Tool Kit Automates Instrumentation for J2EE Apps

Tool provides a graphical interface that allows developers to choose application attributes to monitor and measure.

Instrumenting applications to enable them to be monitored and managed has never been easy, and it isnt much easier for Java 2 Enterprise Edition applications even using the Java Management eXtensions standard interface.

But a small Pleasanton, Calif., application management supplier has created a tool kit to simplify the process for ISVs and corporate developers.

AdventNet Inc. last week announced its ManageEngine Suite 5, which automates instrumentation for J2EE applications using the JMX standard and provides tools to build custom consoles and integrate with existing management consoles such as those from IBMs Tivoli unit or Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView.

"We tried to make the instrumentation problem easier--especially for custom applications," said Tony Thomas, chief technology officer and founder of AdventNet.

The task of instrumenting applications falls on the developers, who dont typically have the time or expertise to instrument their applications. "To make [applications] manageable, you need to expose the instrumentation of them so you can control them and measure the metrics of them. But its too much work for the developer--they have to learn a lot and do a lot to achieve this. Theyd rather not have to deal with it," said Thomas.

ManageEngine Suite uses the common instrumentation model in the JMX standard. "You write it as componentized code deployed with your application, and it can be exposed by HTTP or any type of form needed to expose the instrumentation. With the combination of deployment descriptors and Java introspection, you can automate a lot of the process of instrumenting the code," said Thomas.

The tool provides a graphical interface that allows developers to choose application attributes--typically represented as Enterprise JavaBeans--to monitor and measure. They can graphically create rules for alerting IT or business managers when problems arise in their applications.

Other vendors have taken the approach of building consoles to manage the J2EE Web application servers such as IBMs WebSphere or BEAs WebLogic, according to Audrey Rasmussen, analyst with Enterprise Management Associates Inc., in Boulder, Colo.

"There are people managing J2EE applications, but more by instrumenting the servers. Other management vendors are moving toward using JMX, but theyre not there yet. AdventNet has been there for a while," she said.

Thomas believes that only application architects in the largest firms--especially financial services firms--are beginning to design JMX into their J2EE applications.

The ManageEngine Suite is made up of three components, including the JMX Studio for automating instrumentation for monitoring and measuring application performance and business-level management. Other components include the Console Builder for automating the building of consoles that can integrate with existing management consoles, and the Applications Manager integrated console for systems, middleware and custom applications.

ManageEngine Suite 5 ships by months end. It is priced at $6,000 per server for the JMX agent tool kit. The Console Manager is $15,000 per server.