Silas Upgrades App Management Tool

Upgrade adds service-level agreement reporting, greater automation, and support for Microsoft SQL Server.

Application management spinoff Silas Technologies Inc. next week will debut the second major release of its Silas Reveille application availability tool.

The Winston-Salem, N.C., firm, a wholly owned subsidiary of banking behemoth Wachovia Corp., continued to broaden the appeal of its tool with service-level agreement reporting, greater automation, and support for Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle relational database management systems.

The Silas Reveille tool provides availability management for end-to-end application services by testing the various components that make up the service. It can cover a range of components in an integrated Web-based services application that relies on a variety of different systems and network components.

The tool, initially released over a year ago, was created with the goal of reducing the lengthy process of isolating faults to a particular component, including sub-services that make up an application service.

It is built using a stimulus/response methodology in which tests are created to determine how specific components of an application service respond. Using a wizard-driven scripting capability, users can create tests that can be automatically repeated at specified intervals to monitor components such as servers, business processes, network components, transaction processors, IBM mainframe Customer Information Control System regions and status of application resources.

The Windows 2000/Windows NT-based tool in version 2.0 adds browser-based service-level agreement reporting that uses a calendar as a visual metaphor, allowing IT and business users to view service metrics on specific days and then drill down to deeper levels of detail, according to Chris Edden, director of business development at the Wachovia subsidiary in Winston-Salem, N.C.

"SLA reports give detail like the number of failures during the time period selected, as well as the longest and shortest failure, response times, (and so on)," he said. We project a calendar with simple coloration to show if performance guidelines were met on that day. On the calendar you can drill down to the historical log for that day, and you can use the calendar as a catalyst for conversations about actions you have taken or not taken. In the same report we segment the problem set into constituent subservices. We show a pie chart that structures where most of the problems are so you can be more effective in prioritizing problems to fix for availability," he described.

The new release also allows users to automate at varying levels fixes to specific problems that occur more frequently. For example, if an application crashes periodically because of too many memory leaks, and the appropriate fix is to reboot the application, the tool can be configured to execute the fix and notify an administrator, or notify the administrator and ask for permission to execute the fix, or just notify the administrator that the failure occurred.

Edden claimed that the tool exacts minimal overhead in executing the tests. "The actual load on the server is minimal. The biggest footprint is in pushing the graphics out on the browser. It isnt rocket-science technology, but we bring an operational perspective thats not a silo approach but a technology service view," he said.

The new release, due out by months end, will also include Microsoft SQL Server support. Software with Oracle support will ship by summers end. The software is priced at $65,000 for five monitors, which can cover a variety of systems and applications that make up an application service.