Java Management Interface Gains Backer

Slow-growing support for Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java Management eXtension is set to get a boost from an unlikely source: fast-growing application management startup Dirig Software Inc.

Slow-growing support for Sun Microsystems Inc.s Java Management eXtension is set to get a boost from an unlikely source: fast-growing application management startup Dirig Software Inc.

The Nashua, N.H., firm will become one of the earliest vendors to provide application performance management using the JMX interface when it releases Version 1.1 of Fenway application manager at the end of November. It will follow BMC Software, which last spring released its initial support and early this month released Version 1.3 of its Patrol for BEA WebLogic Server with a JMX collector.

Sun, with the help of IBM and others, developed the JMX API (application program interface) as a standard way to manage Java 2 Enterprise Edition applications. J2EE platform vendors and the telecommunications industry are the leading adopters of JMX—so much so that Sun is talking with the Java development community about making it a core part of J2EE, said Philippe Lalande, JMX product manager at Sun, in Mountain View, Calif.

Sun is promoting JMX as the standard way for Java applications and application servers to make management data available to management tools.

Dirigs Fenway product will be able to access statistics from JMX-enabled applications. Such statistics could include transactions completed, transaction rollbacks, servlet hits and Java Virtual Machine memory usage. Dirig will go further by using the JMX API to take actions in response to events.

"Say the application developer puts a trigger in their code that says, Flag any transaction over $1 million. We can tell the application server to open more connection pools to increase the connectivity speed," said Dave Wileby, vice president of product management for Dirig.

As more and more Java application servers move into production, users are increasingly asking what they can do to manage those platforms, said Corey Ferengul, vice president of services management strategies at Meta Group in Chicago.

"The call volume from end users has really gone up for managing Web applications. End users are just beginning to learn what JMX is," he said.

JMX as a standard for managing J2EE applications overlaps with other standards efforts, such as the Distributed Management Task Forces Common Information Model and SNMP. But it provides a deeper level of monitoring for J2EE applications, Ferengul said. Dirigs Wileby said that the J2EE platform developers are adopting JMX more readily, while hardware vendors are lining up behind the DMTFs CIM.

Dirig at the end of November will also release Version 3.1 of its Protor agent technology for application response time monitoring. The new release will include enhanced reporting and alerting, as well as the ability to monitor Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol and IMAP implementations.