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.
http://www.vivit-worldwide.org/blogpost/1011299/258002/Proposed-HPE-Software–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

What can a long-dead Prussian teach us about IT?

I originally wrote this for the Trust IV blog, but I thought it deserved a “republish” here…

As a performance tester, along with many people in the IT-world, I’m often asked to plan for different eventualities. I have to write test plans, software deployment plans or help to provide estimates for how long a piece of work will take.  For predictable, simple work, this is fairly easy and is the sort of thing that people learn in school maths lessons. e.g. “If it takes one man one hour to dig a hole, how long will it take two men to dig a similar hole?”

In the IT world it often isn’t as simple as that. To (mis)quote Donald Rumsfeld, things that catch us out are the “unknown unknowns, those things that we don’t know that we don’t know.” How can we be sure that the configuration of a particular server is the same as the last one where we performed a particular task?
How do we know that the test data that we’ve been given is a true representation of live data?
How can we be sure that the business requirements we’ve been given are correct?

With a whole host of unknowns we need to be prepared to change our plans at a moment’s notice.
This is where the “dead Prussian” comes in…..

This cHelmuth_von_Moltke_(1800-1891)hap is Helmut von Moltke the Elder; a Prussian army officer who died in Berlin in 1891. He was the chief of staff of the Prussian army and an excellent strategist. Rather than directing his armies with explicit commands, which ran the risk of becoming irrelevant quickly, he recognised that it made more sense to describe an overall strategic plan to his officers and rely on them to help him to achieve his objectives.

 

He recognised that military strategy was best described as a system of “options” since only the beginning of a military operation was plannable. He tasked his officers with calculating numerous possible outcomes and “what if?” scenarios. Only by preparing for multiple possibilities, could he be ensured of success.

His ethos is best described with the quote which is most commonly attributed to him:
“No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy’s main strength.”

Often abbreviated to:
“No plan survives contact with the enemy.”
I think that “Moltke” would have been at home in the IT world. He rejected a single detailed plan in favour of multiple “what if” plans and empowered his subordinates, trusting them to make the right decisions, despite the fact that he couldn’t always be in contact with them. Although the “military subject matter” of his famous quotes isn’t pertinent in IT, the theme remains relevant.

As I tester, I believe that these quotes are spot on:

  • No test plan survives first contact with application code.
  • No project plan extends with certainty beyond the first milestone.
  • There is no such thing as the “perfect test”, prepare for the unexpected.
  • If something can go wrong, it probably will….. be prepared for it.

Can you think of any other “Moltke-themed” quotations that are relevant to you?

Answers on a postcard….well perhaps in a Tweet to @TrustIV or @RichardBishop

Introduction to performance testing at the NWTG

I really enjoy the NWTG events in Manchester which arintro_nwtge great for the testing community in this area.  I’ve noticed that performance testing is “under represented” at these events (which frequently
have a functional-testing bias).  With this in mind, I tried to give an introduction to performance testing.

For those unable to attend, the slides are available on SlideShare.

….and a video of the presentation is available on YouTube.
(My son thinks that the number of “ums” and “erms” is hilarious. I’m hoping to reduce the number of these “linguistic fillers” for my next presentation)

The final slide includes links to the Trust IV LoadRunner download page as well as blogs that I have found helpful during my time as a tester.

If anybody wants to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact @RichardBishop or @TrustIV via Twitter.