Tool Speeds Web App Troubleshooting

New management tool from Dirig can speed troubleshooting of J2EE Web app failures.

Dirig Software Inc. today announced a new management tool designed to help IT managers find the specific cause of Web application failures without having to sift through reams of unrelated performance data.

The Nashua, N.H., firms new Pathfinder add-on can speed troubleshooting of J2EE Web applications failures by mapping transaction dependencies across multiple components that deliver the application, including Web servers, load balancers, back-end databases and more.

Pathfinder, which works with Dirigs Fenway Web applications monitoring tool, can map the business logic in a J2EE Web application by identifying the components of a J2EE application, how the components link to each other, what their relationships or dependencies are, how theyre called, "and every possible path through the logic you could take," described Dave Wilby, vice president of product management in Nashua, N.H.

Such a full view across multiple components that deliver Web applications is hard to come by in the market, believes beta tester Greg Whitehead, lead systems architect at Aether Systems Inc. in Owings Mills, Md.

"There are many companies that just monitor one server as a single entity. But when you try to look at the system as a whole—we didnt feel anyone else was really doing that," he said.

Whitehead stepped up to beta test the software "because it is very difficult for us to monitor what goes on in the Java application server environment when youre talking about many servers making up an application. If you have several load balanced Web servers going to one or more Java application servers that are tied into databases, it is difficult to troubleshoot when you have a problem to find out where that might lie," he added.

By automatically discovering the individual components of a Java application, such as enterprise Java beans or servlets and then tracking their dependencies on other components in the Web infrastructure, Pathfinder allows users to associate a component failure with a specific Web application, view the order in which components are called, and then determine the cause of a transaction failure.

Pathfinder also provides an observation feature that allows users to put collected monitoring data in context to look for abnormalities.

"You can look to see if you have an even load and see how certain parts of the infrastructure are doing in comparison to others," said Wilby. "We find software clustering isnt working the way vendors say it should," because Pathfinder can determine that loads are not evenly spread across servers, he added.

Pathfinder, due out in November, is priced starting at $40,000 base price for a view into six applications. It requires Dirigs Fenway monitoring and troubleshooting tool.

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