HP has outlined its management software product road map for the next year, including software to manage Wi-Fi and VoIP networks, and a Linux-based management server among dozens of other products.

Most of the product descriptions were vague, simply stating that new versions of well-known products such as OpenView Operations, will appear by the end of 2005. This is in keeping with its usual habit of making annual product road map presentations but without publishing any releases or statements on the finer points.

One significant announcement, however, was new product OpenView Operations for Linux. It's expected to start out as an entry-level management server based on Linux, said Scott Fulton, director of application management products at HP. HP has already ventured into the Linux world with its OpenView Network Node Manager running on Linux. That was released at the end of last year, the Operations software wasn't give an exact date, save a simple "next year".

A new product called IP Telephony Voice Path Analysis also appear by the end of this year. It will, Fulton said, address the growing need for prioritising voice traffic over IP networks as its popularity grows. A Wi-Fi network management product will also be released, atlhough no further details were given.

Joe Gersch, a director of OpenView Forum International, an independent user group with 7,000 members that sponsors the HP Software Forum jointly with HP, said he found the VoIP and Wi-Fi management announcements "forward-thinking" because of the growth in both markets.

But Gersch said the products with greater long-term impact will come from a push into business process management, with the first release of Business Process Insight next month. A BPI revision will appear in 2005 that automatically allocates IT resources such as servers and switches to maximize system performance, Fulton said. It will be based in part on technology from two companies that HP purchased, Novadigm and Consera.

In addition, HP's OpenView Network Node Manager will have its 7.5 release later this year, and a full 8.0 version will appear next year, he said. Another product HP introduced this week, Route Analytics Management System, will be updated to version 2.5 by the end of the year, with version 3.0 coming next year, Fulton said.