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Thomson & Thomson Monitors Performance with Landmark

Published
  • July 01 1998, 1:00am EDT

PLATFORMS: Landmark's PerformanceWorks, with SmartAgents for UNIX, Windows NT and Oracle, runs on an RS/6000 with AIX V4.1.4 and Intel-based PC servers with NT V 3.51 service Pack 4.

BACKGROUND: Founded in 1922, Thomson & Thomson Corporation was the first trademark research company in the United States. Its mission is to provide the highest quality trademark and copyright research services accompanied by outstanding customer service. Thomson & Thomson has six offices with headquarters in North Quincy, Massachusetts.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Thomson & Thomson was unable to effectively monitor performance and diagnose problems on UNIX and NT systems prior to installation of PerformanceWorks. UNIX native tools are too cumbersome to configure, manage and maintain. We needed a new tool to be more proactive in dealing with system problems. The company experienced substantial downtime of our Oracle databases by not having the ability to monitor and plan capacity. PerformanceWorks is an integrated solution suite that allows us to address all disciplines of performance management: monitoring, reporting, modeling and capacity planning. The SmartAgent for Oracle allowed us to proactively manage our Oracle environments, including the underlying operating systems which run the Oracle database. We dramatically cut our downtime and increased performance capacity with PerformanceWorks.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: PerformanceWorks allows us to set operational thresholds for various resources to prevent major system problems. These thresholds trigger alarms that warn the administrator of a potential problem via on-screen display, e-mail, page or traps to systems management frameworks. We will use the product's capacity planning functionality in the near future.

STRENGTHS: Flexible architecture. PerformanceWorks' agents store information anywhere on the network, adapting to our specific system design. The information provided can be both historical and real-time data without requiring consolidation of multiple storage locations. The drill down feature allows the administrator to logically drill down and inspect potential problems. You can even drill right down to the process-hogging CPU resources.

WEAKNESSES: PeformanceWorks/Domain Station, the GUI for NT, does not have a predefined drill-down capability; however, we have been able to customize one. The PerformanceWorks install procedure for the UNIX environment is not intuitive.

SELECTION CRITERIA: System administrators can set alarms to signal a potential UNIX resource shortage such as file system space. This capability allows our administrators to be proactive. The product's key advantages are the drill-down capability, the flexible architecture and the ability to monitor a list of low- level kernel processes that most competing products do not cover. Monitoring products from most other vendors simply repackage the UNIX tools into a graphical interface.

DELIVERABLES: Landmark produces real-time and historical graphs of system activity in various flavors (linear, pie, bar). It produces trend analysis, median data points and also the variance values. Data can be represented in graphical or exact number format at various sample intervals.

VENDOR SUPPORT: Pre-implementation assistance was superb. Landmark gave us the code on a trial basis along with a systems engineer to help configure and launch its operation. Post-implementation support is very responsive. System engineers have visited on site to further enhance the configured installation.

DOCUMENTATION: The PerformanceWorks documentation is very complete, including a sample first setup scenario.

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