BMC touts Patrol 2000 management package

BMC Software at its Assurance 2000 conference here on Monday heralded its recently announced Patrol 2000 application management system, focusing on e-business and transaction management as well as on the product's reporting capabilities and repository. But attendees raised questions about issues such as upgrading to the product.

The company at the event unveiled the Patrol Enterprise Manager component of Patrol 2000, which provides a single, enterprisewide view of a user environment and manages events from incompatible platforms in multiple geographic locations. Enterprise Manager, known as Command Post in earlier incarnations, joined the BMC stable when the company acquired Boole & Babbage in April 1999. The package provides a wizard-based methodology to guide users through tasks such as identifying raw messages. SLA (service-level agreement) management can be improved via the product, according to the company.

Saverio Merlo, BMC vice president for Patrol 2000, stressed that the company in the past year has had to deal with issues such as integrating its offerings with products gained in its Boole & Babbage acquisition. With Patrol 2000, "We changed what was a service-level agreement proposition into a different proposition."

Patrol 2000, which was announced May 8, offers end-to-end application response and availability measurement, automatic diagnosis and problem resolution for services, service-level policy settings, and publishing of reports on compliance against SLAs.

The package also features record/playback capabilities for e-business applications as well as transaction monitoring. Patrol 2000 can assess the impact of transactions on Web sites, predicting service levels as the volume of transactions increase, Merlo said.

Additionally, the company has done "a lot of plumbing work, particularly on the agent side," emerging with a single-install process, Merlo said.

A repository has been fitted into Patrol 2000 in the form of an embedded Oracle database to improve reporting capabilities, Merlo said.

Another component of Patrol 2000, known as Patrol Diagnosis, automatically diagnoses root causes of problems pertaining to the Microsoft Exchange messaging platform.

BMC's new Patrol Operations Manager, meanwhile, provides domain management, featuring centralised filtering and notification.

Patrol user Jim Schaeper, manager of enterprise systems management at National City, a bank in Cleveland, said he was pleased with Patrol 2000's service-level reporting capabilities. "That's been a prime gap that we've had in our own company," Schaeper said.

But he and other attendees had questions about the package.

Schaeper asked about the role of BMC's repository vis a vis Microsoft's plans for Windows Management Instrumentation WMI, and whether Microsoft would be offering similar functionality for free. Merlo said BMC has plans related to WMI that could not yet be discussed.

Another attendee asked about the ease of upgrading Patrol customisations from Patrol 3.3 to Patrol 2000. Merlo said there would be backward compatibility for Version 3.3 users, but not for users of previous releases.

"Unfortunately, if you are on a release before 3.3, you will have to get at least to the 3.3 level in order to take advantage [of backward compatibility]," Merlo said.

Merlo also was asked whether users of BMC's Maxim database would need to migrate away from Maxim to use Patrol 2000. He responded there would be no pressure to do so, but that the company is available for those that do want to migrate.

BMC at the event also announced:

*The availability of Patrol for firewalls, which monitors enterprise firewalls, arresting and reporting any unforeseen security risks. The package also has been integrated with Check Point's VPN-1/Firewall-1 package. Patrol for Firewalls is available now for $3,995 per server.

*The company will partner with Segue Software to improve the reliability of e-business applications. Through the agreement, Segue will integrate its SilkPerformer Knowledge Module with the Patrol platform, providing load and performance testing for e-business. The module is available now.

*The unveiling of BMC's Online/Defrag Advisor, for managing and maintaining IMS databases. The package identifies problem areas in databases and moves data into an area of the database to provide optimum response time, according to BMC officials. Online/Defrag Advisor ships this summer, with a starting price of approximately $17,500.

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