HP is set unveil more than 30 new and upgraded management products that the company says will further its recently aired vision for utility computing, dubbed the Adaptive Enterprise.

The company plans to introduce the products at its Software Forum in Chicago, where HP expects roughly 1,500 attendees.

HP will announce new features for products such as Network Node Manager (NNM) Advanced 7.0, Internet Services 5.0 and Transaction Analyzer 2.0. The company also will introduce several smart plug-ins, software adapters that support specific applications and platforms, and more than 10 report packs, which give customers tools to generate canned and customized reports.

Many of the improvements will include advanced automation and intelligence features. That's in sync with HP's Adaptive Enterprise strategy, which entails smart hardware and software that delivers IT resources as end users and applications need them.

The new Service Navigator Value Pack, an add-on to HP's Service Navigator software, is designed to help network managers build service models with a point-and-click graphical user interface, eliminating the need to write code or XML text files. The software then can compare infrastructure performance against defined service-level metrics in Service Desk software - assuming customers use all three products.

Tim Hagn, vice president of IT operations and engineering at Zurich Life in Schaumburg, Ill., says while at HP's show this week he hopes to learn about new automation features in products such as NNM, Service Reporter and Service Navigator.

"What we do now is fairly manual. I need a tool that will show me where I'm not using resources or at least make it faster and easier for me," Hagn says. To meet the demands of upper management, he says he must prove the IT infrastructure directly supports business applications, and he needs to ensure IT performance does not interrupt service delivery or business operations.

Jason Kennedy says by early 2004, he hopes to achieve a service-oriented management approach across the 130 locations he oversees as systems management analyst for Best Buy Canada in Vancouver, B.C. While at the show, Kennedy will look for more ease-of-use and Web-based administration features in the new version of NNM.

"The software is easy to deploy, but there is still a lot of configuration involved to get it to work right for what you want it to do," he says. Kennedy says he also wants to learn more about managing IT to support services. "It's a large paradigm shift for us to go from node up/node down to service up/service down, because several management nodes will make up each service."

Dennis Drogseth, vice president of Enterprise Management Associates, says HP is including more analytic capabilities in its software products, but that full-blown intelligence and automation capabilities still could be a while. HP is neck and neck with vendors such as BMC Software, Computer Associates and IBM in trying to deliver advanced products, he says.

"HP and its competitors are all discussing broad visions at this time. There still needs to be tremendous progress made in terms of automation and intelligence in a software sense," Drogseth says.