Compuware to Rebrand Management Tools

Compuware, which also acquired a series of management tools on top of its existing management software, is kicking off its rebranding effort on the heels of rival Computer Associates International Inc.'s own branding campaign

Compuware Corp. on Monday will launch its own rebranding campaign for its series of acquired management tools and introduce a major new release of its application performance management suite.

Compuware, which also acquired a series of management tools on top of its existing management software, is kicking off its rebranding effort on the heels of rival Computer Associates International Inc.s own branding campaign. Among CAs new brands is the ADvantage product line, while the Farmington Hills, Mich. Compuware is launching its Vantage brand. Both vendors hope to provide a clearer picture of what they have to offer.

"Timing is everything," said Compuware user Philip Hoffer, in reference to the dueling branding campaigns. "Compuwares brand has been clear for us, but I think theres a lot of customers who are probably confused--much like what CA went through.

When you start acquiring software, it tends to muddy the water," added Hoffer, senior manager of global advanced technologies at J.D. Edwards Inc. in Denver, Colo.

Compuwares latest release of its EcoSYSTEMS application performance suite, rebranded Vantage, pulls together new options and integration of separate tools that are intended to give a clearer picture of actual performance and bandwidth utilization.

Compuware integrated its Interval Pro response time testing software with QARun application testing tools to create a new offering that provides both passive monitoring of response times from an end station as well as active monitoring.

The new ClientVantage software, which performs end-user transaction response time monitoring, includes both a passive monitoring agent and active agent that includes new diagnostic capabilities. The active agent, installed on end user desktops or on dedicated systems set up at chosen locations, can be used to monitor service levels.

"You can set up a machine to do simulated transactions and take measurements at certain, regular intervals for continuous monitoring. It gets the real metric on the service levels you are delivering to that location," said John Williams, director of product management for the Vantage line in Farmington Hills.

The diagnostic functions in the active agent allow it to continuously capture packets. Those packets that exceed set performance thresholds can be examined later to pinpoint the source of performance problems. Normal packets are discarded.

A central control server aggregates measurements taken and provides service level reporting. The central console, where pre-configured diagnostic reports are run, is based on Microsoft Corp.s Windows NT or Windows 2000. The agents can run on any Windows platform.

The new ClientVantage works with the suites NetworkVantage and ServerVantage to provide comprehensive application monitoring and troubleshooting as well as service level management.

Compuware integrated the three tools under a new web-based console. The new VantageView web console shows a common application view for all the functions involved in application performance analysis and problem resolution.

Version 8.0 of the suite also includes a new WAN provisioning option for the Application Expert analysis tool, which will keep its name. The tool, acquired with Optimal Networks over a year ago, now offers an option to more easily and accurately predict the bandwidth requirements on a given site on the WAN links used by the site.

"It lets you build a model of your expected workload. You create classes of users, and for each class you define a workload profile – ie in peak hours this class of users will run this many transactions of different types. You can then set up transaction profiles for each class and ID the number of users in each class. It creates the composite workload on the WAN link and it tells you the required size WAN link to support that user population," said Williams.

Because WAN costs continue to make up a large chunk of most IT budgets, the option can help to keep costs in line with usage.

"The network is very expensive to run. The idea of being able to see the cost of a WAN beside the application strengthens the view they give of the overall impact of the application on the business," said Elisabeth Rainge, program director at International Data Corp. in Mountain View, Calif.

Version 8.0 is due in January.