While you're looking, let's consider what is really needed.
Of course, application performance is the key to everything that matters. And yet network performance is where it all starts and stops. You can't have an optimally performing application without considering the network. It's like trying to drive a Ferrari Enzo on a dirt road full of potholes!
So at what point does application performance management include the network? Well, in my humble opinion, OpenView isn't going to be the answer. It may have some of the functionality that is needed, but the overhead for implementation obscures any value it might offer.
The key is to start from the application perspective. Network management systems don't have that. Alternatives to the classical NMS are described in the white paper "Network Performance Infrastructures: Not your father's NMS."
An effective NPI can be built on either a top-down or a bottom-up approach:
Pros: Very flexible, can be resolved by as few as one technologies or products, addresses the network directly, catches the majority of application performance issues, can isolate faults to specific hosts or mid-path devices, can see remote clients and end-stations, network path is identical to application
Cons: Limited view of an application's behaviors on a particular host, limited view on Layers 4-7 (i.e. host-specific issues such as disk I/O bottlenecks are not easily identified), passive-probing approaches can't scale to high-speed networks and often require hardware (active-probing has trouble scaling to 10G but is keeping up so far)
Pros: Host-specific and application-specific, view is identical to application w.r.t. packet behavior and Layers involved, new application types can be developed as needed
Cons: Cannot separate Layer 3/network from OS/application Layers, typically can't see specific path out to remote clients/end-station, doesn't adapt to new application types without development
So what do you do?
Look at the criteria of adequacy in the whitepaper and start shopping around the new offerings from various start-ups offering critical views on network and application performance. You won't find the answers coming from the same old sources.
I hope that helps. Let me know how you fare.
This was first published in April 2004