Motive looks to build management into apps

IT experts have long argued that management capabilities should be built into every application during development.

Motive this week intends to make that task easier with new software the company says will let users build management definitions into applications and help operations staff optimize performance of those applications. And with application heavyweight PeopleSoft signing on to license Motive software, industry watchers say perhaps the trend to address management earlier in the application life cycle could catch on.

"Management is often an afterthought, but as applications become more complex and they need to interact more, IT managers are realizing they must think about management sooner in order to optimize application performance," says Rich Ptak, partner at Ptak, Noel and Associates.

Not only can overlooking management early on cause performance problems but it also can prove costly to corporations. According to research from Allen Bonde Group, a typical Fortune 100 company spends upward of US$100 million on application management annually.

Motive says its new software suite comprising three applications -- Motive Profile, Motive Triage and Motive Resolution -- will help IT managers model how they want to manage applications, automate problem resolution and avoid playing catch-up on management after an application is in production.

The products include a Management Definition Model that lets application staff define the key components, attributes, parameters and relationships of a given application. The model can include vendor-specific information that would be critical to optimizing performance, and it can include customer-specific information to ensure the application performs to the customer's needs.

When an application is put into production, the software takes snapshots of the application configuration and state, which the company says makes it easier for IT managers to spot issues causing application performance to degrade. The software will compare the production snapshot with the ideal application configuration and pinpoint discrepancies causing performance errors.

The Profile product tracks application configuration over time to ensure changes haven't been made that could cause poor performance or compliance issues. For example, PeopleSoft is licensing the Profile application to provide customers with a model of how an ideal PeopleSoft application should be configured. The software would alert IT managers if any changes made to the application could impact performance and instruct them how to return the application to the optimized state. BEA Systems already uses Motive in its software to provide customers with an in-depth perspective of how its products should be configured, Motive says.

The Triage product uses stored pre-defined steps taken to solve common problems and automates the first response to an application performance issue. This helps expedite problem resolution and reduces the need for critical operations staff to address simple or known performance issues. And the Resolution software includes diagnostic tools that will help staff more quickly determine the cause of higher-level application problems, Motive says.

The three applications are Web-based and work with Motive's core server software typically installed in data centers. Depending on the application, application developers, operations staff and network managers would access the software based on their role via a Web browser.

Pricing for the suite starts in the low to mid hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on network configuration and the applications to be managed, Motive says. The software is scheduled to be generally available September 10.

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