Panorama Gives Sweeping View of Web App Servers

Startup Altaworks Corp. hopes to become the tools provider to go to for in-depth monitoring and management of BEA Systems Inc.'s WebLogic and IBM's Websphere Web application servers.

Startup Altaworks Corp. hopes to become the tools provider to go to for in-depth monitoring and management of BEA Systems Inc.s WebLogic and IBMs Websphere Web application servers.

The Nashua, N.H., company earlier this week took the wraps off its Panorama tool, which monitors live Web transactions and includes patent-pending root cause analysis capabilities to more quickly determine the cause of performance problems or outages.

In monitoring live transactions, Altaworks officials believe that the tools ability to break response times down by infrastructure segment is unique. "We correlate that response time information with underlying system performance," said Bob Ure, the companys marketing director.

In its root cause analysis functions, the tool uses "a lot of mathematical and statistical analysis to come to a root cause conclusion," said Ure. "It will tell the administrator, Here are two potential causes of the slowdown, so they can start to pinpoint what the problem is."

That ability to apply intelligent analytics in determining the root cause of problems sets Panorama apart from competitor and neighbor Dirig Software, Ure said.

The tool can determine root causes at the system process and component level, including servlets and EJBs (Enterprise Java Beans).

One early user, Applied Micro Circuits Corp., after running the software for a couple of days, was able to pinpoint the source of intermittent performance problems, according to Bob Averill, chief technology architect at the San Diego-based company.

"We werent sure if it was related to the database, network, configurations or inefficient EJBs. We were able to pinpoint that the problems were related to the application, and we were able to get tuning on WebLogic servers to cut transaction times down by 70 percent," Averill said.

Panorama is made up of agents that run on the Web application servers. Each agent includes data adapters that allow the agent to gather data on different components, such as the operating system and the server software, as well as a generic J2EE adapter. Such data is extracted and sent to the system management platform, where "heavy number crunching is done," said Steve McCalmont, Altaworks CEO, in Nashua.

Results are then displayed in the tools graphical interface. "Dynamic Java technology lets you consolidate and view [the results] in 3-D models and get granular in looking at specific statistics that are correlated and displayed by time. We display a potential root cause and show the metrics associated with it," McCalmont said.

The system management platform runs on Windows NT and Sun Microsystems Inc.s Solaris. The user interface is browser-based.

Altaworks Panorama is available now; pricing starts at $24,995, which covers managing up to six CPUs.