of HP's LoadRunner application performance testing software, can support agile testing for organizations moving to more frequent and smaller application updates. "Now quality assurance teams can test agile applications for the first time," Rende said.

The real focus of HP's LoadRunner enhancements is greater efficiency of load testing through more automation, as well as support of advanced performance testing for SOA (service-oriented architecture) and Web 2.0 applications.

Click here to read more about HP's Mercury acquisition.

Thanks to the efficiency gains, beta testers at JetBlue Airways using the new version of HP LoadRunner saved up to 60 percent in regression-testing costs for new Web applications, said Sagi Varghese, manager of IT QA for JetBlue, in Forest Hills, N.Y.

"With the automated scripts we went to two days [for regression testing]—from two weeks using the manual [approach]. Just the labor itself would run to $100,000 on these major projects," Varghese said. "That's big for us."

On the QA front, HP also will announce at the show a partnership with SAP to help accelerate testing of new applications via a customized SAP Accelerator. In addition, HP will introduce new professional services, called Quality Factory Services, that provide a set of best practices or methodologies built around the HP Quality Center and LoadRunner tools.

Beyond those advances, HP standardized on Mercury's Universal Configuration Management Database, over its own CMDB in internal development, and touted integrations between it and HP's help desk, change and configuration management, and business service management offerings.

In Version 3.0 of HP's Change and Configuration Management Center, HP eliminated the requirement for time-consuming change advisory board meetings by automating the approval process through a virtual work environment.

The newest version of Change and Configuration Management Center adds the ability to automate the deployment of Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system.

Besides such enhancements, perhaps the best evidence that HP is executing on its integration of Mercury is its ability to stay the course on work already in progress, said JetBlue's Varghese. "It's been a seamless transition from a support perspective," Varghese said. "From a product enhancement perspective, we were a little skeptical in the beginning, but timelines have worked well, and the acquisition has perhaps accelerated that, which we're happy with," he said.

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