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  1. Technology
January 19, 2009

Service desk agents need agent-based tools

IT shops stand accused of doing too little too late when it comes to stopping application failures from triggering situations that can lead to actual losses in revenue.

By Jason Stamper

Despite the fairly widespread deployment of user experience monitoring tools by IT mangers, almost two-thirds of those contacted for a latest study accept that some specific application problems are commonly left undiscovered, until someone reports them to the IT service desk

In a study commissioned by Compuware Corp, Forrester Consulting polled 389 global technology decision-makers about application performance management in a bid to assess the effectiveness of their processes and the technologies they employ.

The majority of these respondents reportedly have service level agreements (SLAs) with their users but admit that they meet these expectations less than 75% of the time.

According to Compuware, complexity is getting in the way of controls. Monitoring the behaviour of applications from end to end calls for tools that can roll up transaction activity across all levels of the application infrastructure to give actionable root cause alerts to service agents.

“There is an increasing complexity of end users, inside and outside the enterprise, running their applications from different devices, over different networks which monitoring systems cannot capture in a consolidated manner. This complexity challenge is likely to accelerate in the future with applications based on services oriented architectures and virtualisation technologies.”

Forrester reasons the need for a new phase of agent-based service management, that is more focused on quality of service around business applications.

Active software agents can be used to emulate an end user by sending a fake transaction at predefined intervals, while desktop, server, or appliance-based passive agents would sit in the network and listen to real transactions. Compuware sells such tools, as do BMC Software, HP and CA

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Their aim is to discover a pending performance issue before a user does, and before it can cause a serious business problem.

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