OPNET Technologies reached out to me to introduce a new product, AppMapper Xpert. They're suggesting that a new approach, offering the capability as a service offering (software-as-a-service that is), is just what organizations need.
Here's what OPNET has to say about AppMapper Xpert
OPNET Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OPNT), a leading provider of high definition application and network performance management solutions, today announced a new offering that automatically produces a run-time application map, identifying the underlying application and infrastructure components that enable a production application. AppMapper Xpert will be available through a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery model, simplifying and accelerating its adoption by IT organizations for all aspects of application management, including performance troubleshooting, planning, virtualization, data center consolidation, and cloud deployment.
AppMapper Xpert is part of OPNET’s solution suite for high definition application performance management. It utilizes data obtained from other solutions in the portfolio, including AppResponse Xpert™ and AppInternals Xpert™.
What is application mapping?Applications are increasingly architected as multi-tier, distributed run time services rather than as a single monolythic block of code. If we consider the fact that most major organizations have thousands of applications in use, it is easy to imaging that there are tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of components or run time services running on systems spread throughout the organization's IT infrastructure. Application mapping tools trace out the complex list of connections among components and allows an IT administrator to more easily understand what is running, where it is running and whether it is executing normally, is experiencing a problem or has stopped completely.
At this point, nearly every service management supplier offers a tool or a suite of tools that offer this capability.
Most of the time, these tools examine one machine (virtual or physical), capture what is running and what each process communicates with. It then creates a database of that information and allows an IT administrator to look at all of the dependencies. The tools also monitor these systems and provide a way to examine performance.
Snapshot analysisAlthough I haven't spoken with all of the suppliers, I've not come across application mapping being offered as a service. That, by itself, makes OPNET's offering interesting.
It is not at all clear to me that this is the best way to accomplish this function. After all, most of the application components are behind corporate firewalls and don't speak directly to the Internet (for security and other reasons). Setting up the network to allow an Internet service to examine everything could certainly create nightmares for the security folks in an organization. Wouldn't it be better to have something that executes behind the corporate firewall than something external?
I hope to speak with them to learn more details of how their service works.