Compuware Tool Tackles J2EE Application Performance, Availability Issues

Compuware’s Vantage Analyzer lets customers identify and isolate J2EE performance problems—including troublesome memory leaks

If J2EE application performance problems have you down, application performance management specialist Compuware Corp. claims to have just the technology prescription for you.

This week, Compuware unveiled its Vantage Analyzer for J2EE, an extension to its Vantage suite of service management tools. Officials say the new product lets customers use Compuware Vantage to identify and isolate J2EE performance and availability problems. Analyzer is based on technology Compuware acquired from the former DevStream Corp. last October.

Lloyd Bloom, a Vantage product manager with Compuware, says the new Analyzer product fills a void in his company’s Vantage monitoring stack.

“The context of this is that Vantage is a very strong service management solution for a variety of applications and application platforms, and even without the addition of this new product, we’ve had terrific capabilities of understanding the performance of Web applications from the end-user perspective. But what we were looking to do is strengthen those capabilities and understand how these specifically operated at a very granular level.”

Analyzer provides detailed information about CPU, network, SQL, and memory performance, which customers can use to pinpoint potential performance problems, says Steve Dykstra, VantageView product manager with Compuware. Dykstra says that identifying and isolating application performance issues is particularly tricky in J2EE applications environments.

“The applications themselves are very sophisticated, although you can turn that around and say complicated, and as such, both from an infrastructure point of view and from a coding point of view, there’s a lot of moving parts—so it’s tricky to for the operation and administration to be smooth,” he confirms.

Dykstra claims that Analyzer makes for a fairly turnkey install, too. In some competing solutions, for example, developers must identify which applications classes they want to monitor; Analyzer monitors everything right out of the box, Dykstra says. At the same time, he notes, Analyzer imposes very little additional overhead on the systems it’s monitoring.

“It really does application-level J2EE monitoring, meaning that it’s monitoring at the code level, as opposed to server software or operating system level type of functionality,” he comments. “The thing that’s unique about the Vantage Analyzer for J2EE is that there’s great pains taken when it’s built to make it low-overhead. Because it’s low overhead, it can monitor not just a specific JSP, but also the overhead of your environment, so it’s watching all of the JSP calls. … It can give you some really valuable data at a workload level that can be used for analysis.”

Users can also configure Analyzer to prioritize different problems on the basis of potential business impact. This lets developers and support personnel immediately identify business-critical issues.

Thanks to Analyzer’s granularity, says Dykstra, operators can more easily ferret out and isolate problems once they’ve been identified. “We see not just every call to a JSP, but we can monitor the throughput to the JSP. We can also monitor not just response time, but CPU time: How much time does it spend being executed within the CPU?” he says. “We also monitor SQL performance, so we hear from a lot of customers who say that they think their SQL is slow, but they don’t have any way to measure performance.”

Another potential scenario, says Dykstra, involves troubleshooting a problem once it’s been identified. “Let’s say you were having a long response time on a particular JSP. You could drill down into that, you could find where the CPU bottleneck is in the code, where it’s waiting on other servers in the code. Stuff like that.”

Memory leaks are ubiquitous in almost all J2EE application environments, says Bloom, but customers can tap Analyzer to help ferret out these issues as well. “We have a switch in the product that will monitor the allocations and the de-allocations of memory that are occurring, and watch for memory that’s not being de-allocated,” he explains.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.