Compuware puts mainframe tools in one pot

Looks to fix problems within 'golden hour'.

Compuware has unified two of its performance management tools so that customers can monitor the performance of applications running on distributed servers right through to mainframe computers, from one place.

The two tools concerned are Compuware's mainframe performance management tool (Strobe) and its distributed systems performance management product (Vantage). These are established tools in their own right, which allow IT management to "predict, isolate and resolve performance challenges from the end-user perspective."

Both tools will still retain their individual names, but will from now be available under Compuware's 'Business Service Delivery' banner.

Business Service Delivery is the process by which Compuware is looking to focus on ensuring that applications work well and deliver value by optimising end-to-end application performance. It hopes that by "extending visibility across platforms, IT management can now quickly understand and even predict performance challenges across their entire operation, allowing effective deployment of internal resources and increasing business satisfaction with technology investments."

"Compuware has a long heritage on the mainframe, and Strobe is a premier solution on the mainframe for trouble shooting problems on that platform," boasted Michael Allen, director of IT service management solutions for EMEA at Compuware.

"A lot of our mainframe installations are now being front-ended by modern applications and technology," he added. "For example, a legacy banking system may reside on a mainframe, but there is an online system sitting in front of that." This is where Vantage comes in as it looks at end user monitoring, what people are doing, what performance they are achieving etc, he said.

Compuware said that it has unified these two products under one banner because of the continued market demand for integrating back-end mainframe applications with newer front-end technologies. "When combining legacy and modern aspects together, you need to trouble shoot faster than ever," said Allen.

He believes one of the noticeable trends at the moment is to be able to troubleshoot faster with less manpower, i.e. automate. Allen cited one customer, who 12 months ago before deploying Vantage, was treating 20 percent of 'severity one' performance-related incidents in just one hour (the so called 'golden hour'). Since deploying Vantage, the same customer is apparently dealing with 70 percent of 'severity one' performance related incidents within one hour, and is hoping to move that figure to 80 percent within the next 12 months.

Compuware says that its end-to-end view of application performance can quickly identify the problem area in the specific technology tier, allowing IT management to apply the right resources to fix the problem quickly. It does this thanks to its ability to provide deep dive analytics' that pinpoint exactly where the root cause of the problem lies. This, says Compuware, is at the heart of its speedy problem identification and resolution.

Allen admitted that the downturn was having a knock on effect on business, but he cited the healthy outlook for the EUE (end user experience) market predicted by analysts. "I predict the EUE market will grow 30 percent this year," he said. "What I am seeing, even in the downturn, is that the user experience is becoming more important."

"Companies simply cannot afford to lose any business in this downturn," he added. "There is a real focus on quality now. Talk to any CIO, and they will tell you that high profile outages are at the foremost of their mind," Allen said. "If you can solve 50 percent more problems in that golden hour, it will have massive impact on your customers."

According to Allen, the starting price for a comprehensive solution, with both software and services, is from US$225,198 fully deployed.

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Tom Jowitt

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