By Siobhan Kennedy Although it admits it’s late to the internet game, BMC Software Inc yesterday introduced a series of offerings which it says will provide companies with an end-to-end e-business management solution for the first time. Traditionally known as a mainframe management-only shop, BMC has introduced new technology and applications which enable the vendor […]
By Siobhan Kennedy
Although it admits it’s late to the internet game, BMC Software Inc yesterday introduced a series of offerings which it says will provide companies with an end-to-end e-business management solution for the first time. Traditionally known as a mainframe management-only shop, BMC has introduced new technology and applications which enable the vendor to address the middle layer; the web application servers and services that run on top, as well as developing technology to enable companies to monitor the availability of Unix and Windows-NT-based applications in e-business environments. In addition, the company introduced software to monitor and manage e-business applications in the mainframe environment.
BMC says it’s in a unique position since there is no other vendor that currently offers management across the entire e-business infrastructure. While it admits there are point products in the application server space, it says no one can tie those products together with back end mainframe management and front end application availability data.
Speaking at a press conference in New York yesterday EMC’s VP of e-business, Bob Kruger said being able to ensure application availability was key to being a successful e-business. If a customer doesn’t get served, you don’t lose the transaction, you lose the customer, he said. You need to treat your customers the same as you do in a brick and mortar environment. He said the internet was experiencing a what he called new phenomenon – the addition of e-commerce based web application servers.
This segment here is today unmanaged without BMC. There is nothing that manages the applications that cover the customer relationship management or supply chain applications, or the infrastructure that underpins mySAP.com, Kruger said. Not only that, we need to really understand how response time works for a receiving customer. All this needs to be done. We need to take it all in context and provide a comprehensive view of service.
BMC’s new products basically fall into two categories and are essentially extensions of its existing Patrol product line. The first, Patrol for e-Business Management Solutions, is the part which includes BMC’s new technology for monitoring the availability of applications and managing application servers and firewalls. For application availability, BMC said it has developed new technology, called JARTA (Java Applet Response Time Analyzer) which gives companies a detailed view of customer response times via real-time monitoring. The software enables an administrator to capture end-to-end, real time user responses and use that data to simulate complex transactions to improve availability times. In addition, it provides monitoring of the actual network protocols and domain management, which BMC says will enable companies to meet their service level agreements for given applications.
On the application server front, BMC introduced Patrol for Microsoft Site Server Commerce Edition and a version for Netscape’s application server, although Kruger said other products, including Sun’s application server, would be added over time. It also introduced Patrol for firewalls, an application which monitors and manages firewalls and helps companies prevent security attacks before they occur, BMC said. All three components – Patrol for firewalls, web application servers and internet availability services – will be available in the first quarter of 2000. BMC wouldn’t give any specific details on pricing but said that it would range from $2000 upwards, depending on the size of the organization.
For the mainframe OS/390 environment, BMC used technology which it acquired through the purchase of Boole & Babbage Inc to create three new products, which basically mirror the Patrol products but in the IBM e-business environment. Under the Mainview brand name, the company introduced applications to monitor and manage IBM’s WebSphere application server. The software also offers site usage analysis, monitoring and management utilities for DB2, transaction process monitoring and middleware management. Mainview for Network Management provides notification of problems at the network layer while Mainview for Systems Management provides a central view of business critical applications and subsystems, EMC said.
Yesterday’s moves mark BMC’s first steps in the internet world and the company says more announcements will follow. Of its total line up of products, BMC will likely look to web-enable other functionality such as its capacity planning software and its enterprise data propagation applications. In addition, its output management, production management and security management, all acquired by BMC through the acquisition of New Dimension Software, are other likely candidates.
During the conference, the company trotted out the usual array of e marketing buzzwords and quoted the standard jargon from analysts about the predicted explosion of e-commerce and the importance of web-enabling applications. But behind the hype, analysts and customers seemed impressed with what BMC had to offer. Raymond Paquet, VP of software infrastructure for the Gartner Group said the announcements were less about being first to offer this and that and more about being able to execute and deliver on promises. But he said he was confident BMC could do that. It’s got a good track record of tying technology together and executing on the sales side, he said.
He said that the next big problem that networks face is performance. Ensuring availability for e-business is one thing, he said, but what’s going to be an even bigger problem is performance of e-business environments. Being down is bad but being slow is worse. Paquet said the performance issue played straight into BMC’s hands. After availability and recovery, which BMC is currently addressing, comes performance, he said.
At least one customer we spoke to, the CEO of Qwest Cyber.Solutions Inc, John Charters, said he would begin to implement BMC’s new application availability technology as soon as it becomes available. For Qwest, being able to offer true application level management and service level agreements will be what gives us competitive edge, he said. Charters said that Qwest would work with BMC to implement the tools and methodology to help Qwest offer the best levels of service it could on its hosted applications, which currently include SAP, Siebel and Oracle. Charters added that BMC was in the process of outsourcing its SAP R/3 applications to Qwest, a move which he said would help boost Qwest’s credibility in the eyes of prospective customers.