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July 23, 2009

Poor application performance tools hurting business

Application performance issues getting more complex

By CBR Staff Writer

Lack of effective root-cause analysis tools that pinpoint and diagnose application performance issues is leaving some IT shops held responsible for creating problems that have a high impact on their organisations.

Although some companies have invested in application performance analysis software to tackle the issue, some of the tools cannot deal with the level of application complexity that stems from use of latest technologies such as virtualisation and service-oriented architectures, a latest survey has suggested.

New approaches to APM are needed that help enterprises deal with the unique challenges presented by frameworks, cloud computing and other complex application architectures, the company behind the study said.

Roger Andrews EMEA VP at DynaTrace told us, “APM tools were borne out the need to manage Java and .Net applications, which was beyond the reach of traditional existing systems management software approaches.” He explained that although APM products produced by Wily Technologies, Mercury Interactive, Precise Software and the like were highly successful, the level of innovation in the market basically ground to a near halt after a spate of high-profile acquisitions in 2005 and 2006.

“The game has moved on considerably since,” he said. The rapid pace of change in application technologies and development processes is rendering these older generations of APM tools increasingly obsolete.

The company offers APM tools that are tailored to the needs of development, test and production and which generate so-called PurePath data. Effectively the system uses transaction tracing technology which follows and captures individual transactions down to the code level across different tiers and technologies to provide software engineers or any other interested party with root cause diagnostic information.

The company has added dashboard technology, which allows views to be built to present the PurePath data in a way that makes sense for the person reviewing it. For a developer that might be a view of an SQL statement, whereas someone in operations might want to see response times or memory allocation or usage.

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“Using PurePath we can capture all the environmental details and trace an application transaction all the way through, from start to finish” Andreas Grabner, Technology Strategist at dynaTrace explained. “Up to 40% of a developer’s time can be spent on fixes, and by recording and capturing information in real-time, rather than having to reproduce a problem in a test environment, our software can reduce the mean time to fix by up to 90%,” he claimed.

In an average project, DynaTrace reckons that nearly half of the organisations it surveyed are spending at least 20% or more of their time replicating and fixing application performance and availability issues.

The company also found that nearly one-third of performance issues are found in production, where they are not only more expensive to fix but have the greatest business impact.

Research has shown that issues found later in the lifecycle are anywhere between 10 times and 100 times more expensive to resolve than those found in development.

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