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Compuware Launches APM for Mainframes

They're not in the headlines much these days, but mainframes are still an enterprise mainstay. And yet, says Gartner analyst Jonah Kowall, managing the software that runs on big iron continues to present one of IT's trickier management challenges.

"As applications mature in order to be delivered on mobile, tablet, and new interfaces, many businesses still rely on tried and true mainframe processing for those transactions," Kowall said in a statement.

"Triage and trace of transactions across these discrete tiers is a complex problem to solve," he continued, "which is not helped by separate organizations, monitoring and other tooling ownership between these IT towers. This makes it difficult to determine the impact these transactions have on mainframe resource and application performance."

Compuware Corporation on Tuesday unveiled a new solution for that problem. The Detroit-based provider of application performance management (APM) solutions has combined its dynaTrace, PurePath and Strobe products to form Compuware APM for Mainframe, which provides deep transaction management "from the edge through the mainframe."

Compuware's dynaTrace on-premise suite of performance optimizing technologies was part of last year's acquisition of DynaTrace Software. The company's PurePath Technology provides an in-depth view of application behavior, as the company says, "from user click, across all tiers, to the database and back again." Strobe is the company's mainframe performance analysis solution.

Compuware is offering two versions of the solution: one that utilizes PurePath for z/OS, which supports mainframe CICS applications; and one that relies on PurePath for z/OS Java, which supports mainframe Java apps. Both use the PurePath technology to discover, map, and monitor all transactions automatically through distributed tier and mainframe apps with complete steps and timings.

In this release, Compuware is also touting: zero-configuration instrumentation, a feature that delivers automatic discovery, transaction mapping and "out-of-the-box dashboards for 100 percent deep visibility into mainframe transactions, with no code changes required;" one-click Hotspot analysis, which provides "faster mean-time-to-resolve (MTTR) with one-click hotspot analysis of mainframe applications," including long-running and highly distributed jobs; and one-click Strobe measurement requests, which provides reporting and analysis for profiling mainframe WebSphere Application Server, WebSphere MQ, Message Broker, Enterprise Service Bus, CICS, IMS, Batch, DB2, CTG, JMS, Web Services, and Cobol, PL/I.

APM tools monitor and manage the performance of applications, alerting IT staff in real time to availability disruptions and end user quality issues. Leading products in this category also notice trends and/or early warning signs of imminent trouble and provide automatic resolutions. Compuware is listed among the leaders in this market in Gartner's "magic quadrant." Also listed are IBM, BMC software, CA Technologies, New Relic, AppDynamics, Opnet Technologies.

In January, Compuware teamed with research and analysis firm Quocirca to survey 500 IT executives from organizations in the US, UK, Germany, and France about APM "problems and challenges facing IT executives." APM ranked as a top priority among the IT execs surveyed. Nearly 75 percent said their APM systems "should provide value across the application lifecycle in order to optimize performance of key transactions, reduce release cycle times, and improve the code being delivered to production." And 80 percent said their app monitoring systems should be more proactive to accelerate problem resolution and improve user experience.

John Van Siclen, general manager of Compuware's APM business unit, says he instigated the survey because he felt intuitively that something was changing in the APM market.

 "It felt like APM was moving from an IT tactical toolset for monitoring applications to something more strategic," Van Siclen told ADTmag in an earlier interview. "I seemed to be hearing a lot of executives talking about how they were going to manage the complexity that's exploding in the datacenter in the cloud and at the edge of the network. We wanted to see what the feeling actually was at the ‘C' level. What we found was that this is no longer tactical stuff deep in IT. APM is now seen as a system that needs to be layered in, not just in production, but also in Test and Dev."

"It's pretty clear now," he added, "that people all the way up to the C suite understand that the apps are driving their business and they need to take care of them."

Posted by John K. Waters on October 10, 2012