Third-Party Apps Tackle Web Services Reliability

Performance management products from third parties are taking on crucial Web services reliability issues.

As Web services become bigger pieces of an organizations technology infrastructure, the same kind of discipline that keeps core database servers and directory servers running at a reliability of four or five nines needs to be applied to Web services servers. If it cant be, then the technology cant be depended upon to deliver all day, every day at acceptable response times.

Performance management, in fact, has long been an Achilles heel of application servers in general. Of the top four application servers by market share—BEA Systems Inc.s BEA WebLogic Server, IBMs WebSphere, Oracle Corp.s Oracle9i Application Server and Sun Microsystems Inc.s Sun ONE Application Server—only WebSphere provides anything other than shallow, mostly cross-server quality-of-service measurements.

Tivoli Performance Viewer, included in WebSphere, lets users view detailed usage and response time statistics—down to the individual object level—and log statistics to disk for historical analysis.

A third-party market is emerging to address this management gap. One example is Cyanea Systems Corp.s Cyanea/One, a run-time management tool for WebSphere and (as of this month) BEA WebLogic.

Cyanea/One tracks CPU usage on a method-by-method basis, object call rates over time and overall server memory heap usage, garbage collection behavior and availability. Statistics are logged for historical comparison and can be aggregated to display cross-server farm performance.

Cyanea/One has the interesting ability to generate a run-time exception in any application. This allows it to unblock a resource lock without having to stop other applications or the application server. Administration tasks can be delegated using administrative roles assigned different levels of access. The packages agent runs on several Unix variants, Windows and OS/390.

A number of other options compete in this emerging space, including Quest Software Inc.s PerformaSure, Wily Technology Inc.s Introscope, Confluent Software Inc.s Core Manager and Blue Titan Software Inc.s Blue Titan Network Director.