Tackling Web Transaction Troubles

New tool from startup Quantiva Inc. automates diagnosis of Web transaction problems.

Startup Quantiva Inc. hopes to break into the Web transaction management space with a tool that draws on sophisticated mathematical algorithms to automate diagnosis of Web transaction problems from the customers perspective.

The Quantiva Analysis System, announced Monday, is a service designed to help business-to-business (B2B) applications operators detect and diagnose performance problems before they affect customers.

The system can pinpoint early warning signs of problems in Web servers, image servers and applications as well as determine the effects of upgrades on a customers experience. It can also determine the effects of ISP slowdowns on customers and flag impending trouble in customer networks.

Using algorithms, the system automatically sets performance thresholds after monitoring critical Web transactions over a period of time and determining a traffic profile for normal patterns for the transaction. When thresholds are breached, the analysis engine automatically executes to determine the source of the problem.

The system uses adaptive models that refine their determination of what normal traffic patterns are for a Web transaction. "There are sophisticated statistics (gathered) over multiple time windows that work together to detect when things are normal and abnormal," described Ron Hiller, chief technology officer for the Princeton, N.J startup.

Using algorithms to take the complexity out of root cause analysis is a growing practice, believes Jasmine Noel, principal at JNoel Associates in Boston.

"Vendors are trying to make it simpler to do when you have complex systems you dont want to have to write rules for," said Noel, who added that Mercury Interactive Corp., Altaworks Corp., Hewlett-Packards OpenView unit and ProactiveNet Inc. are all working on new root cause analysis algorithms to automate more problem resolution.

The Quantiva Analysis System is made up of 16 data collectors placed on Tier 1 Internet backbones. The collectors send synthetic transactions and record response times and error rates. The system also uses light-weight reflectors downloaded to user sites to accept test transactions for diagnosing external customer-based problems. The central analysis engine builds transaction profiles, detects problems and automates diagnosis.

The service is available now, starting at $200 per month per URL.

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