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HP's Darwin Reference Architecture Helps Create Tighter Linkage Between Business and IT
Step-wise Approach to Measure, Architect and Operate IT Drives Greater Business Value, Performance and Competitive AdvantageSAN JOSE, CALIF., MAY 6, 2003
HP (NYSE:HPQ) today unveiled its Darwin Reference Architecture, a framework designed to help businesses tackle one of the biggest challenges they face today creating a tighter linkage between critical business processes and the supporting IT infrastructure.
With the introduction of the Darwin Reference Architecture, HP is providing customers and partners with a step-by-step approach to creating a business process-oriented IT environment that dynamically and automatically adjusts to changes in a business. It embraces industry standards, design principles, proven methodologies and key technologies from HP and industry partners.
"We operate in a world where every business decision triggers a series of IT events," said Shane Robison, chief technology officer, HP. "The link between business and IT has never been more essential, nor has it ever been more complex. We believe that it's time to aggressively drive the evolution toward a new enterprise architecture that removes the vertical silos of automation built up over the years and replaces it over time with a flexible, modular, standards-based architecture where business changes can be executed effectively and transactions and information can flow freely."
Turning Change Into a Competitive Advantage
The Darwin Reference Architecture is a standards-based framework that leverages technology and components from HP and industry partners to create a new level of business and IT integration and lower IT acquisition and operating costs. The reference architecture is based on the premise that all components of the enterprise architecture should adhere to the following design principles:
Simplification: Simplify existing IT environments through consolidation of underutilized assets and by ensuring management and control levers exist at all the layers of the environment infrastructure, applications and business processes. An infrastructure that contains fewer elements is easier to manage and therefor can deliver results faster and easier especially when executing changes.
Standardization: Standards applied across processes, procedures, technologies and applications -- extend the benefits of simplification. According to the Darwin Reference Architecture, standardization can be achieved in many ways including: adopting industry standard-interfaces, which reduce communications overhead and speed change; establishing common processes and policies for managing change; and defining common requirements for manageability, security, collaboration, configuration management, and capacity and performance management.
Modularity: Modularity in the context of the Darwin Reference Architecture applies both to physical networks of storage and servers and to the virtual resources they support. Modularity allows one aspect of a system to be changed without impacting any on the other components, leading to improved manageability and responsiveness. With modularity, storage and computing power can be dynamically scaled and redeployed to meet upward or downward processing requirements for individual applications or for entire business processes. Modularity helps to substantially reduce the time required to integrate, or separate, business systems.
Integration: Eliminating artificial barriers between elements of the IT environment frees capacity of underutilized resources and promotes interoperability across the IT environment. By designing IT resources and systems for integration, the infrastructure can be managed holistically, linking the resources and elements of the IT environment back to the services that it provides to the business.
Core Elements of the Architecture
Business processes range from human resources to supply chain processes that are designed to be able to continually set and adjust levels of IT resource requirements to meet changing demands in an environment where business processes extend and link beyond an enterprise's boundaries. While the priorities for allocating resources and services to each business process is constantly in flux, the Darwin Reference Architecture helps to ensure the supply of resources available to the business process must always meet demand.
Business applications -- such as SAP, PeopleSoft or Siebel, which increasingly will be delivered as application services to business processes. For example, rather than being built redundantly into monolithic "order entry" and CRM applications, a discrete business process like "verify customer entitlement" may be delivered as an application service in both contexts.
Infrastructure services deliver the secure, continuous compute power and storage capacity required to support business applications and processes. The reference architecture instructs IT organizations how to improve the utilization and management of these IT resources and simultaneously lower operating costs by moving organizations toward shared, virtualized and flexible sourcing models that make better use of the physical resources.
Management and control software coordinates and orchestrates the infrastructure through continuous inventory, monitoring, planning, provisioning, control and maintenance of the whole environment. All management and control processes are driven by demands at the infrastructure, application services and business process layers of the environment and are communicated according to open standards. By synchronizing infrastructure, application services and business processes through automated and intelligent management provisioning, the Darwin Reference Architecture is intended to enable companies to lower operating costs and reduce complexity.
Measure and assessment services help diagnose the current barriers to business agility across their business and IT environment. HP Agility Assessment services are based on intellectual property developed jointly by HP Labs and the top-tier business school, INSEAD. The service is designed to measure a company's ability to respond to change across three dimensions: the time or speed at which changes can be implemented; the range or breadth of change that can be supported or introduced; and the level of effort, cost and risk required to introduce and support change.
Engineering a Better Return on IT
The Darwin Reference Architecture was designed by HP's technical community in collaboration with key customers and partners. It is currently being used to drive HP's business, technology, investment and partnering strategy programs. HP intends to continue to aggressively recruit industry partners and developers to support the reference architecture, in addition to reaching out to standards bodies and other industry consortia.
One area of focus is around the management of Web services where HP has taken a lead in driving standardization efforts. In March, HP submitted a Web services management framework to the distributed management workgroup in OASIS. Programming tool companies, such as BEA, are expected to add those capabilities into their products.
An introductory white paper to the Darwin Reference Architecture is available at http://www.hp.com/go/demandmore.
HP is a leading global provider of products, technologies, solutions and services to consumers and businesses. The company's offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. HP completed its acquisition of Compaq Computer Corporation on May 3, 2002. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com.
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