JDE boosts internal testing process
- By Colleen Frye
Enterprise applications vendor J.D. Edwards is putting a new twist on
application performance management by working to optimize an application while
it's in development rather than in a production environment.
The tool JDE chose for this approach is Precise/Indepth for WebSphere from
Precise Software Solutions, Westwood, Mass.''We're using Precise/Indepth
proactively during the development process to develop better code and solutions,
for either problematic areas or a new area,'' said Mike Jackson, director of
platform technologies at Denver-based JDE. ''And release to release we do stress
testing, trending, load testing, and we will roll out the Precise tool as part
of that.'' Jackson said JDE turned to Precise because ''we were having a problem
analyzing performance on Web-based Java applications.'' With a J2EE application
server, ''there's another layer between you and performance. It used to be that
an application sat on the OS; you now have a layer between you and OS. Precise
is able to help us translate that layer.'' JDE is using Precise/Indepth for J.D.
Edwards 5, its fifth-generation of solutions, as well as the older OneWorld
The Indepth product is one of three components in Precise's i3 solution,
which runs on a variety of platforms and databases. ''Indepth answers why a
problem happened,'' said Tom Mulvehill, Precise J2EE product manager. ''With
Indepth for WebSphere, we drill down to the WebSphere application server to
isolate and highlight where the performance bottlenecks are.''
What's unique about JDE's use of Indepth, Mulvehill said, is that they're
using the tool to optimize performance prior to implementing an application at a
customer site. ''They are being proactive in developing solutions.''
Mulvehill said i3 components have more typically been used in a production
environment. For corporate IT, ''the introduction of J2EE to the middle tier
introduces new challenges,'' he said. ''For instance, applications run inside a
Java virtual machine and it's difficult to gain visibility into the application.
We'll give you all the detailed information from all methods inside a Java-based
application. Another challenge is a tradeoff between obtrusiveness and
performance. It's true that a number of probes and debugging tools can be used
in development, but those solutions introduce too much overhead in QA or a
production environment. We're optimized for a QA environment under load and a
production environment; we introduce very little overhead. That's one thing JDE
was attracted to.''
According to Jackson, ''What we found with Precise that was different from
most other tools is it's noninvasive; it doesn't impact performance. Precise has
the ability to dig into some of our Java code and show us where we're spending
our time and still scale up. With other products, you could do that with one
user, but you couldn't scale up with multiple users.''
When JDE was evaluating Precise/Indepth, Jackson said they did some initial
work with the tool on a ''large HTML rearchitecture of our Web client,'' then
did the follow-on work after choosing Indepth. ''We found things we couldn't
find any other way,'' said Jackson. ''Don't tell our competitors [about
Precise],'' he joked.
Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.