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Getting Wily about Web services performance problems

Service-oriented architecture is creating a new breed of applications that will require a new breed of tools to monitor them. Wily technology has plunged into that arena, releasing what it believes is an SOA-grade monitoring tool set.

In a spate of recent announcements, Wily Technology Inc. laid out its expansion plans to move beyond the company's application performance management and Java heritage into a service-oriented architecture support model.

The Brisbane, Calif.-based company announced the availability of its new Wily Web Services Manager (WSM) product, which comes close on the heels of its acquisition of customer experience management vendor Timestock Inc. The new Wily Customer Experience Manager monitors customer-facing applications, both custom and packaged, including those built on Java, .NET, mainframe or other technologies.

We're fearful for the client base in that they don't fully understand the complexity they're getting into.
Andrew Wittman
Vice President of Marketing and CommunicationsWily Technology Inc.

"With the Timestock acquisition and Web Services Manager and the [WIN] ecosystem, we're putting together an end-to-end transactional view to do deep diagnosis at any point," said Andrew Wittman, Wily vice president of marketing and communications.

"With the advent of service-oriented architecture, more people are using services as an integration technology. This introduces a new level of complexity. We're fearful for the client base in that they don't fully understand the complexity they're getting into. We have a solution to correct and manage problems they aren't even aware they'll have yet. We have a vision around SOA to be one step ahead of the client base."

In expanding from Java applications management to include Web services management, Wily is "following its customers," said Bernd Harzog, CEO of Applications Performance Management Experts. "[Customers] are taking J2EE [Java 2 Platform Edition] and using it to build service-oriented applications; i.e., Web services. They're saying to Wily, 'We're making this ever-more complicated. We want you to monitor those complications.'"

In terms of competitive offerings, Harzog said IBM, for example, with its Tivoli products and acquisition of J2EE application management vendor Cyanea Inc. in 2004, "looks on a PowerPoint slide to be competitive to what Wily has. But Wily has built this layered cake one layer at a time, and all the layers talk to each other."

The new WSM utilizes Wily's Introscope product and provides transaction-level visibility into Web services, Web applications and connected back-end systems. Features include preemptive real-time failure alerts, deep problem diagnosis on SOAP messages that experience problems, service-level agreement reporting, application dependency mapping, preconfigured dashboards, automatic instrumentation and the ability to trace transactions through applications to identify Web service performance bottlenecks.

"WSM was built on native Introscope code base," Wittman said. Wily clients were able to manage Web services components previously to the WSM product extension, but he said "they were doing it in a customized way."

"This puts the genius in the box," he said. "It takes the best practices we learned. You're able to track availability, performance, response time and any throughput errors and, uniquely, give proactive alerts on problems with Web services with connections with all the back-end dependencies. We're good at understanding those connections and we monitor those back ends quite deeply. We have the ability to delve into transactions, record 24/7 data and save it for playback, diagnosis and continuous improvement."

Wittman said there is some overlap with Wily WSM and what Web services management specialists like AmberPoint provide, but for the most part he said they are complementary. "We briefed AmberPoint in advance on Web Services Manager; they saw it as a complement to what they're doing. AmberPoint can tell you something is wrong; we can tell you specifically what is wrong, what needs to be fixed, and the interdependencies of the problem and how it affects the back-end system."

For more information

Read about AmberPoint's SOA validation system

Learn about how the move to SOA prompts management needs

The AmberPoint partnership "rose from current customers," said Anjan Mitra, AmberPoint's senior product manager. "We met with some pretty large customers using both solutions. They were telling us about what the other solution didn't do for them, and how are we going to solve the problem of automatic visibility from one layer to next. Crossing that boundary from the message interface level to the application level is not an easy thing to do."

What AmberPoint does well, Mitra said, is "runtime governance and management across services. Those services run in their own application containers. We manage from a business exception standpoint, managing SOA across services, doing analysis, validating services. We don't have much visibility into the container; we don't understand from the container to the back-end system what that looks like. That's what Wily does well."

Wily's move to Web services "says a lot of good things for Web services," Harzog said. "If you make a business bet that you can process these revenue-based transactions, you better be able to manage them."

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