Compuware Corp. is beefing up its data center-monitoring application to let enterprises more accurately pinpoint the root cause of application performance problems.
The upgrade to Data Center Real User Monitoring (DC RUM) adds and integrates automated network packet capture and analysis into monitoring features that already probe network, client and server behavior. By having access to this level of detail, network engineers and application developers can understand if application performance problems stem from the network or the application itself -- from the perspective of the application, the user and the transaction. Associated analytics span the breadth of the transaction, from the network TCP session to application logic, Compuware said.
(W)hen they are written in one environment but run in another, they don't always go the way that developers think they should.
Doug Botimer, Marketing Associates
"In the past, we've looked at application performance from the network to gather response-time performance information, but we weren't able to take you quickly from the context of the user transaction all the way down to the network packet capture," said Steve Tack, Compuware APM's senior vice president of product management. "So wherever we see a problem impacting a user, we want to be able to take you to the root cause, whether it's on the app side or on the network level of detail. Our goal was to allow network and application teams to collaborate so the network team, instead of looking at raw packet dumps, now has the context of the app and user transaction."
Application performance teams can then use the packet-level analysis to help them determine the root cause of any problem more quickly, Tack said.
Application performance problems quickly resolved at agency
Doug Botimer, technology solutions manager at Detroit-based Marketing Associates, said the upgraded DC RUM has streamlined the organization's application performance management (APM).
"It lets us capture all of our traffic and enables us to see what's going on at every tier of each application," he said. "That's particularly important for the third-party applications we host; when they are written in one environment but run in another, they don't always go the way developers think they should. This gives us a tool to look at these apps and determine where the bottlenecks are, why an app is slow, and whether it's an application issue, a hardware issue or something else."
The automated packet capture eliminates the need to go offline to diagnose root cause problems, Botimer said. DC RUM's integration with Compuware's Gomez website load testing application, meanwhile, lets Marketing Associates determine if substandard performance is coming from a certain region of the country.
APM evolves as demands shift
Now that it's armed with better performance data, Marketing Associates is now evaluating how it can share some of that information with its clients. "Our business clients are trusting us with their applications and data, and a good deal of their client base in some cases," Botimer said. "If a consumer is coming [to a Marketing Associates client's website] looking for information, well, they are coming to our data center and the performance is coming out of here. We need to be able to deliver what our client expects and we need to be able to show them that we are doing it."
Performance management platforms becoming more critical in the data center
Performance monitoring platforms that try to close the communications gap between network engineers and application developers are growing in popularity as the nature of information flowing through enterprise networks becomes more complex, said Gartner Inc. Research Vice President Jonah Kowall.
Traditional performance monitoring applications "target the network professional so they speak in the language that the network engineer is comfortable with," he said. "When you look at APM, there is a much broader audience out there who speak in application terms and not network terms. By making enhancements to network-based products that appeal to application developers and by not speaking in network terms as much, it helps enterprises with their root cause analysis of application issues that might occur from outside of the network."
The upgraded version of DC RUM is available now.