ProactiveNet, the David of the Business Service Management realm, on May 30 will launch a new version of its namesake software to compete with BSM Goliaths such as Mercury Interactive and BMC Software.
ProactiveNet 7.0 goes toe-to-toe with Mercurys products through a new, re-architected Web recorder and transaction playback function that integrates technology from Segue.
“We now have comprehensive synthetic end-user monitoring [for] SAP, PeopleSoft, Seibel, VMware, Citrix and .Net [applications],” said David Langlais, vice president of marketing for ProactiveNet, in Santa Clara, Calif.
The latest release of the software, which provides end-to-end application performance monitoring and analytics for pinpointing the source of hard-to-diagnose, intermittent problems, also improves on the user interface.
The new UI includes a revamped console for IT operations managers and a console designed for business managers who want to track service levels.
“The new UI is amazing [i]) the way they can do trees and hierarchies of devices,” said user Vince Hunt, executive vice president of engineering at Shop.com, in Monterey, Calif. “Now we can look at the cache servers as a group. When [the group or individual cache servers] are having trouble, well see that immediately. Its much easier for us to monitor our servers that way,” he said.
ProactiveNet uses hyperbolic tree display technology from Inxight to show either a tree metaphor for infrastructure elements in the operations console or a tree representation of SLAs (service-level agreements) and services in the business managers console.
Shop.com, which has used ProactiveNet for about four years to monitor and manage its e-commerce servers, has recently started to use the tool for SLA management.
“We use it for root cause analysis, but were now starting to integrate it with our Keynote [Systems] alerts. If we go over 2 seconds to download a page, it will send alerts to our marketing people so theyll know there is a potential impact on site performance,” Hunt said.
ProactiveNet added an SLA guidance wizard that helps users better define SLAs, Langlais said. “When you set up an SLA you can say, I need to know what the number will be when I have 98 percent performance compliance. We analyze all the data related to that and come back and tell you that its 8 seconds. Or conversely, you can say I need a response time value of 4 seconds. We analyze the data and say you will meet that 82 percent of the time, so now people can set realistic SLAs or know why the SLAs they are setting are unrealistic.”
Despite its small size, ProactiveNet competes well against bigger BSM players because it can be deployed faster and requires less administration of the tool itself, according to Langlais. The tool automatically learns what is normal for performance and it adjusts over time. “Many of our customers have less than one person maintaining our product in environments with hundreds or thousands of devices. Once deployed our product takes care of itself,” he said.
ProactiveNet, which can use data from management tools already in place, does not require setting thresholds. Users must indicate what attributes they want the monitors to track. Attributes could include the response time of a transaction, CPU utilization or available memory, for example. The product can track upwards of 30,000 or 40,000 attributes.
“ProactiveNets sweet spot is that its easy to install and doesnt rely on a lot of infrastructure that involves more consulting and difficult integrations,” said Julie Craig, senior analyst with Enterprise Management Associates in Boulder, Colo. Still, BMC and Mercury Interactive are adding similar functionality to their BSM products, making the space highly competitive, she said.
ProactiveNet Version 7.0 builds on its diagnostics functions with the ability to take a snapshot at the time that an abnormality occurs. “If [for example] CPU utilization goes abnormally high, we have detailed diagnostics that snapshots the CPU to see whats running at the time of the abnormality,” Langlais said.
Also new in version 7.0 is the ability to create JMX, Windows Management Instrumentation, and Windows Performance Counter monitors using ProactiveNet Monitor Wizards as well as a new generic JVM (Java virtual machine) monitor.
The release is available now, and typical deployments start at $35,000.