Quality assurance tools reveal network, system or application performance characteristics so that corrections can be made and normal operations continued with as little disturbance as possible.
Entrants in this category ranged from traffic load generators to transaction monitors and voice-over-IP assessment tools. Judges were faced with the tough choice of determining not only the best products among a wide variety but also of deciding which types of products best serve IT in the current tough economic environment.
The finalists address different aspects of the quality assurance problem, and each exemplifies what IT managers should look for in tools that offer a return on investment in an area in which value is measured in the nebulous world of "what would happen if ... ."
WildPackets EtherPeek NX is a front-line service tool that uses packet analysis and expert knowledge to pinpoint problems and offer possible solutions while also offering a view of the patterns of network usage.
Rational Suite TestStudio from Rational Software enables a more collaborative approach to Web application testing by putting all the information needed to reproduce a problem and the problem itself in a workflow among research and development, quality assurance, and documentation. This improves the accuracy and speed with which development problems are discovered and resolved.
Both of these products were edged out of first place by HPs OpenView Service Desk, which puts the enterprise IT department in the drivers seat of problem resolution, service-level management and reporting, along with the ability to run on a multitude of operating system platforms. The judges were impressed with the straightforward usefulness of the product along with its attention to detail. Cameron Sturdevant