Web Services Monitor Tallies Trend Metrics

AmberPoint SLM can adjust performance.

AmberPoint Inc. last week aimed to bring another level of business maturity to Web services with the release of its new AmberPoint Service Level Manager.

The tool, which works with Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition and .Net Web services platforms, can monitor performance and availability of Web services to match business priorities. The system can determine whether traffic is being generated by an important customer or a casual user, to ensure that high-level users are given preferential treatment, officials said.

AmberPoint SLM prevents Web services quality-of-service failures by anticipating performance level and taking automated corrective action before problems happen. The tool can then be used to collect performance metrics over time for longer-term reporting and trend analysis.

Although a handful of startups address Web services performance management in different ways, the greater focus to date among pilot projects has been on managing the security of such applications, said International Data Corp. analyst Sandra Rogers, in Framingham, Mass.

Early AmberPoint users at AgentWare Inc., a travel information Web services company, employ the tool to ensure that clients get reliable services, said Les Ottolenghi, president and CEO of the Atlanta company. "A lot of those travel sites where we [gather] information have different sizes of servers, different amounts of bandwidth available. Were not always able to get to them. Service Level Manager allows us to make sure those sources are available for us to collect data and then distribute it," Ottolenghi said.

AgentWare also uses the performance metrics that the tool collects to create service-level agreements.

AmberPoint SLM is made up of agents that collect basic information and a server that aggregates and processes that information and evaluates it for trends. The agents can run as proxies into target applications, such as those from PeopleSoft Inc. or SAP AG, or they can be plugged directly inside the container of the application server running the Web service.

"The whole system is designed to work noninvasively. We can [manage] the Web service without recoding the Web service, changing the headers or what have you. From a single SLM system, I can manage all the components of the Web service Im involved with," said Anjan Mitra, AmberPoint senior product manager, in Oakland, Calif.

The tool is aimed at three types of users: Web developers, technical operations staff, and marketing or line-of-business managers responsible for Web services applications. Each can interact with the system in a customized fashion. AmberPoint SLM will be available next month priced starting at about $50,000, said company officials.