Root-Cause Analysis Needed in Management Tools

Eric Jones, senior network engineer at VF Corp. in Greensboro, N.C., says applying quick fixes to a Web performance problem isn't a real solution. What's critical is root-cause analysis, he says.

And according to Jean Pierre Garbani, an analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., Web managers have far better root-cause analysis tools at their command today than they did just a few years ago.

But with the necessary integration of Web sites into back-end databases and legacy applications, diagnosing the true source of a performance glitch will remain a big problem for most companies, Garbani says. That's because information from point products that monitor a Web infrastructure isn't being correlated with data from management frameworks, such as Computer Associates International Inc.'s Unicenter or IBM's Tivoli.

But it will be, he predicts. As some companies phase out old CICS transaction applications with programs based on Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE), the need to know how they are performing is being kicked up to the highest levels inside IT shops. And the top executives at these companies are conveying their concerns to vendors.

As a result, Garbani says, BMC Software Inc., CA, Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM "are all gearing up to put some muscle behind Web site management." He notes that HP will soon offer J2EE and .Net application monitoring in OpenView. And that's just a start, he says.

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