BMC announces transaction management tools

BMC Software Tuesday announced a family of transaction management tools designed to help IT managers gain information that can be used to improve the application experiences of end users.

The new product family initially consists of two tools that were released late last year but not officially announced until now. One of those offerings, BMC's Transaction Management Application Response Time (TMART) software, measures the performance of applications from the perspective of end users, said the vendor. The other, the Mainview Transaction Analyzer, tracks transactions on IBM mainframes running the z/OS operating system.

TMART began shipping at the end of November and starts at $60,000. The Mainview analyzer became generally available in late December and starts at US$75,000. Houston-based BMC plans to add two more tools to the new product line later this year, said Alisa Nessler, vice president of the vendor's transaction management program.

The group of tools is focused on giving business and IT managers real-time views of application performance at the transaction level across an entire company, Nessler said.

Many IT managers have told BMC that detecting, isolating and fixing problematic transactions takes too long and costs too much, she added. IT managers "are drowning in data and struggling for searchable information," Nessler said. "Unfortunately, the IT department is the last to know about system problems."

Gary Lu, vice president and senior architect at Citigroup in New York, said he is evaluating TMART. Lu, who previously has deployed a range of BMC's database backup and monitoring tools, said the transaction management software provides "end-to-end visibility of a business process, which we are not be able to do today."

For instance, a stock trade needs to go through a number of systems as it's processed, from a J2EE or .Net application server to an integration server and on to a mainframe, Lu said. He added that a transaction management tool such as TMART can give systems managers information about "the round-trip and breakdown of time spent over each of the major components."

TMART simulates the experiences of end users and shows transaction response time from their systems to the first hop in a network, according to Nessler. The tool also captures the details of failed transactions to help with problem diagnosis, and it integrates with BMC's systems and service level management products.

The Mainview Transaction Analyzer isolates transactions on mainframes and correlates information about the transactions from different subsystems. Different versions of the tool support IBM's DB2 database and its CICS and IMS software, Nessler said.

BMC didn't disclose planned release dates for the two upcoming tools. One will monitor transactions on distributed systems as well as mainframes, while the other will provide real-time isolation and resolution of transaction problems across the different domains of a corporate network, Nessler said.

Rich Ptak, an analyst at Ptak, Noel & Associates said that the transaction management products will give BMC's customers a horizontal view of transactions across their entire mainframe and distributed architectures.

The ability to analyze end-to-end transaction paths should help systems managers identify "the specific component causing a problem," Ptak wrote in a research note, adding that users of the tools also should be able to prioritize problem-solving according to business needs.

CA and IBM's Tivoli unit also offer transaction management products, Ptak said separately. But he said that BMC's new tools more easily integrate with third-party data-collection software and that they monitor and report on the details of actual transaction pathways.

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