REVIEWER: Robert Sacca, manager of database services for The Research Foundation of State University of New York.
BACKGROUND: The Research Foundation of State University of New York (SUNY) is a private, nonprofit education corporation whose primary responsibility is the administration of externally funded contracts and grants for and on behalf of the State University of New York. In FY 1999-2000, expenditure activity for more than 7,500 sponsored programs funded by governments, corporations, foundations and other entities totaled over $440.5 million.
PLATFORMS: Sun Solaris running Oracle Applications including the Public Sector modules.
PROBLEM SOLVED: A particular SUNY campus complained of poor performance when processing a specific transaction. Using Precise/ Insight, we were able to measure the time spent by that transaction in each IT component across the Oracle Applications system and quickly determine the component causing performance degradation in this case, the client-side Internet service provider. Without Precise, finding the problem would have been a hunt-and-peck process akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. Precise helped us quickly determine the source of the problem literally within minutes and avoid finger pointing. Without Precise, the process of identifying the source of the system slowdown might have taken hours.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Precise/Insight is a monitoring and analysis software solution that measures the real end-user response time of any multitiered application and segments the response time by functional Web or enterprise component. Precise/Insight provides a baseline of performance, identifying deviations; correlates performance metrics to pinpoint the exact origin of deviations; and captures historical performance in order to see trends and plan proactively. By communicating the real end-user response time and quickly revealing the source of application performance degradation, Precise/Insight minimizes crisis resolution time, all without affecting the IT infrastructure performance. In summary, Precise/Insight measures end-to-end response time to understand the end-user experience; breaks down response time by network segments and servers for problem isolation; baselines performance and identifies deviations to avoid performance degradation; correlates performance metrics to prevent finger pointing; translates IT performance into business terms; and trends historical performance for proactive IT planning and budgeting.
STRENGTHS: Precise provides high-speed sampling while being very unobtrusive and adding very little overhead to the system just 1 to 2 percent. Precise cuts down, by half or more, the time it takes to catch causes of performance degradation. With Precise/Insight we have the ability to define response-time objectives and measure actual performance against them. The Precise solutions have a common interface, something no competitors offered. Our Precise sales representative is eager to show us how good the Precise solutions are, and will go to any length to help us with problems we have and get us what we want.
WEAKNESSES: We occasionally have had some technical support issues in regard to immediate availability. However, we do normally get a response within an hour or two.
SELECTION CRITERIA: We needed a solution to assist our small DBA team in proactively monitoring the Internet architecture used by the Oracle applications. Precise was one of only two companies that met all our requirements. Additionally, Precise was the vendor whose offering had the least amount of overhead with the greatest amount of return. For these reasons, and others, we found Precise to be head and shoulders above others we considered, which is why we selected Precise.
DELIVERABLES: Precise/Insight provides us with a holistic view of application performance, allowing us to define response-time objectives and measure actual response time against them. By pinpointing the exact cause of slowed response time, we can proactively solve performance problems before the end user sees them and avoid the blame game. Precise helps us provide the best in service to our clients on SUNY campuses, which is our main goal.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Precise bent over backwards to help us in the initial stages of our installation of the Precise solutions and throughout the deployment phase as well. We could always count on the Precise representatives to be there for us because they take personal pride in their actions and their products.
DOCUMENTATION: We would like to see some improvements in the documentation. It was not always as clear as we feel it could be.
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