Compuware Angles for IT (ad)Vantage

Compuware officials are about to debut the latest
version of the software productivity company’s application performance monitoring software Monday, featuring management-level analytics to inform IT managers of network
and application problems.

Vantage 9 is the flagship software offering for the Detroit-based
performance management and services developer. The software went
public in Europe earlier this week.

The latest iteration of the software adds another level of capabilities
to its three existing components — ClientVantage, ServerVantage and
NetworkVantage — that monitor a company’s applications, servers and network.

John Williams, Compuware’s Vantage launch director, said it takes
analytics beyond the individual components and lets IT departments
determine the root cause for an application, or network, failure at the
end-user level.

Giving managers the tools to monitor the corporate intranet has become
a
hot spot for software developers today, said Dana Gardner, an analyst
at
the Yankee Group, and an untapped area for optimization.

“The whole idea of improving the management of application lifecycle is
a hot area for the next couple years,” he said. “Cutting the bottom
line and improving the quality of the service, these two goals that the
buyers have are starting to be addressed by the vendors.”

Compuware’s goal, Williams said, is to help IT departments find the
problems on the network before anyone else in the company finds them.
He points to a Giga Research report that shows that 50 percent of
end-user problems were not detected by the IT staff using
infrastructure
monitoring software; the report further showed that IT only became aware of
the problem through a help desk call, and that it took five or six more
calls to characterize the problem.

“That’s a very uncomfortable position for IT to be in, to have problems
they are unaware of, and to have users call and they know nothing about
it. So what the end-user perspective provides is the ability to be
more
on top of the situation and be more proactive.”

It’s a shift, he said, from a network-centric view of application
performance to service-centric. Vantage, to date, has been more of a
network-centric tool, offering analysis tools at the application,
client, network and server layers, as well as an integrated console to
report across the different layers.

“What we didn’t have was management-level views, and then the ability
to
drill down to a granular transaction view with a client/network/server
breakdown, and then the ability to drill down in a correlated fashion
to
the underlying analytics,” he said.

In a nutshell, what Vantage 9 provides is a console view for someone in
the IT department (or anyone else trained in the software) to look at
the applications and servers running on the network, selecting one of
the three that isn’t performing well and finding the root cause of the
network hiccups. The company claims Vantage 9 obviates the need to bring in a consultant,
because the cause of the delay — be it network, server or application
— is displayed in the console.

What sets Compuware’s product apart from the rest, Gardner said, is its
ability to monitor custom built, home-grown, applications developed
in-house. Many of Compuware’s competitors, like IBM
and Mercury Interactive , are able to handle
packaged
software applications like Oracle or SAP, but not IT-created
applications.

“(Vantage 9) is giving customers the chance to manage them better,”
Gardner said.

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