In a David-and-Goliath matchup, startup Tonic Software Inc. and entrenched Mercury Interactive Corp. are announcing automated root-cause-analysis options for their respective performance management suites.
Tonic Automation Engine and Mercurys Topaz Auto Root Cause Analysis module are patent-pending root-cause-analysis tools that complement management software that provides performance monitoring, testing and reporting.
Both vendors are leveraging experience in the field with users to build intelligence into the products so they can automatically identify conditions that lead to problems.
"Were taking engagements with customers and the intellectual property we gain about how Web applications perform—where they fail—and were rolling that into the product," said Steve Marcie, chief technology officer for Tonic, in Austin, Texas.
Much of that experience came from working with customers such as Electronics For Imaging Inc.
"We wanted to develop a master script that would go through and sense a number of points within our enterprise and, based on business logic, be able to say, You have a server down or a service within it, or a page is down," said Ron Albright, Web and applications development manager at EFI, in Foster City, Calif. "Tonic came back with this as a solution. It allows you to globally look at your enterprise activities and accurately and quickly deduce where the flaw is occurring and then do automated responses like reboot a server or shut down and restart."
Tonic sought patent protection for the tools ability to "define or assign a signature to multiple events within the environment to articulate what the overall health of the environment is," Marcie said. That capability lets users instruct the tool about what actions to take without requiring in-depth knowledge of the tool itself.
Meanwhile, Tonics rival, Mercury, designed its root-cause-analysis engine to look for the likely causes of performance problems and then allow experts to drill down to pinpoint the culprit.
The tool takes data from a variety of sources, including Topaz end-user data as well as data generated by major enterprise system management tools such as BMC Software Inc.s Patrol, Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView, IBMs Tivoli Enterprise Console and Computer Associates International Inc.s Unicenter.
The tool includes a statistical engine and set of preconfigured rules. In-house application experts can create custom rules using wizards.