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Getting to Why with Compuware’s Vantage Suite

Published
  • July 01 2005, 1:00am EDT

Compuware Vantage SuiteREVIEWER: Matthew Hooper, chief technology officer for Vigilant Technologies.

BACKGROUND: Massachusetts-based Vigilant is dedicated to the proposition that all components of the information technology system perform at full potential and in total alignment with business objectives. Vigilant ensures that clients obtain peak performance from enterprise applications and infrastructures.

PLATFORMS: SUN/Solaris, Dell/Windows 2000 and Windows 2003, Dell/Linux Redhat.

PROBLEM SOLVED: For our client that provides at-risk elders with emergency response services, system failures can be a matter of life or death. When apparently random outages and glitches began to plague this client, the IT director engaged Vigilant to find the root cause. His large, expensive monitoring tools and well-staffed call center could tell him when he had a system problem and what was happening, but he was never able to discern why things went wrong in the first place. Vigilant engineers responded with the Compuware Vantage suite which includes ClientVantage, NetworkVantage, ServerVantage and ApplicationVantage. We first used ClientVantage to monitor the business process 24 hours a day. By means of its unique capability, ClientVantage quickly created a snapshot of the application communication upon failure. This brought the information we needed to begin diagnostics. We then deployed ApplicationVantage to isolate response times on different tiers. With NetworkVantage, we gained a clear understanding of how efficiently all applications were sharing network resources. NetworkVantage showed a high volume of database backup traffic on the production circuit that also housed the call center application servers. Moving the backup traffic to a different circuit improved network responsiveness dramatically. Finally, with ServerVantage, we discovered that a report generation application on the servers was causing CPU utilization to reach 100. This was the direct cause of business process slowdown.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Compuware Vantage suite gives immediate, accurate information on the causes of service failure. The integrated Vantage products have a common interface that enables expedited troubleshooting. We deployed diagnostic tools at all levels - application tier, client, network, database and OS - and saw interrelationships within a few mouse clicks. Service-level reporting capabilities allowed us to select and focus on hot times, increasing our chances of catching problems as they occurred. We established a solid baseline that enables us to proactively detect indications of recurrence and/or potential failure.

STRENGTHS: Compuware's solution allows for broad coverage that allows you to start the process of elimination. Then, thanks to the tight integration points in the Vantage products, you can quickly delve deep into the code, network or systems interfaces. Compuware ServerVantage's easy deployment interface is the best on the market. No other tool allows you to be running in minutes with metrics that are both complex and granular.

WEAKNESSES: Agent deployment and script deployment are cumbersome and hard to manage. The setting of Compuware ClientVantage thresholds and deployment timings is not yet Web-enabled; it still takes place through a client-based interface.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We evaluated Solar Winds, IT Guru's Opnet and Wildpackets. None offered comparable integration points and ease of deployment. HP Openview, which was already running in operations, could not deliver the business process awareness needed to trigger captures for post-evaluation.

DELIVERABLES: The Compuware Vantage Suite provides real-time dashboards for troubleshooting, analysis tools to model data for correlation and trending, and paging and alerting features that notify users of server-level failure.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Compuware support was excellent. Compuware offers 24x7 tech support and is always very responsive and helpful. First tier is very knowledgeable and well-trained on helping you find resolution quickly.

DOCUMENTATION: The documentation is easy to understand, though in places it lacks direction on best practices. However, for some of their tools, Compuware has built useful modules that walk you through a process of correctly utilizing their tools to accomplish troubleshooting tasks.

Compuware Vantage Suite
Compuware Corporation
One Campus Martius
Detroit, MI 48226
313-227-7300
www.compuware.com

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