COMDEX: BMC offers Web systems monitoring through ASPs

BMC Software today released a Web-enabled systems management tool aimed at the application service provider (ASP) market, though analysts believe the technology is a precursor to next-generation systems management tools for end users.

Announced during today's Comdex conference in Las Vegas, the systems management company has given ASPs a tool that remotely monitors the quality of service of end users' enterprises, including server, network and application infrastructure.

The ASP will be able to offer the service to multiple customers from a single portal while customers will be able to access real-time performance information and configure the monitoring tool to check the systems they desire.

"It's more like confidence assurance that the application is working well over time and that if something goes wrong it can be quickly fixed," said Tim Grieser, an analyst at International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass.

Sue Aldrich, an analyst at Patricia Seybold Group Inc. in Boston, said ASP customers often wind up with systems problems they didn't foresee once applications begin to trammel between their hosted and in-house systems.

"Buying software is just like signing up for pain," she said.

BMC's software will be offered as a value-added service on top of ASP offerings. End users will download a 1.5-MB remote monitoring program that runs on Windows servers. The program will then monitor the preset systems and send back encrypted data to the ASP portal.

Mary Nugent, vice president and general manager of service provider solutions at BMC, said a Linux download should be available in the first quarter of next year and that mainframe and storage monitoring may be added to the mix.

BMC built the Web monitoring tool on top of BEA Systems Inc.'s WebLogic application server and will use Java 2 Enterprise Edition standards to perform load balancing and transaction processing.

"If you believe outsourcing is inevitable, and we do, then you have to learn how to deliver these services through a partner," Nugent said.

Yet the quick deployment, small footprint and Web-friendly nature of the product might work its way into BMC's traditional product line, Nugent said.

Aldrich said systems management is "inching" toward Web-based tools and viewed BMC's release a a definitive step in the right direction.

Grieser agreed. "Most systems management software is based on older client/server technology," he said. "The established players have yet to take advantage of the Web."

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