BMC Scales Down App Monitoring Tool

Scaled-down version boasts quick deployment times but sacrafices detail.

BMC Software Inc. next week will introduce a scaled-down version of its Patrol application performance management software.

The Houston management software powerhouse today released the tool, called the Patrol Express, an agentless version of its enterprise-class application monitoring tool.

It is intended for service providers as well as larger IT shops that interact with user departments as service providers.

Patrol Express uses such existing protocols as the Simple Network Management Protocol and the Windows Management Interface (WMI) as well as SQL queries to gather management data from each element that makes up and delivers an application or a service.

The tool is designed to monitor non-mission critical applications at low cost. Although deployment time is much faster—one early installation took 10 hours to set up and monitor about 280 servers—the tradeoff is in fewer performance metrics gathered.

"We get quick deployment, but we give up a level of detail," said Asif Khan, vice president of product development at SiteLite Corp. in Irvine, Calif. "A Patrol or Compaq Insight Manager could be measuring 1200 metrics. With this were getting more like 10 to 15 metrics," he said. SiteLite is using the tool for its Smart Point remote application monitoring service.

The tool keeps tabs on applications that dont need to be continuously monitored.

"If I have 20 Web servers in a server room doing the same thing, and one goes down, Ive just lost five percent of my total capacity. I just need to know if its up or down, and I can get to it when I get to it," described Khan.

Patrol Express steps users through configuration with a series of templates that allow administrators to group together all the elements that make up a service or application. It provides reports for administrators and customers on service level attainment and alert histories.

"We give the service view of grouped devices," said Jason Andrew, director of subscription services at BMC Software in Houston.

Patrol Express is built around a J2ee portal that uses an embedded WebLogic application server and SQL data store. The Portal runs on Microsoft Windows NT/2000, Unix and Linux. The number of devices supported depends on the size of the server. A Windows-based server can support up to 2000 remote devices.

A remote data gathering server, dubbed a harvester, is installed onsite to gather management data from the target systems. Management data is then transmitted to the portal in XML packets using a Secure Socket Layer connection.

Patrol Express is available now and priced at $100 per remote device (such as a LAN switch), $400 per server and $800 per application. It is also sold on a monthly subscription basis.

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