Keynote bolsters Web application management

Transaction Perspective 7.0, Keynote's software-as-a-service, can now track Web application performance down to the browser

Keynote Systems last week upgraded its suite of test and measurement services that can measure the customer experience of Web applications and online sites.

Transaction Perspective 7.0, Keynote's software-as-a-service, can now track Web application performance down to the browser, the last piece of the puzzle when trying to monitor an application's performance from end to end, the company says. With this release Keynote has added the ability to track more transactions at a higher frequency and help customers not only measure performance but also troubleshoot the source of performance degradation.

Keynote, which has some 2,400 agents distributed across 240 locations worldwide to measure and monitor Web applications, says such capabilities provide Keynote customers with detailed metrics on user experience.

"We capture what the end user sees, using the same hardware and browser as end users, which makes our experience capture as accurate as possible," says Dharmesh Thakker, director of product management at Keynote. Using its diagnostics feature, Thakker explains, Keynote customers can see the actual Web page as the user did and trace the steps that led to an application performance problem.

Industry watchers say Transaction Perspective 7.0 goes a step closer toward measuring how the user actually uses an application and understanding how an application behaves.

"The last mile has been a black hole that is so out of control and has always been difficult to measure. There are so many variables related to how that last bit of information gets to the end user from the last hop on the network," says Lisa Erickson-Harris, a research director at Enterprise Management Associates. "Keynote is getting into more granular metrics and focusing on the end-user experience, which is a critical piece of service-level management."

She points out that Transaction Perspective could go one step further in future releases. Right now, the software is said to be able to determine if, for example, an SAP application was the cause of the Web site performance error. In the future, Erickson-Harris says Keynote could add the capabilities to understand what about the SAP application caused the error.

"Right now, they can get down to the application to the point of knowing something went wrong on the SAP server, but for troubleshooting it can't say where exactly or at what transaction performance was lost in SAP," she explains. That type of information can help customers work with developers to fine tune their applications for the Web and speed troubleshooting efforts by network operators, she says.

Keynote products compete with offerings from Gomez and Mercury Interactive , now a subsidiary of HP.

Transaction Perspective 7.0 and Transaction Perspective Last Mile are available now, with prices starting at US$1,295 per month for five-page Web transactions, from 10 U.S. locations, measuring once every hour. Transaction Perspective High Frequency is available at the same price, but at four times the measurement frequency. Transaction Perspective High Frequency will be available in December 2006. The Web Content Diagnostics add-on is available at a 25 percent premium on the total price of monthly measurements.

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