Blue Titan officials said additional notification methods, including SNMP traps, are being developed. As it stands, a Blue Titan Network Director service can be configured to convert an alert into an SNMP trap. Company officials said they are hoping that network management companies will come around to the Web services way. However, because of widespread implementation of SNMP-based monitoring and management systems, we would like to see Blue Titan make a concerted effort to work with these established infrastructure management systems. We would also like to see Blue Titan incorporate technology based on pioneering work from companies such as System Management Arts Inc. that will enable root cause analysis for Web services failures.Blue Titan staff assisted us with the installation, a common practice with new customers. IT managers should plan on at least one day of on-site help to ensure that the Blue Titan components can communicate with one another. Once the product was installed, our work showed that day-to-day operations should be straightforward and require little assistance from either the in-house systems or database staff. That said, IT staff at an organization who oversee Web services will likely spend at least several weeks getting to know Blue Titan Network Director. This is because Blue Titan Network Director has a process that makes sense for monitoring and managing the myriad Web services that are likely to become available in the coming months and years, especially as security issues surrounding XML and SOAP are addressed. Competitors such as Confluent Software Inc.s Core Manager provide similar, comparably priced services, and IT managers should look at these emerging companies for help with managing Web services. After installing all the Blue Titan Network Director components, we stepped through the process of setting up the system to deploy and manage a test set of Web services. First, we defined organizations, which set boundaries on users and the Web services to which users can subscribe. In this version of the product, organization information is quite rudimentary and includes basic identification and billing information. The most important aspect of setting up an organization is providing membership information so that Blue Titan Network Director can control access to Web services. In tests, we defined subscriber groups based on departments at eWEEK, including Labs, News and Production. Creating subscriber groups streamlined the process of assigning access rights for various Web services we used in our tests. We used Blue Titan Network Director to register Web services and then provided the services to organizations through a simple-to-use Web-based administrative interface (
Registering Web services allowed us to provide granular information about each service, including the execution URL and other identifying information.
The Web service registration process let us provide multiple execution URLs, so that Blue Titan Network Director could supply a backup if one became unavailable.
Blue Titan Network Director uses its software switches to perform policy-based routing of Web services. We installed several switches, about 2MB worth, on the test networks Red Hat Linux systems. The switches worked well and provided log information about the performance of each Web services transaction.
See related story, Service-Level Agreements Take Tact, Honesty.
Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant is at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another area where Blue Titan Network Director needs work is reporting. During tests, for example, we were able to gauge service utilization with a real-time monitor but could not conveniently get historical performance reports. Also, we were limited to monitoring one metric at a time.