Precise pushes correlation solution forward

Due to the proliferation of Web-based applications and the rising sophistication of GUIs, application environments are getting more complex. The more complex they get, the harder they are to manage and the tougher it is to find the cause of a problem. A Web-based environment handling tens of thousands of current users at a peak time, or millions of current users, as in the case of Amazon, demands an incredibly complex infrastructure -- one having perhaps as many as seven tiers of technology.

And the more tiers there are, the more time it takes to resolve a performance problem. From the time a troubleticket is pulled, the average time to accomplish that is 25.8 hours, according to a new study by Newport Group Inc. (, a South Yarmouth, Mass.-based research firm. ''The more tiers, the more tears,'' noted Andrew Bird, vice president of marketing at Precise Software Solutions (, a Westwood, Mass., maker of software that manages application performance.

But Bird claims that Version 6.0 of the Precise i3 performance management solution can reduce that resolution time to mere minutes. The software achieves this breakthrough by using a combination of proprietary technologies. First, its detection technology measures (rather than simulates) real performance metrics and production data. When it detects a deviation from the norm, such as an increase in user response time (long before the user sees it), it knows something is amiss.

Next, Total Correlation technology is said to allow the application manager to view the transaction as it moves through the tiers of the application infrastructure, seeing how long it spends on the database servers, Web servers and application server. Total Correlation then guides the manager down to the root cause of the application slowdown -- be it the SQL statements, the EJB or the Java server -- in about seven mouseclicks, said Bird.

But finding the performance problem is only half the challenge. Rapidly choosing the correct solution is the other part. The software's SmarTune expert system then furnishes an automatic interpretation of the problem and provides expert tuning advice to remedy it.

According to Bird, there's no one most-common root cause of application slowdown. But, he notes, ''the logical problems are the hardest ones to find.'' One trend he sees these days is that significant performance issues often arise in the area of deploying Java applications, particularly if scaling is involved. This, he said, is ''because Java deployment is moving so quickly, the QA element gets compressed. When a Java application goes into production and you push it out to 200 concurrent users, new issues always crop up.''

Pricing for Precise i3 Version 6.0 depends on the configuration of the system and the capacity of the server, according to a company spokesperson.


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