JDE boosts internal testing process

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 line.

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.

About the Author

Colleen Frye is a freelance writer based in Bridgewater, Mass.


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