Tools target application speed

A clutch of companies are vying to provide tools that monitor and manage Web application performance across a distributed...

A clutch of companies are vying to provide tools that monitor and manage Web application performance across a distributed infrastructure.

This week, companies such as ProactiveNet, Mercury Interactive and startup Panacya will roll out products that take a holistic approach to pinpointing the source of bottlenecks and coding glitches that can slow down applications.

These newer players are moving away from traditionally reactive methods and are embracing capabilities such as automatic baselining, the "self-learning" of optimal application performance, and correlation and root-cause monitoring across the entire software infrastructure.

In many cases, a problem lies not in the application itself but somewhere else in the enterprise.

These new tools aim to cut down on IT resource requirements, as well as working in concert with existing network management software.

According to industry analysts, these Web-based applications represent another step forward in the quest for "self-healing" systems such as those engendered by IBM's Project eLiza hardware initiative.

ProactiveNet is unveiling a version of its management software aimed at application servers, including BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, and Sun ONE (Open Net Environment).

The core software uses intelligent thresholding and root-cause analysis to monitor the health of a transaction in the context of the entire application delivery path, said ProactiveNet chief executive officer, Ajay Singh.

In its company launch this week, Panacya will unveil its bAware application performance management suite and is expected to ink a deal to manage BEA's myBEA program applications.

Panacya's bAware software suite offers a semantic modelling studio, real-time monitoring, peer-to-peer analysis, and correlation tools, according to Franco Negri, chief technical officer at Panacya.

Panacya relies on its Data Provider agents to extract application information and on its Data Provider Server, a Simple Object Access Protocol (Soap)-based Web service, for standards integration.

Meanwhile, Mercury Interactive this week will launch ProTune, a software version of its ActiveTune service, which enables customers to "tune" applications in a production environment to understand customers' behavior.

ProTune measures the effect of transactions conducted among server clusters, databases, and load balancers and makes recommendations for fixing bottlenecks, said David Gehringer, director of product marketing for tuning solutions at Mercury.

Mercury and other Web-based application vendors will find themselves up against big players such as IBM, whose recently released IBM Tivoli Monitoring 5.1 includes an autonomic engine to "identify, notify, [and] cure" system and application ailments, said Chris O'Connor, director of performance and availability solutions at IBM Tivoli.

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