Symphoniq and F5 Offer User Monitoring Solution

Palo Alto-based Symphoniq Corp. has teamed with Seattle-based F5 to address application delivery problems on the client side -- something that may not be well tracked by network administrators. Under a partnership deal, Symphoniq's TrueView Express client monitoring solution has been incorporated into F5's BIG-IP application delivery controller solution.

The combined solution helps meet the network monitoring needs of application service providers of all stripes. It enables client-side monitoring for operators using Web services or delivering applications via service-oriented architectures (SOAs). Such networks may track problems on the server side, but neglect monitoring end user bottlenecks. These architectures may lack the ability to conduct real-time transaction monitoring on the client side.

Symphoniq's TrueView Express adds the ability to track the end user experience at the browser level and resolve problems. It can help resolve problems when service delivery is mission critical, such as might be the case with enterprises using hosted customer relationship management solutions.

With software as a service (SaaS)-delivered applications, crucial uptime is measured by service level agreements. However, measuring service levels from the back end of the network doesn't address all potential problems, according to Hon Wong, Symphoniq's CEO.

"If you contract with a SaaS vendor, they'll say that 'the service level agreement I can promise is five nines on my server.' However, in reality, with the complexity of the Web -- part of that Web infrastructure they don't even control -- being five nines doesn't mean anything," Wong explained.

To measure performance on the client side, the Symphoniq product uses dynamic injection technology. It uses the F5 application delivery controller or the Web server to do the injection.

Dynamic injection happens on every session and adds four lines of HTML that is incorporated into the page that the Web site sends out to the end user, Wong said. The HTML will draw down a 13k JavaScript, which will have the ability to measure performance, such as page load time, time to first byte, parsing time, network latency and error rates. That information is then sent to the data collector that sits inside the firewall of the customer.

A diagnostic part of the Symphoniq-F5 solution can track and trace problems all of the way back from the browser. It shows the transaction path of the ill-performing application, Wong explained.

Wong and his cofounders have seen the need to have distributed management solutions in place over the years, founding various companies to address the issue. By 2003, with a more stable Web infrastructure in place, and the use of innovations such as SOA, SaaS, AJAX and Flash, it was clear that the old way of handling the network based on the server, on a siloed approach, was no longer valid.

The idea was to bring the monitoring and management directly to the end user's browser. Symphoniq's solution can then track the problem back from the browser so that IT staff can quickly resolve the issue.

Symphoniq is a Gold Partner with Microsoft and worked with Redmond early on to supply the initial technology that built the Microsoft Operational Manager
Product, Wong said.

"So our product lets you deep drill down into the .NET and J2EE stack," he added.

TrueView Express is currently available for F5's Big-IP, priced at $4,995. The lightweight solution is available for a free seven-day trial from Symphoniq's Web site.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.