Keynote Fights to Retain Throne

Flush with revenue, company spreads reach of transaction perspective

Keynote Systems is looking to bolster its dominance in the Web performance measurement services space with a major new release of its Keynote Transaction Perspective service.

On the heels of its largest revenue gain since the company was founded—it posted $15.2 million in revenue in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2006—Keynote on Nov. 7 added significant new capabilities in Transaction Perspective 7.0 that deliver last-mile testing to cable, DSL and third-generation wireless locations; a lower-cost but higher-frequency testing option; and new troubleshooting capabilities intended to help subscribers quickly locate and solve performance issues with their Web sites.

Despite its dominance in the Web transaction performance testing services space, Keynote with the new release is reacting to rival Gomez, which has been aggressively wooing Keynote customers. At the same time, Keynote is hoping to lure Mercury Interactive subscribers who may feel lost in the shuffle since its purchase by Hewlett-Packard.

The new Transaction Perspective High Frequency option, which provides multi-threaded measurements every 15 minutes versus Transaction Perspectives hourly single-threaded testing, is the "Buick" to Keynotes "Mercedes" Transaction Perspective and "Volkswagen" Application Perspective, said Keynote Chairman and CEO Umang Gupta.

"For many of those that use Gomez and Mercury, they will find Transaction Performance High Frequency offers high fidelity at the price points they pay for Mercury [Interactive] or Gomez," said Gupta. "The competition only has a Volkswagen."

According to Guptas subordinates, it is also the "Gomez killer," intended to take away the Gomez price advantage while providing testing from a real browser, rather than an emulated one that cant test client-side applications that use Java, ActiveX, or AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML).

"This uses true Internet Explorer technology. We can go after companies that have gone to other competitors and win them back," said Vik Chaudhary, vice president of marketing at Keynote, in San Mateo, Calif.

Although users at the Associated Press acknowledged that Gomez has similar capabilities, renewal with Keynote is a "no-brainer," and the latest last-mile additions solidify that posture, said Brian McArthur, director of technology at AP, in New York.

"We have 200 bureaus that have dial-up or ISDN. From there we want to know how our applications perform on those lighter connections. If we could test that before an application rolled out, that would be worth its weight in gold," McArthur said.

Keynote initially will roll out the new last-mile testing to 10 U.S. locations for dial-up, cable and DSL and then add 10 dial-up and DSL locations in Europe by the end of November. The company plans to have 85 last-mile locations running tests by mid-2007.

Even more attractive to users at AP is a new Web Content Diagnostics module that adds the ability to capture and view not only the Web page with an error but every page leading up to the error. "And you can look at HTTP headers for each component to see which servers interacted with the site at the time [of the error] to arrive at the root cause of the problem quickly," said Abel Gonzalez, product manager at Keystone.

"We think it will help us speed the troubleshooting and take that user interaction out so that we dont have to ask the customer what they are seeing," McArthur said. "That makes us look like we dont know whats going on. Having the tool in place to get what the customer is seeing from that location is a bigger selling point for them."

In addition to the advanced screen snapshots in the Web Content Diagnostics module, Keynote also included the ability to break down pages into their associated objects and report on metrics for every object on a page. The module also provides object-level trending.