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Compuware Upgrades Vantage Ware

It's only been four months since Compuware launched the latest iteration of its application monitoring software -- Vantage 9 -- but officials released a point upgrade Monday to give IT managers a business perspective on the bandwidth consumed by a network.

The Detroit-based software company's Vantage 9.1 adds to the capabilities of 9.0 by drilling deeper into the application to see exactly which application component or protocol is hogging the enterprise's bandwidth -- and puts a dollar figure on the costs.

Take, for example, the corporate e-mail application. In version 9.0, the software monitor would tell the IT department only that Outlook was eating up 40 percent of the available bandwidth. With 9.1, IT can look at the individual components running the application and see that it's the Microsoft Exchange application that's actually causing the problems. This helps them solve the problem much faster.

Lloyd Bloom, a product manager at Compuware, said taking that application congestion and translating it into a reason for business-minded department heads to change their business processes is what sets this Vantage release apart from its predecessor.

"If I'm an IT guy talking to a business guy about reducing LAN bandwidth, you're going to be hard-pressed to understand why it is I should do that, and understand the cost implication of that," he told internetnews.com. "But if I can sit down with them and have a dialog based upon the business application and their cost as it's running down the wire, I might make them understand the implications."

Another distinguishing element in Vantage 9.1 is the best practices modeled into the code that deal with changing network environments, like migrating an operating system platform based on Windows over to Linux or consolidating servers in the wake of an acquisition. Compuware has modeled its code to take the best practices learned from existing customers and pass them along to new customers.

"When you change the infrastructure, it's hard to predict the impact on application performance, so you want to be very structured in how you go about making the changes," Bloom said.

Officials also pointed out the benefits of software that keeps tabs on the applications in use throughout the network, notably personal applications by employees that eat into critical business application use or the effect of a virus on a particular application.

Vantage 9.1 also ties into Compuware's strategy on services-oriented architectures (SOA), the latest buzzword among software and middleware providers these days. SOAs expand on (but aren't dependent upon) Web services capabilities by putting a network's applications and processes on one platform, each able to communicate with the other. Vantage fits under Compuware's SOA umbrella by giving IT managers an end-user perspective on the demands individual applications place on the network infrastructure.

Compuware last week unveiled its Uniface 8.4 toolset, featuring new functionality for letting companies build an SOA on their networks.