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Watchdogs keep short leash on Web services performance issues

Actional Corp.'s new watchdog feature in its Web services management server takes a bite out of service degradation.

Actional Corp., Mountain View, Calif., announced today an addition to its Actional Looking Glass Server called Web services watchdogs that monitor the end-to-end availability and performance of a Web service.

The watchdogs alert enterprises using Web services to potential service failures by automatically checking its availability and performance.

As more enterprises implement Web services, management is becoming a higher-profile issue for IT directors, said Jasmine Noel, principal analyst, Ptak, Noel & Associates, in a statement.

"Web services applications are coming of age and are proliferating throughout the organization as a result. While the highly distributed, interconnected nature of service-oriented environments enhances business agility, the amount of unforeseen availability and performance glitches will increase," said Noel. "Monitoring end-user availability and performance of a service-oriented environment is absolutely critical for the enterprise to truly capitalize on its new agility. Actional is taking Web services management to a new level with their new watchdog tools that proactively monitor Web services from a customer perspective."

The watchdog feature interoperates with Actional's policy and service stabilizer and creates transactions that ping each service, determining its availability, even if a service is not in use at the time. They can also measure service performance from a user's point of view against service level agreements to ensure acceptable response times.

Should services become unavailable, or a performance issue arises, administrators are alerted. The feature can also be tied to policy crafted within the Looking Glass Server. Should a service degrade here, pre-defined workarounds are automatically employed until the problem is solved.

The watchdog feature is included in Actional Looking Glass and is available for .NET. A J2EE version is due in the second quarter.

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