BMC Rolls Out Patrol for Diagnostic Management

When networks fail, administrators' greatest frustrations come from determining what problems need to be corrected. Drill down tools can help, but only if administrators know where to start looking.

BMC Software Inc. (www.bmc.com) added a new management package to its Patrol 2000 suite of network monitoring software. The software adds a new twist to the usual drill down tool: automated drill downs.

Patrol for Diagnostic Management automates the detection of system failures, reducing the time between failure and correction. When problems occur on the network, the plug-in solution isolates the root causes of the issue, allowing administrators to focus on correcting the problem, rather than engage in hit-or-miss diagnosis.

"The ability to do this in real time is dumbfounding," says David Wagner, director of product marketing at BMC. Wagner also points to Patrol for Diagnostic Management’s use in large network changes. If administrators expect significant changes in the computing environment, such as the addition of new applications or users, Diagnostic Management can pinpoint what systems are liable to fail.

Patrick Dryden, senior analyst at Giga Information Group Inc. (www.gigaweb.com), says that unlike framework-type monitoring systems, "Patrol is a little bit more focused on applications." Patrol is interested in application performance or how applications impact the network. The framework systems concentrate on machine performance.

"It specifically addresses the needs of IS organizations that need to automate their functions," says Tim Grieser, research director at IDC (www.idc.com). Grieser says the automated drill-downs can aid professionals in learning new networks, as well as speed up management.

If an organization makes a dramatic addition of users to an Exchange server, for example, Patrol for Diagnostic Management can tell whether or not the server will crash. "This really obviates a lot of these issues," BMC's Wagner says.

Patrol for Diagnostic Management relies on agents residing on host machines to send information to the central monitoring machine. The central monitor uses a variety of analysis tools to gauge the performance of the system. "It takes information from a lot of different sources and determines causes," Giga's Dryden says.

Once the information is collected, users can tap Patrol for Diagnostic Management’s data aggregation, statistical analysis, and analytical modeling algorithms for detailed views of performance. "We’re applying a lot of intelligence to understand business needs," Wagner says.

An often overlooked area of business that Patrol for Diagnostic Management focuses on is the end-user desktop. Patrol for Diagnostic Management offers agents for desktops to test user experience, which is particularly valuable for e-businesses. "The idea is that people can measure the response time," Dryden says.

Patrol for Diagnostic Management exploits technologies BMC gained from its recent acquisition of Evity Inc. (www.evity.com). Evity provides modeling of extranets and sites for e-business users; real-life, end-to-end, latency data, and simulations of end-user behavior and work conditions, allowing any administrator access to this data. Latency data is vital for retailers or business-to-business organizations that can lose customers due to poor network performance.

All components of Patrol 2000 are certified for Windows 2000, and integrate with the Windows Management Interface (WMI).