Proposed HPE Software & Micro Focus Merger

I’m the current President of Vivit Worldwide, the HPE Software user group and I’ve obviously heard about the recent proposed merger of HPE Software and Micro Focus.

I recently wrote to Vivit members sharing some publicly available information about the HPE Software / Micro Focus announcements as well as my opinions on the proposed merger. Here is a copy of the note that I sent to Vivit members.

This is also available at the Vivit website.–Micro-Focus-Merger

Richard Bishop

Most members of Vivit will by now have heard Meg Whitman’s major announcement from her quarterly market update earlier this month.

Speculation about a potential “sell off” of the HPE software business to established software businesses or technology-focused venture capitalists was rife in the weeks leading up to the merger announcement.

I was initially surprised to hear that Micro Focus was the company in negotiations with HPE because that name wasn’t amongst the many rumours that I heard. Over 24-hours, the news wires buzzed with more and more information describing the transaction as a merger, rather than a straightforward sale. HPE shareholders will retain 50.1% of the new company through equity and several HPE execs including Robert Youngjohns and Chris Hsu are moving to Micro Focus as part of the deal. I think that this bodes well for HPE software users, this represents an ongoing collaboration, not a fire-sale.

Press Releases: HPE | Micro Focus

Many Vivit members may appreciate some background information about Micro Focus:
Micro Focus was founded in Newbury, England in 1976 and initially focused on software products based on COBOL. Micro Focus specialises in bridging the gap between modern and legacy systems, either by assisting in the migration from mainframe to newer platforms or by introducing newer concepts such as DevOps to the traditionally slow-moving world of the mainframe which remains key to many enterprises.

Over recent years Micro Focus has grown organically as well as by acquisition, notably in 2009 with the purchase of Borland and in 2014 when it acquired Attachmate. The Borland deal gave it access to the ALM marketplace and Attachmate added the Novell, NetIQ and SUSE product lines to its portfolio.

Micro Focus has a good track record of taking ownership of established software businesses and improving their profitability by simplifying business processes and strategy, consolidating similar business units and slimming down management structures. This could help to reinvigorate the HPE software business which has market-leading products, but has been in the shadow of the much larger hardware business units.

Micro Focus tends to retain the established brand names of the companies that it acquires, this is why SUSE, Borland, Novell and Attachmate brands are still in existence. Since it would be impractical to retain the name “HPE”, this may mean that brands such as Mercury Interactive, ArcSight, Vertica and Autonomy could make a comeback. (This is speculation on my part).

How will this affect the user group?
As HPE’s independent software user group, Vivit will obviously be affected by these changes. Over recent years we’ve grown significantly, gaining members at the HP and HPE Discover conferences and by running webinars to complement our traditional face-to-face meetings.

Vivit’s last “re-invention” came in 2007, when following the acquisition of the Mercury Interactive business, it was no longer appropriate to use “OpenView” as part of the name of our user group. We chose the name Vivit to represent “living IT” and it has served us well.

As a thriving community with over 30,000 members, we’re looking forward to working with Micro Focus and continuing to support our members in our three core areas:

  • Advocacy – providing customer feedback to the vendor
  • Community – providing opportunities to share best practice
  • Education – helping to educate software users to get the most from their investment

Over the coming months we’ll contact our counterparts in the Micro Focus user communities to find out whether there are any opportunities for co-operation and collaboration.

What next?
The HPE press release includes these two statements which I feel demonstrate that the future remains bright for those products that Vivit members have built their careers upon.

“As part of the transaction, HPE software assets – including Application Delivery Management, Big Data, Enterprise Security, Information Management & Governance and IT Operations Management – will join a more focused portfolio better able to serve you as part of a company that’s purely dedicated to software. We believe this is absolutely the right move for HPE, our Software business, and most importantly you, our customer.

Micro Focus’s proven track record of managing both growing and mature software assets will enable higher levels of investment in growth areas, while maintaining a stable platform for mission-critical software products. Together, HPE’s software assets and Micro Focus will have global reach and strong go-to-market capability with nearly 4,000 salespeople and deep R&D resources – ensuring that our customers continue to receive best-in-class software solutions.”

Vivit has always been focused on the needs of our members. We will continue to help you get the most out of the software that runs your business throughout the transition to the new organisation. Assuming that the merger is approved by the regulators and shareholders of HPE and Micro Focus, we expect that the merger will take place in Q3 2017. Until then, we’ll do all that we can to keep you informed as other announcements are made.

Additional Sources: Computing | CNBC | Reuters | BBC

Batch file to delete files older than x days from folders in Windows

I’ve been working for a client over recent months and part of my resposibility has been to look after a number of servers used for performance testing. Occasionally drives fill up on the server farm causing outages and obvious interruptions to testing.

It would be a near full-time job to manage all these servers, so to reduce the chance of temporary files from filling up drives and causing problems, I looked into creating a scheduled task to delete old temporary files. Since my server estate is varied, I didnt want to use PowerShell so I opted for an old “DOS” command, FORFILES.

This seems to have done the trick for me:
forfiles "/s /m *.* /d -7 /c "cmd /c del @path

(This command deletes all files that are more than 7 days old from the folder in which it runs.)

Update – To remove folders as well:
forfiles /S /D -7 /C "cmd /c IF @isdir == TRUE RMDIR @path /S /Q"

(This command deletes all folders that are more than 7 days old from the folder in which it runs. – Run it after deleting the files with the command above.)


Why is Unite in favour of staying in the EU?

Last weekend, I had an interesting exchange on FaceBook. As well as a few “likes” or “thumbs up”, I had a reply from a friend who is generally left-leaning. She included an image of a Union leaflet  explaining the Unite Union’s reasons for wanting to stay in the EU.

2016-05-22 11_01_47-Start

The Unite Union is claiming that the EU is responsible for 10 benefits that British citizens have in the workplace, these include Health and Safety legislation, equal pay law, protection against discrimination, parental leave, sick pay and more.

I’m really surprised that Unite has this opinion. Much of the legislation that they’re referring to is actually British legislation enacted by Labour governments. I can’t see why the trade unions don’t want to take at least some credit for this. For example the Health and Safety legislation and much of the early equality legislation (sexual, race discrimination / equal pay etc.) came from Harold Wilson’s Labour government of the early 1970s, much of it pre-dated our membership of the EU.

The more recent legislation (European Social Chapter) came primarily from Tony Blair’s government in 1997 and under the Cameron/Clegg coalition in 2010.

You can’t deny that all of this legislation is fundamentally a good thing for British workers and any future UK government would be unlikely to repeal it unilaterally. Despite the fact that this legislation is a good thing, the EU can’t claim responsibility for all of it.

Addressing some of the points that Unite makes:

Workplace safety – The 1977 or 1996 Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations Acts, are protected in British, not EU law.

The European Social Chapter – When the Social Chapter was enshrined in EU law (by the 1991 Maastricht treaty) the UK opted out. Personally, I think that this was a mistake, but it’s wrong for Unite to claim that the EU is responsible for putting these employment rights into British law. Tony Blair’s government did that in 1997. Nobody on the “Brexit” side is suggesting that we should repeal these laws.

Equality – The 2010 Equality Act is enacted in British, Not EU law and although it incorporates some EU rules into British law, many of the laws brought about as part of this act are updates Harold Wilson’s laws from the early 1970s, many of these original laws were brought in before we even joined the EU.

EU working time directive – Tony Blair opted out of the EU working time directive allowing workers to work more than 48 hours per week (if they volunteered for extra work). This still allows workers to be coerced into working longer hours so realistically most British workers don’t enjoy the full protection of the EU social chapter.

Equal Pay – The Equal Pay Act of 1970 was the first attempt to provide pay equality based on gender (this came in before we joined the EU). Despite this law and subsequent EU rulings on this subject there is still a significant disparity between the money that women earn compared to men. This chart shows the significant gender pay gap that still exists in Europe. For this reason, it is wrong to claim that the EU guarantees equal pay.

Holiday Health Cover – the “Healthcare on holiday” protection comes from the EHIC card. This is due to the UK’s membership of the EEA (European Economic Area) and has nothing to do with the EU. Both Switzerland and Iceland are members of the EHIC scheme even though they aren’t EU members.

I find it hard to believe that Unite is campaigning to remain a member of the EU. With the TTIP legislation on the horizon which will erode workers rights and according to CEPR projections increase EU unemployment by 1.3 million, I would have thought that this is just the thing that Unions should oppose.

Tony Benn sums up the EU for me. Fundamentally undemocratic and heading in the wrong direction. It isn’t the good things that the EU may or may not have done in the past, it’s the bad things that they are planning to do in the future that worry me. That’s why I want out.

(Skip to 34 seconds to hear Tony Benn)


********************** Update **************************

Since I wrote this blog, Dan Hannan (MEP and prominent Eurosceptic) tweeted this. It shows the supposedly independent groups including the OECS, IMF, IFS, LSE who’ve all benefited from EU funding.

It seems that the Unite Union is also on the list and received €285,000 funding from the EU. It appears that, “EU who pays the piper calls the tune.”

2016-05-25 13_32_05-Daniel Hannan (@DanHannanMEP) _ Twitter