Monitoring tools emerge for .NET

Maintaining that ''the lack of adequate monitoring and management tools has delayed the promise of Web services,'' Confluent Software Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif., has announced plans to release ''Interceptor'' technology for Microsoft .NET.

The Interceptor technology, developed with help from Microsoft, is designed to replace the traditional intermediary model for management and speed up transactional Web services, said James Hogan, Confluent vice president.

''For transactional applications, when you do intermediary monitoring, you impose in-process latency on the transaction and oftentimes that can be unacceptable from a customer point of view,'' he said. The tool, dubbed ''Interceptor'' during development, is described by Hogan as ''an agent's model where we deploy a piece of our instrumentation and management capabilities out at the end-points of a composite application or distributed application.''

The intermediary model checks the Web services application a step at a time as each component is invoked, adding latency, Hogan explained.

''In a more traditional intermediary model, you basically have a proxy sitting there and functioning as an intermediary,'' he said. Adding full monitoring steps in a transactional application can cause latency problems, he said.

''To the human it's not a big deal, but in terms of a networked application, a Web services network, it can be substantial,'' Hogan said. The latency impact can be mitigated by adding servers and increasing bandwidth; but the Interceptor model is a more cost-effective way to deal with the problem, he argued.

''The Interceptor intercepts or acts as an agent and keeps track of how the distributed application is performing based on whatever policies you set up around it and how you are monitoring,'' said Hogan. ''It does that without imposing additional steps in the process, and reports back out of process, so it solves the latency problem very cleanly.''

The Interceptor technology is part of Confluent's CORE toolset for Microsoft .NET, slated to ship during the first quarter of 2003, Hogan said.

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Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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