BlueStripe FactFinder transaction performance monitoring

BlueStripe wants to help users of Microsoft System Center move from managing components to managing service delivery.

BlueStripe's VP of Marketing, Dave Mountain, stopped by to talk about the enhancements his company has made to FactFinder as a result of a collaboration with Microsoft.

BlueStripe is already well known in performance management circles due to FactFinder's ability to help IT administrators go beyond looking at application components to see what's happening from a services level.

What components are supported by FactFinder?

According to BlueStripe, these are the development and run-time environments FactFinder currently supports:

FactFinder can monitor the performance of any network connected application, application component, and transaction

  • Custom Applications (ANY Code): J2EE, .NET, Java EE, C, C++, C#, COBOL, ...
  • ANY Protocol: From http to SQL, even your custom protocols
  • ANY Packaged Application: SAP, Siebel, PeopleSoft, Exchange, ...
  • Web Servers: IIS, Apache, SunOneApplication Servers: WebSphere, WebLogic, SharePoint, JBoss, Tomcat, BizTalk
  • Messaging Middleware: MQ Series, Tibco Rendezvous, MS MQ, FIX, and more
  • Database & Storage: Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, MySQL, Brocade, EMC, ...
  • Cloud Monitoring: Private Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, Azure, ...

BlueStripe accomplishes this through the use of software agents.

Snapshot analysis

Over the years, we've moved away from the centralized approach to application design. Applications are now built as a collection of services that are distributed all over the network.

Each service is likely to be replicated on multiple systems (physical, virtual, or cloud) and in multiple places to ensure that levels of reliability, scalability, and performance meet the organization's objectives. Unfortunately, this highly distributed, multi-tier, multi-system, multi-datacenter approach makes the overall computing environment very, very complex.

Each supplier of application performance monitoring and management offers a different mix of technologies, and it's not clear where each fits and why. Suppliers are using a mix of the following approaches:

  1. Building management into everything: Each supplier wants their own tools and frameworks built in and don't always play well with those offered by others. This approach, of course, is only useful to those companies who are using that supplier's products.

  2. Accessing the management interfaces provided by a broad selection of systems, operating systems, application frameworks, applications, and the like. This approach allows the performance management and monitoring software to know a great deal about each component of a service, but many also impose a high level of overhead on the entire system to gain this level of insight.

  3. Installing agents that gather operational data and forward it elsewhere for processing and analysis. This approach, while very powerful, can be cumbersome if a company has thousands or hundreds of thousands of systems, operating systems, databases, application frameworks, applications and the like.

  4. Following network traffic and teasing out operational data for systems, databases, application frameworks, applications, networks, and storage. This approach can be useful for an overview of what's happening but may not have the capability to dive deeply into a working system to determine why something is going wrong.

Many suppliers focus on a combination of the four different approaches. BlueStripe is focused on approaches two and three. It has gone to the effort to work with many suppliers of systems and software so that it can touch systems very lightly and still offer IT administrators with the ability to look at services rather than just look at components.

It would be worth your time to see their demonstration. It's very interesting.