jClarity Releases Illuminate APM Tool for Java/JVM

U.K.-based startup jClarity has officially entered the crowded app performance monitoring space with the gold release this week of its flagship product, Illuminate.

Three years in the making, Illuminate is a performance diagnostic engine SaaS for Java- and JVM-based applications.

What makes this tool stand out in the teeming APM market, says jClarity CEO Martijn Verburg, is the way it combines machine learning techniques with a performance tuning methodology developed by one of the company's founders to detect the causes of performance problems and return resolution recommendations rather than just metrics.

"Today, it's all about reporting metrics," Verburg told ADTmag. "That's the state of the art. But we wanted to see real analysis and recommendations done in an automated and massively scalable fashion. Our goal, ultimately, is to make the application performance space a solved problem in five years. We want it to become something that people no longer even talk about."

Illuminate allows developers, operations staff, and testers to set Service Level Agreements (SLAs) to trigger a diagnosis, Verburg explained. And it uses machine learning and fuzzy logic to change decisions on the fly.

"It's definitely not an if/then/else type of decision tree," he said, "which we tried very early on, but then threw away very quickly. A production environment is a constantly changing, dynamic environment, and you simply cannot apply simple, static rules into it."

Illuminate sifts through the interactions among hardware, operating systems and the JVM to detect the root cause of a performance problem in the app. (Things like underlying OS issues, high disk activity, memory/Garbage Collection issues, deadlocks and other threading issues, threads that are waiting on other systems to respond, and code that isn't able to run in parallel.) It then delivers a report with a recommended resolution. The tool's "light touch" makes it possible to use it on a running system. Verburg says the product's algorithm works on hosts in small, virtualized environments to "big iron."

The methodology the tool employs is based on the performance tuning work of Kirk Pepperdine, who co-founded the company in 2012 with Verburg and Ben Evans. Pepperdine had been teaching and using the methodology, which contains "a fair degree of fuzziness and uncertainly," Verburg said, for some time. Verburg is co-leader of the London Java Users Group; Evans is an organizer for the London JUG and a member of the Java SE/EE Executive Committee. Verburg and Evans are co-authors of "The Well-Grounded Developer," which looks at Java 7 and polyglot programming. All three are recognized Java Champions. Java, which continues to dominate in the enterprise, was the logical focus of new company. The company went to market initially in 2013 with Censum, a Java Garbage Collection log analyzer.

"Java is our expertise and our passion," Verburg said. "And frankly, it's where the money is."

Illuminate, which is a Software-as-a-Service offering, is available now. The company is offering a 14-day free trial.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].