Compuware to Fill .Net Management Void

Compuware Corp. next week at the Microsoft Tech*Ed conference in New Orleans will jump into the management void for Microsoft .Net Web services software.

Compuware Corp. next week at the Microsoft Tech*Ed conference in New Orleans will jump into the management void for Microsoft .Net Web services software.

The Farmington Hills, Mich., management software provider will announce a new release of its Vantage application performance management suite, which extends a handful of management capabilities to .Net applications.

Vantage 8.0, which includes Application Expert, Application Vantage, ClientVantage, ServerVantage, NetworkVantage and Predictor, extends to .Net the ability to profile and analyze application response times, monitor performance, troubleshoot faults and manage growth.

ClientVantage, for example, allows users to passively monitor transaction response times and actively test and measure those times using synthetic transactions, according to Jay Richards, who heads up Compuwares .Net management efforts in Farmington Hills.

"The big challenge for .Net is knowing where the Web services are going to be. For example, by the time youve verified a credit card, you might hit two or three different Web services, and you dont know where those are located. The end users dont want to have to know that; they just want to see what kind of response times they are getting. We can do that passively on the users workstation or actively by running prescripted transactions," he said.

Although Compuwares support is a start, theres a long way to go before solid management support is available for .Net services, believes Jeb Bolding, research director at Enterprise Management Associates Inc. in Boulder, Colo.

"I think Web services now are focused on internal development. The issue of manageability isnt as big behind your own firewall. People are aware of what can happen if they try to do that kind of integration with business partners across the Internet. It will behoove the management vendors to address [security and manageability] before Web services really take hold," he said.

Compuware also extended the real-time packet capture and diagnosis of its AppVantage tool, which can automatically trace a transaction when it exceeds a certain performance threshold. The tool also includes new decodes for XML and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) transactions.

Compuwares NetworkVantage was also enhanced to identify SOAP and HTTPS traffic.

Finally, Compuware built into its ServerVantage server performance management tool predefined monitoring counters and metrics that provide a base level of performance and availability information. The counters are implemented as templates that draw from Microsoft tuning and performance guides for .Net servers.

The templates include rules or monitoring thresholds as well as recommendations. "They say things like, If you see these two metrics exceed these particular values, then you need to send an alert. Its a indication that something is wrong with performance," described Richards.

Bolding doesnt believe most companies will move beyond the experimentation and internal deployment stage of Web services until security and manageability issues are worked out. But at the same time, management software providers are also waiting for Web services to take off before going down that road. "Its a chicken and egg thing. Management vendors are looking to see when it will hit before they look to develop management tools for Web services. Compuware is one company not sitting around waiting," he said.

The components of the new 8.0 release of the suite are due between now and the end of the month.