Managed Objects Tracks Homegrown App Structure

Managed Objects believes that its new Application Configurations Manager has solved the problem of mapping in detail all the software components that are built into a large and complex custom application.

Being able to discover the components and map the dependencies of homegrown enterprise applications is the final frontier for IT in its Business Services Management activities. Independent BSM provider Managed Objects believes it has conquered that frontier.

The 10-year-old company introduced on June 11 at the Gartner IT Infrastructure, Operations and Management Summit in Orlando its new Application Configurations Manager, which can automate the discovery and mapping of the relationships, dependencies and configurations that are a part of in-house-developed enterprise applications.

"We found when we were trying to do a complete picture of a BSM implementation or a complete picture of a Configuration Management Database implementation that all the components of the homegrown application—from Dynamic Link Libraries to any other software components—were not well defined and it was hard to get all the necessary data," said CEO Siki Giunta. This is the problem Managed Objects believes it has solved with its new ACM, he said.

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Existing application discovery and dependency mapping tools work fine for packaged applications, but often require time-consuming and expensive consulting engagements for "fingerprinting" custom applications.

"The discovery data tools take a manual, labor-intensive approach to creating fingerprints [of custom applications]. The discovery guys claim they can do it, but were talking about building [a custom applications] persona in three days, versus six weeks to understand the application infrastructure, building the first fingerprint and then being able to run it, said Guinta. "Then [with the competing approach] they have to come in again every time you want to change it," she added.

Managed Objects ACM automatically gathers and reconciles application components and dependencies, no matter where they are located, whether an applications configuration components are located in tracking systems, versioning systems or whether they include user data kept in an LDAP directory. The ACM provides a "genetic map" of application configurations that allows IT to understand the impact of potential changes before they are put into production.

With the ACM, IT can establish what the ideal configuration is for a homegrown application, and then constraints can be added to the "genetic map" that describe such things as "this application should run on this infrastructure map and all the components should be in these places in the infrastructure map," Giunta said. "Then we run a refined search, perform application analysis and compare what we find. Then we perform an impact and gap analysis where we can say, this DLL is unmapped," she added.

The ACM builds on Managed Objects "solid" technical foundation for "building multivendor data into their solution," said industry analyst Deb Curtis at Gartner in Stamford, Conn.

The ACM is due by mid-July.

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