Performance management products from third parties are taking on crucial Web services reliability issues.
As Web services become bigger pieces of an organizations technology infrastructure, the same kind of discipline that keeps core database servers and directory servers running at a reliability of four or five nines needs to be applied to Web services servers. If it cant be, then the technology cant be depended upon to deliver all day, every day at acceptable response times.
Performance management, in fact, has long been an Achilles heel of application servers in general. Of the top four application servers by market shareBEA Systems Inc.s BEA WebLogic Server, IBMs WebSphere, Oracle Corp.s Oracle9i Application Server and Sun Microsystems Inc.s Sun ONE Application Serveronly WebSphere provides anything other than shallow, mostly cross-server quality-of-service measurements.
Tivoli Performance Viewer, included in WebSphere, lets users view detailed usage and response time statisticsdown to the individual object leveland log statistics to disk for historical analysis.
A third-party market is emerging to address this management gap. One example is Cyanea Systems Corp.s Cyanea/One, a run-time management tool for WebSphere and (as of this month) BEA WebLogic.
Cyanea/One tracks CPU usage on a method-by-method basis, object call rates over time and overall server memory heap usage, garbage collection behavior and availability. Statistics are logged for historical comparison and can be aggregated to display cross-server farm performance.
Cyanea/One has the interesting ability to generate a run-time exception in any application. This allows it to unblock a resource lock without having to stop other applications or the application server. Administration tasks can be delegated using administrative roles assigned different levels of access. The packages agent runs on several Unix variants, Windows and OS/390.
A number of other options compete in this emerging space, including Quest Software Inc.s PerformaSure, Wily Technology Inc.s Introscope, Confluent Software Inc.s Core Manager and Blue Titan Software Inc.s Blue Titan Network Director.
Timothy Dyck is a Senior Analyst with eWEEK Labs. He has been testing and reviewing application server, database and middleware products and technologies for eWEEK since 1996. Prior to joining eWEEK, he worked at the LAN and WAN network operations center for a large telecommunications firm, in operating systems and development tools technical marketing for a large software company and in the IT department at a government agency. He has an honors bachelors degree of mathematics in computer science from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and a masters of arts degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.