In-Depth

AdventNet pursues more manageable Java

Too often, developers lack the time to build management functionality into applications being rushed into production. It is a costly omission: Problems found in QA and testing, not to mention development, are easier to diagnose and repair than those found in production. Furthermore, developers freed from tracing and debugging faults can spend more time developing applications.

Java Management Extensions (JMX) are gaining attention from development teams seeking to add more manageability to Java-based application servers. By using familiar Java semantics, JMX offloads much of the burden application developers have in trying to understand the minutia of management technology. JMX implements a form of SNMP agent familiar to longtime network system managers.

Now AdventNet Inc., a Pleasanton, Calif., provider of J2EE management solutions, is seeking to further the JMX cause by introducing a software framework that allows developers to better customize the management of their apps.

''Most developers don't want to deal with instrumentation until after the application has been deployed,'' said Giri Giridharan, vice president of product marketing at AdventNet. ''A developer would rather spend time developing applications than reading about manageability. We're doing the heavy lifting for them.''

In the past, the process of exposing the application attributes, such as response time or the functions to be managed, required time, effort and knowledge. ManageEngine Suite 5 allows developers to graphically pick attributes to monitor and measure, creating rules that set off alerts that mark kinks in the system. These attributes are represented as EJB components.

''For the 80% of the cases where developers need to expose management of their application, our tool generates the SNMP needed to manage the application,'' said Tony Thomas, CTO at AdventNet. ''They just point on the screen at what needs to be exposed. Our philosophy is that management is only as good as the information exposed.''

According to Thomas, leading management software vendors, like BMC, address the problem of infrastructure management by giving customers a console. But such products are said to provide limited visibility into the application itself. ''These tools provide a good solution for managing the application server, but not for managing the application built on top of the server because a lot of the management you need is particular to your app.''

According to the firm's Giridharan, the big challenge for AdventNet is getting developers who have come to view management as a difficult task to take a second look and see how much easier things have become.

Pricing for ManageEngine Suite 5 is on a per-server basis; the instrumentation development tool costs about $1,000 per server, said Giridharan.

See the related story, ''Manage Java apps for premium performance,'' by Peter Bochner.

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