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October 14, 2010

Compuware promises soup-to-nuts app management

What's the science behind new appliance?

By Jason Stamper

Compuware announced what it is calling a Software as a Service (SaaS) application performance management (APM) offering that it claims offers visibility from the data centre right to the end user.

The system actually consists of an Intel-based hardware appliance running Red Hat Linux as well as Compuware’s Gomez First Mile monitoring technology that Compuware installs in a firm’s data centre.

But it calls it a SaaS-based system because apart from plugging in power and networking, all configuration, management and monitoring is done remotely by Compuware.

However Compuware’s Michael Allen, director of IT service management solutions (EMEA), told CBR that an appliance is not the only option: "We envisage that for some organisations, especially in government, they won’t be happy having another box in their data centre, in which case they can buy or rent Vantage software from us and manage and run it themselves."

In any event the firm claimed that what it is calling the new Gomez First Mile, together with Gomez outside-in monitoring, enables organisations to quickly assess the business impact of a problem and determine whether the cause of the problem resides in the data centre, on the Internet, with a third-party provider or with the user’s browser or device.

Tony Baer, senior analyst with Ovum, was impressed. "This is a game changing move in application performance management," he said. "Gomez First Mile is the first solution that unifies real-user and active monitoring to automatically correlate traffic volume, data centre, and end-user response time, providing instant visibility into how many users and page views are impacted by internal and external performance issues."

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Allen said that companies need this new approach to application performance management because more and more companies are reliant on web-based applications, and it’s tough for them to know whether performance problems are occurring at a service provider (in the cloud), as a result of Internet latency or due to some other factor in their own IT infrastructure.

"There are more and more composite applications and companies can now use our technology to measure application performance even if a component of one of those applications is hosted in the cloud," said Allen. "At the end of the day cloud is still just a data centre somewhere connected to the end of a network, and applications in the cloud need monitoring and managing from the first mile [the end user] to the last mile [the data centre]."

Compuware’s two performance management product lines, Vantage and Gomez, are said to be unified with a single operations dashboard. Asked whether there were plans to simply do away with the two lines, Vantage and Gomez, and simply call the technologies Compuware APM, Allen said: "The plan isn’t to get rid of Vantage or Gomez, though it is fair to say most customers will now see them both as Compuware APM. Who knows what will happen in the future."

Compuware announced the $295m acquisition of web application performance management player Gomez in October 2009, in order to complement its own in-house application monitoring tools it had branded under the Vantage umbrella. Listen to a CBR podcast with Mark Hillman, Compuware VP strategy and product line development and Imad Mouline, Gomez CTO, recorded just after the acquisition, to better understand the motivation for that deal here.

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