HP has updated its dependency mapping software to help customers figure out which departments are using which systems and applications, to enable chargeback programmes and other management tasks.
Dependency mapping helps data centre architects uncover the connections between applications, servers and storage systems, so that when they consolidate systems, replace legacy gear or do virtualisation projects they don't accidentally break something in the process.
"We've found that most data center managers know with a fair degree of accuracy about 80 percent of what's in their data centre. It's the other 20 percent that keeps them up at night," said Jimmy Augustine, a group marketing manager in HP's software division.
HP's tool is called Discovery and Dependency Mapping Advanced Edition (DDMA). A data centre architect can enter an IP range and the software examines SNMP traffic, data packets and other data to map out the topology of the IT equipment. It also looks at executable files on servers to see which applications are installed.
The new feature announced Monday is what HP calls a collector portal, a web interface that lists the applications and dependencies the software has uncovered. Customers then manually enter which departments and services are using which applications.
The data can be used for chargeback purposes, because companies can now see what resources are being used by each department. If several departments are using the same application, the costs could be split among them. Or if a data centre wants to retire equipment in a consolidation project, for example, it can see which departments it needs to contact for approval.
The feature is part of what HP calls its Data Center Transformation Accelerator Package for DDMA, which is free to existing DDMA customers, Augustine said. The data from DDMA is stored in HP's Configuration Management Database.
Dependency mapping has become more important as customers undertake virtualisation and cloud computing projects, which increase complexity and make it easier to overlook dependencies, Augustine said. "We see a lot of customers buying our [DDMA] product specifically for a data centre transformation project," he said.
For companies that don't want to do the work themselves, HP is also offering a new service package built around the DDMA updates. "It's a three step process that includes discovery, planning and consolidation," Augustine said.
DDMA is licensed according to how many servers a customer wants to run discovery on, he said. He couldn't immediately say how the service package is priced.
HP releases DDMA updates every three to four months. In June it released Content Pack 9, which added the ability to discover Microsoft Exchange 2010 and IBM AS400 servers, and enhancements for IBM mainframes and Windows PowerShell.