Precise Aims to Cut Troubleshooting Time

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2002-09-27

Precise Aims to Cut Troubleshooting Time

Precise Software Inc. on Tuesday will take the wraps off a new release of its Precise i3 application performance management suite that promises to shave off hours in troubleshooting performance problems.

The Westwood, Mass., firm integrated the ability to view application performance from a user perspective and trace the execution of business transactions or processes from the Web browser through the multiple tiers of a Web service.

The i3 tools new Total Correlation feature can track transactions from the point where they reach the Web server, through a j2ee server, Tuxedo messaging server, backend Oracle or DB2 database down into a disk array, according to Andrew Bird, executive vice president of marketing at Precise Software in Westwood, Mass.

"We have knowledge of whats going on in the system and a proprietary base of expertise we built into the product. It gives you the ability to see a problem and understand which applications are impacted," he said.

Performance problems have taken center stage as more business applications are deployed that have a direct impact on the bottom line.

South Yarmouth, Mass.-based research firm Newport Group Inc. found that it takes on average about 25 hours to solve performance problems, according to Kevin Gallagher, vice president of Research and Reporting at Newport Group.

Beta tester Robert Sacca backed up Precises claim that the new release can help pinpoint and troubleshoot performance problems in minutes, but even better, he said, is the ability to eliminate finger pointing between the network group, the application group and so on.

"It shows you the time spent in each section of your workflow—from the client to the mid-tier or mid-tier to the database—or back-end time and front-end time. If its all time on the front end you know its not your database or application server. If there is a lag on the database side, with the new version of i3 you can drill right down to the form level (users interface) and even to the statement the form is running and do a complete analysis on why it is taking so long—whether it is waiting on memory, disk readings, other processes," described Sacca, manager of database services at the Research Foundation of the State University of New York in Albany.

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A high-level map shows the elements that make up an application system. Users can point a mouse to a specific element and click on the element to drill down. "It starts to identify which server has the application problem. You drill into the (Enterprise Java Bean), it invokes other EJBs and you continue to move through it until you recognize the individual component that has the problem," described Bird.

Precises Smart Tune feature, now better integrated across the i3 suite, can then be invoked to troubleshoot the response time problem and offer advice on how to resolve it. Smart Tune includes a built-in experience base of knowledge and can tap a performance warehouse where the i3 tool collects application statistics, data on SQL calls, and provides a historical performance base on the application running in the customers environment.

"Smart Tune gives advice on which application components are generating the problem, then gives advice on how to fix it," described Bird.

"It made a lot more connections between the (different i3 modules) so it makes a lot more sense. Now the terminology flows from one to another so you dont have to jump from one (module) to another," said Sacca.

The new 6.0 release of i3 will be available next week as a free upgrade for customers with existing maintenance contracts.

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