Quest sees Holy Grail in self-tuning management tools

Quest Software, best-known for its database management tools, plans to bolster its application management lineup by releasing 72 self-tuning and performance management tools this year.

The California based software vendor, which claims half a million users for its Toad family of management tools running on multiple databases, announced a beta of a new application release management product, code-named Zanzibar, last week. Zanzibar helps automate the deployment of applications, correlates change details with performance data to diagnose problems, and records all changes and related events for auditing, said Larry Humphries, vice president of product management at Quest.

"We can dive down and do analytics at the 30,000-foot level or at the five-foot level," he said.

Quest also plans to release before the end of June tools to optimize .Net and SAP system performance. During the second half of the year, it will release products leveraging configuration management database technologies to help companies model their technology assets so that problems can be anticipated and attacked preemptively, Humphries said.

The company's overall strategy is called Application Advantage, Humphries said. As with its Toad tools, which provided a common, easy-to-use interface for database administrators, Quest's application management tools will ease the need for IT staffers to be retrained for every new application a company adds or migrates to, he said.

"I think CIOs should certainly look closely at Quest, especially for point products to solve specific problems," said Andi Mann, an analyst with Boulder, Colo.-based Enterprise Management Associates. "In application management, they are very capable and have very broad coverage."

But Mann also warned CIOs to be "wary" of buying Quest's entire suite without looking it over carefully.

"I am not privy to their development plans, but I hope that some of the 72 product releases include closer integration and some product rationalization," he said. "They have too many barely-related products right now. They have made a start on rationalization, but they have a long way yet to go."

CitiStreet, a third-party provider of employee benefits plans for companies, uses Quest tools, including Toad, Performasure, JProbe, Foglight Cartridges and Quest Central.

"The Quest tools have enabled CitiStreet to constantly improve both the performance and availability of our applications, both of which are critical to us providing optimal service to our customers," said Barry Strasnick, CIO of CitiStreet. "As either Quest introduces new capabilities and/or CitiStreet faces new challenges, Quest has credibility when they talk with our technical teams."

Besides its database management tools, Quest earlier this year released its Vintela family of plug-ins for Microsoft Operations Manager that allow IT managers to oversee their Windows and Linux machines from a single console.

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