Mercury Bolsters Monitoring Tools

 
 
By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2002-03-05
 
 
 
Mercury Interactive Corp. came out with both barrels blazing this week with news on two fronts: an integration alliance with Citrix Systems Inc. and a new release of its SiteScope monitoring tool, acquired with Freshwater Software Inc., that is integrated with its ActiveWatch performance monitoring service.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company is teaming up with Citrix to create the first native load testing and performance monitoring tools for Citrix MetaFrame clients. Mercurys LoadRunner software will allow testing of Citrix clients using the Citrix Independent Computing Architecture protocols to better predict the performance of new applications running on Citrix MetaFrame terminal servers.

At the same time, Mercury will incorporate support for MetaFrame servers in its Topaz performance monitoring tool. Together the enhanced offerings, due by May, will provide pre-deployment load testing and post-deployment monitoring.

"All the technologies created [with LoadRunner for Citrix] can be used with Topaz once applications are deployed," said Simon Berman, director of product marketing at Mercury Interactive. "The scripts they create for LoadRunner can be used with Topaz in a production environment to monitor the health of a production system."

Without such tools, users have had to develop their own testing scripts and manually extrapolate out results, according to Greg Martin, manager of client/server and messaging solutions at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. in Miami. "This will take it to the next level and greatly simplify what we do today using manual extrapolation methods and custom scripts. With those you can trick the system to let you do it, but then you have to extrapolate out the actual results or just run a generic network load generator. But then you dont get the valuable feedback that you get with Mercury," he said.

As part of its alliance with Citrix, Mercury Interactive is licensing Citrix technology to bundle it with LoadRunner for Citrix and Topaz for Citrix. Mercury also became the first partner in the Citrix Business Alliance program to occupy its Testing and Performance Management category. Citrix for its part became a Validated Integration Partner in Mercurys Open Architecture Program.

Meanwhile, Mercurys Freshwater Software subsidiary Tuesday will take the wraps off a new version of its SiteScope monitoring software that is integrated with the companys ActiveWatch Web performance monitoring and diagnostic service.

Officials believe that the combination will provide the first hosted service to correlate system monitoring and end-user application performance data from inside and outside a corporate firewall, giving subscribers an integrated view of overall performance.

That kind of correlation was "intuitive" for one Mercury Interactive customer, who opted to manually combine the two to get both an internal and an external view of how critical applications were behaving. "I had merged them manually together on a pair of monitors I keep in the application area. If something changes on the inside I can see how that affects the outside," explained Michael McClung, Ph.D. and director of IT services for Day Runner Inc. in Fullerton, Calif. "It does no good to see your engine temperature if youre running into a wall, but thats the problem we run into quite frequently. Its enabled me as I trained AS/400 operators to have an intuitive sense of when the servers are misbehaving."

Along with the ActiveWatch integration, SiteScope Version 7 adds the ability to monitor 16 new environments, including BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere and DB2, Microsoft SOAP and SQL Server, Oracle 9i, and others.

The new release also gains the ability to create monitoring templates to speed SiteScope deployment in large data centers with multiple servers.

ActiveWatch integrated with SiteScope is available now, and it is priced at $7,600 a year per 100 metrics monitored. LoadRunner for Citrix starts at $52,000 for 50 concurrent Citrix users, and Topaz for Citrix starts at $60,000. Both are due in 60 days.

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