DynaTrace Targets Developers, Testers With Continuous App Management

DynaTrace Software, a closely held supplier of performance management software, this week upgraded its platform to allow developers to monitor, test and troubleshoot globally distributed SOA-based applications.

With its new dynaTrace 3 suite, which continuously monitors transactions throughout all layers of an application infrastructure, the company is now offering tooling specifically for application developers and testers. The core software runs on a common platform that monitors both Java and .NET applications and lets testers and developers track business-level transactions throughout the application lifecycle and determine at the code level the cause of existing or potential problems.

"We are able to catch each and every single transaction," said Alois Reitbauer, a senior architect at Linz, Austria-based dynaTrace. "Other solutions normally use statistical correlation values, so if the production environment has hundreds of transactions going through the environment, a lot of data has to be calculated and this creates overhead."

While developers can embed censors or agents within applications, the overhead issue is offset by having the transaction-level data continuously processed on the separate dynaTrace Server. By offloading the discovery and processing to a separate tier, "we can reduce overhead to just 3 to 5 percent in the production environment," Reitbauer said.

"[DynaTrace's] agents are injected into the JVM or CLR and they are running 24x7 recording data and watching things, so if we have an issue we will have forensics to help us to understand why we had an issue," said David Anderson, principal architect at Peopleclick, one of dynaTrace's earliest U.S. customers. Peopleclick offers a hosted employee recruiting service that started using the dynaTrace solution more than a year ago to track the performance of applications on its Web site, which can get 5 million page views on any given day.

The new dynaTrace 3 release is designed to let developers trace transactions across geographically distributed systems. The company said it can be used in large scalable virtualized server clusters for business-critical applications that require 24x7 uptime. The company is also open sourcing its Web services-based plug-in interfaces via the Open Gateway Services initiative (OGSi).

DynaTrace said it has made inroads in the U.S. market over the past year with customers such as Bank of America, Fidelity Investments, LinkedIn and Macy's. It has 100 customers but has seen rapid growth in recent quarters, the company said. But dynaTrace, which is backed by Bain Capital and Bay Partners, is a much smaller player than market leader CA, whose Wily Technology is used by more than 1,000 customers.

The company also finds itself going up against a number of well-known players, notably Oracle, which acquired ClearPath late last year, as well as Compuware, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Quest Software. There are a number of startups targeting application performance management, as well, including Precise Software Solutions (recently spun off from Symantec) and OpTier.

"Most of the vendors like CA Wiley and others manage at the application server tier," said Forrester Research analyst Jean-Pierre Garbani. "DynaTrace manages all the components of the application." It is safe to presume vendors such as CA and Oracle are moving in that same direction, Garbani added.

Before deciding on dynaTrace, Peopleclick had also considered the CA Wiley product and HP's Mercury Topaz. "What made them stand out was the true parity in both platforms -- it was the same product, the same UI and the same feature set," Anderson said. When passing data from JDBC or ADO calls, dynaTrace not only pulls SQL statements but the bind variables underneath them, Anderson added. "So you get the context of what data was actually being passed on to the SQL statement, whereas the other products either couldn't do that or required another product," he said.

The new release is being offered in three components: production, test and developer editions. The test center is now available and the other two editions are slated for release next month.

Pricing is based on the configuration but initial deals start anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 and larger installations are in the "mid-six figures," said Eric Senunas, dynaTrace's senior director of marketing.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of and news editor of Visual Studio Magazine.