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ITIL :: View topic - Tool Opinion - HP vs CA
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Tool Opinion - HP vs CA
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Joined: Oct 26, 2004
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Thu Apr 21, 2005 10:26 am    Post subject: Tool Opinion - HP vs CA Reply with quote

Has anyone had experience seriously evaluating both CA Unicenter Service Desk tool and HP's service desk tool?

Just looking for any random opinions
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Joined: Mar 12, 2005
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 19, 2005 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep - Just finished an long look at a number of toolsets including HP OV Service Desk and CA UniCentre Service Desk + Service Catalogue.

ITIL 'compliance' - both satisfactory, but HP wins by having explicit representation of services without additional modules. Useful native 'typing' of services by delivery mode. In UniCentre you can task top level CIs as 'services' in the CMDB.

Interface - 6 of 1... Note: HP's web interface is very poor, so poor I had to badger a pre-sales guy into letting me see it! - HP consultants are 'promisiing' a %100 functional web client by the end of the year - not promising it won't be IE/WinTel dependent. Both have excellent interface customisation potential.

Integration: Both are leveraging their solutions to get further sales for their operations solutions - integration is basic (ie. data excahnge only) if you are not connecting to the vendors' own technologies.

Reporting: The usual - 3rd party for real world - usually Crystal Enterprise or Business Objects - but any ODBC compliant tool will do - even Access.

Customisation - This is really quite interesting: CA has only a 'designer' tool for setting look and feel - don't let em trick you into thinking it's an IDE - it is most defintiely not: Behaviour (workflow) and Data Dictionary modifications have to be done through scripting languages (proprietory) in a text editor - and for the web client you will need a highly skilled javascript programmer. HP on the other hand has a 'rules engine' that allows you to build workflow much the way you would build rules in Outlook - Wizzard based. Quite powerful, but be sure to note that if you wish to alter the Data Dictionary (and you will) it is strictly API programming - and you will be calling in (very expensive) consultants.

Price: CA has a very aggressive pricing policy, that allows you to effectively 'lease' Service Desk very cheaply, and as it's license based you are effectively only paying for what you use - there is a buy option and the break even point between the two options will be between 5 to 7 years. HP has responded and has a very good price with a buy and license model. For a large scale deployment you would have to crunch the numbers, but I suspect you'll find a very similar profile. CA has a bizzare list price on the Service Catalogue, but I think someone in the Pricing Department had a brain fart and I doubt anyone is paying anything near the list price.

Both companies want long term relationships - (IMHO) CA has undergone a substantial shift in its own corporate culture and is well on its way to being a very cutomer focused company - HP is a little more 'aggressive' about imposing its 'vision' for you business in its consulting model - be careful to shake hands at a rrespectful distance - both companies are looking for revenue streams out of consulting - probably why there are significant barriers to owning the customisation process.

All up though both are excellent products, and with the correct planning and provided the scope is correct, will provide a solid ROI in any context where ITSM processes are moving from level 2 to level 3 maturity (or are of course well above that). If the organisation is below the upper end of level 2 you will find both solutions difficult to implement - scaling them down is really quite difficult.

The apps themselves are technically quite good and appear solid. Lots of DB compatibility etc.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 13, 2005 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anyone include BMC's tools or Peregrin's in their pictures also?
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know that much about Peregrine's Service Centre, but I can certainly add some comments about BMC's Remedy/Marimba toolset.

BMC has for some time been agressively aquiring systems management and monitoring technology to round out its existing Remedy /ARS based apps.

Prior to this Remedy was already one of the most 'prorous' applications in this space - able to integrate with just about anything - mostly without security compromise. Now it is definitely the leading product in terms of integration, direct management of systems and IT Asset management, with a high functionality CMDB built in. OTB integrations are so numerous there is no point in listing them, and what you can't do you can by or build. And you can build at several different levels - most IT shops large enough to consider its price tag would have a skill set somewhere capable of being used to integrate the application into your existing infrastructure.

Remedy is the core of the Solutions ITSM functionality, and the core of Remedy is an Application Engine called the Action Request System, ARS. That is really quite an amazing technology and is one of the few RAD environments worthy of the acronym (Rapid Application Development). ARS, without the ITSM application layer can be used to build enterprise scale applications from the ground up - very quickly (and so cheaply).

It has an excellent low level architecture that allows for seamless distribution of the live application over any number of servers at any location. Coupled with very solid failover abilities built in to the app it is perfect for follow-the-sun businesses. (you gotta pay though).

On top of the ARS (well sort of 'on top' - there is the web engine and API layer, data access layer, &etc., but I won't go into too much detail) is the Application layer - the ITSM suite you would be buying it for. Unfortunately, for all of the my-god-this-is-brilliant technology under the bonnet, the story with the Application layer is not so wonderful.

The Application is divided primarily into HelpDesk, ChangeManagement, and AssetManagement with and SLA module and a few smaller bits and pieces rounding out the ITSM picture. This apps have been around a long time, and were leaders in the market for a long time.

While BMC have been re-engineering like crazy under the bonnet, they really haven't done much with the 'cabin'. It is now a tired interface, built more around older help-desk concepts than contemporary ITIL-Service Desk approaches. (And rember the OGC only certifies people not applications. Despite third party 'verification' - which is paid for - there are no officially ITIL compliant applications.) For example while you can compile time and event driven triggers into escaltion workflows as SLAs (quite sophisticated from a logic point of view) there is actaully no representation of a Service. They did stick a 'Service' field on the main forms, but it doesn't have any workflow attached to it.

The application will annoy people who are comfortable with ITIL and use it in their day to day work, and it will definitely not help spread an accurate undersstanding of ITIL concepts through an organisation trying to implement the framework.

Because of this Remedy tends to get heavily customised (encouraged by the power of it's built in development environment), but that means altering the existing code base in the OTB apps, and that 'code' is a serious mess. Some of the forms have hundreds of hidden fields on them - (and I've actually seen one that had a comment by the developer to the effect of "Not sure what this is for so please don't touch it!!!) Being sure that a modification does only what you intend it to do is no mean feat - and you will rely heavily on consultants.

BTW: It has C and VB and Java APIs and more - but the internal IDE is proprietory and a declarative environment that serialises everything in the database - this is, as I said, quite incredibly powerful, and easy to use - but there is a serious brain warp making the transition from procedural or object-oriented development to declarative programming - allow in-house newbies about 2 to 3 months to really get on top of it.

The other downer with Remedy (like some other solutions) is a seriously hideous licensing archticture - expect to pay for every piece of end-user functionality serveral times. In fact big sites task people specifically with analysing and optimising license usage. If you think I am exaggerating, I know of at least one company making a living analysing the logs of Remedy owners and providing license-mix advisory reports.

Having said that, the auditing capability of the application layer is excellent, and BMC's Remedy based tools should be looked at by any one with statutary obligations to audit activity. The same can be said of the security model - of course there are always vulnerabilities, but if you know what you are doing Remedy is a very good app for security sensitive sites.

So to go with BMC - you need to be big, you need to have a strong requirement for and commitment to the automation of systems management. Also consider it if you are operating under very high securrity requirements or a specific regulatory framework. If that is one of your primary drivers you should have a look. Be willing to train in-house development staff so that over time you take greater ownership of the application and its code base.

Finally, BMC primarily work through channels, and IMHO frequently drive their partners in ways that are, well.... (I shall demure to avoid any legal action). There is however a very large and helpful independent end user community out there.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2005 8:13 am    Post subject: Wow.. Reply with quote

Wow.. sound like you know a bit about BMC. reason I ask, comparatively, we've been looking at BMC vs HP and Peregrine(well, now, just HP, since they announced acquisition). Pricing on both fronts seems pretty level.

BMC has the SIM (service impace manager, on top of all their patrol products (event monitoring) & integrated into the Remedy suite and some other tools.

HP's offering really is not much different Service Desk and Change that come with the "cmdb" & now they have(will have) good asset management from Peregrin to boot.

thx for the info.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone have any knowledge of ALTIRIS ? This life cycle management tool is acquiring more and more sales ground. One of the best support tools stated by GARTNER. Pink panther certified
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2005 5:41 am    Post subject: Altiris Reply with quote

I looked at Altiris at a very early stage in some of our efforts. Basically, one of our groups was looking for a patch/software management and asset system, to which Altiris seemed to be their answer.

I looked at this from the big picture of how this would fit in to the big scheme of things from an ITIL process perspective. While at the time, they were still behind on a Service Desk suite with integrated problem, change, ... management. They had some good functionality.

However, I felt they were truly lacking in the workflow and process automation side and didn't really have the vision I felt necessary to make this tool what we needed.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2005 4:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For those interested I would also recommend lookinat BMC's Magic Service Desk. They bought it up a few years back and have made a strong competitor in the smal-medium size business market. It has several modules including Incident, Problem, Change, COnfig etc etc which you can buy at once or as you need. They also have a very cool licencing model. Everything is concurrent and it appears you can actually exceed licence numbers, but you have to endure some annoying popups until you reduce the usage or buy more licences. Good forecasting of SD growth is the preferred method for figuring out how many you may need, but its nice to know that your SD won't grind to a halt should you reach or exceed your licences.

As for the interfaces they are crisp, clean and easy to use. Others like HEATor Remedy are as mentioned, are far outdated. ITSM's interface is much improved over HEAT's but doesn't compare to the ease of use that Magic Service Desk has.

If you are small to medium in size and are looking to buy I strongly suggest Magic Service Desk 8. We almost discounted it based on experience with older versions (pre-BMC purchase) but i'm very glad we didn't. It's a front runner for sure.

We looked at Remedy but its way outsider the scope of what we need...but...interestingly enough..there is also a clear migration path from Magic to Remedy should we grow past Magic.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Open the view point to some companies out there doing great ITIL implementations right under the giants' noses using all web, single application environments with industry standard coding. I can't say who they are but...

Take a look and see why the giants have been caught sleeping for the past 5 years.
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Joined: Mar 12, 2005
Posts: 255
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some updates to my contributions.

HP has since released a new version of its software - web interface much much better.

CA's product now has a proper IDE.

And yes there are some very exiting new products out there - but nothing yet that counts as a 'category killer'. It is still horses for courses.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 7:49 pm    Post subject: Magic to Remedy Reply with quote

Has BMC published a Magic to Remedy migration path?
Where is it available?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjp wrote:
Integration: Both are leveraging their solutions to get further sales for their operations solutions - integration is basic (ie. data excahnge only) if you are not connecting to the vendors' own technologies.

I am curious as to what you mean by "data excahnge only". I can open up an OVSD service call from Nagios, which is definately not HP technology, and I would not necessarily call that "data excahnge only"
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,
Am asked to implement Service desk based on ITIL v3 concept, and I also asked to evaluate Hp and Remedy. I went throw Remedy and I got that it is the best product that apply ITIL. However, I try to find some limitation in both Hp and Remedy that we can overcome in our service desk application, and I couldn’t note any.
SO can you guys update your information regarding Hp and Remedy? Because as far as I know that they update their system.

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Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 12:06 am    Post subject: Tool comparison Reply with quote

Hi, I have just been involved in a very exhaustive evaluation process where we brought in the vendors to go show us the admin side and tool usage from a functionality perspective. Our functionality session went like this for each vendor. It started at 9am and finished at 4pm. Some went over their time but not by much. In each session we had two 5min breaks and a 20 minute lunch. At the same time there was a technical review going on in another room that went from 9am - 1pm. It was a long 6 days. Smile

We were looking for the following from a tool:

- IM
- PM
- CM
- Config
- Asset
- Service Request
- Auto-discovery
- Release

We has designed a script that each vendor needed to follow to ensure we where scoring them equally. As you can tell it was very detailed and made for long days. With that said, you really got to understand how the tool works and what it takes to maintain and the application. For the maintenance of a tool, I have found many people don't spend a great deal of time investigation what it really takes or the effort involved in supporting these tools.

The tools vendors that where included in this selection include:

- BMC-Remedy
- Marval
- CA
- Infra
- HP
- Axios

My suggestion, is not to only focus on HP or CA, I would look at Axios and Infra as contenders for and ITSM suite. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by these two.

Recently, within the last 2-3 years, I have worked with Remedy, Peregrine, before being bought by HP and there are challenges that need to be addressed.

With that said all tools have their strengths and weakness. The question is are you willing to accept those weaknesses within your organization and how much of you processes are you willing to adjust to fit the tool.

Azard Omardeen
ITIL Expert / Accredited Trainer / ITSM Consultant
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As part of anybody's buying wish of an ITSM tool few important criteria have to be understood
1. Size of organisation
2. Size of IT staff
3. Technical expertise to manage the tool
4. Existing infrastructure and integration capability
5. Management support

of the above the last is most important to buy, to implement and maintain.
I had consulted for a large bank with no SD tool and a 8 member IT team with some 100 pc's with HPOV,Service Desk!

Others pls add to the list of prequisite knowledge for selecting a SD tool.
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