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Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) and VMWare (NYSE:VMW) Wednesday announced a deeper product collaboration going forward, offering to enterprises and service providers a single management and control approach to both physical and virtual software infrastructure stacks.

Through the partnership, announced at the HP Software Universe event in Las Vegas, HP's Business Service Management products -- including HP Business Availability Center, HP Operations Center and HP Network Management Center -- will help automate the management of the VMware virtualization platform.

Both the HP Discovery and Dependency Mapping products and HP Universal CMDB configuration data management suite will aid in discovery of virtualized environments for improved tracking and reporting of changes in VMWare virtualized envrionments.

And HP's Business Service Automation capabilities -- including HP Server Automation Center, HP Client Automation and HP Operations Orchestration -- will assist in the oversight and operational upkeep of services running in VMWare-supported virtual infrastructure instances.

HP and VMWare did not unveil any financial partnership news, but the two certainly seem chummy these days. HP clearly sees a huge market opportunity for helping to manage the complexity of virtualized platforms, given the need for enterprises to cut total costs through higher hardware utilization and the ability to dynamically and automatically match computer power supply with applications and storage demand.

The two companies did outline bundling and packaging of their products, in that new software bundles will combine VMware's Infrastructure 3 software suite with the HP Insight Control Environment for additional automation benefits. The goal, said the companies, is to provide a "comprehensive and seamless physical and virtual platform management" capability set.

“We’re expanding our relationship with VMware to jointly develop solutions that provide customers with comprehensive management of virtualized business applications running on the VMware platform,” said Ben Horowitz, vice president and general manager, of HP's Business Technology Optimization software, in a release.

I was just having breakfast Wednesday with two systems architects from Seattle, who said they were exploring virtualization, including both VMWare and Xen hypervisors. They liked the potential benefits but were put off by the complexity of setting the stuff up and maintaining it. Their choices, they said, pretty much boiled down to consulting help or more automation in the software.

Yes, says HP, to both.

Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.

Source: VMWare and HP Align Products to Improve Virtualized Environments