EcoSystems to provide Service-level Management

Compuware Corp. (Farmington Hills, Mich., announced a new version of its EcoSystems suite, with new features designed to provide both system administrators and end users with more information about the quality of service being provided by networked applications.

While the previous version of EcoSystems monitored applications and helped manage them, the new version will provide access to additional data about the availability and performance of those applications. For example, users will have access to reports that show percentage uptime for monitored applications, including SAP, Lotus Notes and several Microsoft applications, and the reasons for any downtime. "We think it’s sort of the next evolution up from application management," says Ron Gleason, director of strategies for Compuware.

The primary difference, Gleason explains, lies in how the data is presented. While application management software provides data to the IT organization, EcoSystems combines this data with business rules and presents it in a way that is designed to be comprehensible to end users.

The business rules can help automate some application management tasks. For example, a rule could be put in effect stating that if the server’s CPU load is above 80 percent and there are more than 200 users connected to the Web server and there are more than 50 messages per second coming in through Exchange, then a message should be sent to the system administrator via pager or e-mail.

The product includes wizards that help users create these business rules without any scripting, Gleason says. "Most people who are managing NT environments are not programmers, so we’ve taken the need to write any type of scripts out of the picture," he explains.

Companies are clamoring for this type of service-level management software, according to Philip Mendoza, a research analyst for International Data Corp. (Framingham, Mass.) "IT departments right now don’t have a good way to measure how good [is the] service they’re providing to users," Mendoza says. "Compuware is pretty well-positioned to provide this kind of measurement because they have network, systems, server and database monitoring tools to help measure how available those systems are."

EcoSystems can also help companies accurately project the total cost of ownership for applications and can help them recoup the huge opportunity cost currently being lost to application management. "When you get down to it, a lot of users and people are expending a lot of money today to manage applications," Gleason says.

The suite, which will ship in October, will include EcoTools 6, EcoScope 3.7 and EcoSnap 2. It will also include Compuware’s QACenter product, which allows system administrators to test a particular network configuration for availability and performance before an application is deployed. "While the management tools are great, our whole philosophy is to help the user prevent the problems before they get into production," Gleason says.