Getting Down to the Roots

Smarts' ACM tool aimed at end-to-end app monitoring.

System Management Arts Inc. is planning its first step toward complete end-to-end root-cause analysis with tools that track performance from device-level management through applications that deliver business services.

The White Plains, N.Y., company, which built a solid fault management business on its root-cause analysis of network problems, plans to release next month InCharge ACM (Application Connectivity Monitor). The software is designed to determine whether an outage is due to the network or the application infrastructure.

InCharge ACM takes a network-centric view of application availability by automatically discovering IP-based applications by the TCP ports they use and then monitoring user-defined TCP ports for connectivity problems, company officials said.

The tool on its own can be used as a tactical way to avoid the finger pointing that goes on between the network operations staff and applications support personnel when application outages occur.

If the tool indicates that the TCP port used by the application is up and available, efforts can be concentrated on discovering the fault within the applications infrastructure to speed resolution. Standard TCP applications, such as FTP, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, SMTP, HTTP and SQL services, rely on user-defined TCP port numbers, as do packaged applications.

"For standard applications like Oracle and so on, its straightforward to [discern which ports they use]. With some home-grown applications, it takes more digging to get that information," said analyst Corey Ferengul, of Meta Group Inc., in Chicago.

InCharge ACM also provides the foundation for System Management Arts, also known as Smarts, to add more granular applications monitoring and management for even greater visibility into the performance of the applications infrastructure, according to officials.

Toward that end, Smarts will update its InCharge ASM (Application Services Manager) to work with InCharge ACM within several months, said a company spokesman. By the end of the year, Smarts will also release a version of InCharge ASM for IBMs WebSphere Web application server, the spokesman said.

"This is a good step forward, but by only knowing theres connectivity [or not], thats just the beginning," said early-user Robert Rosier, managing director of managed services provider GlidePath BV, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. "I need much more knowledge about the application. That will be available in the near future so you can look inside applications."

Pricing for InCharge ACM, available now, starts at $20,000.