Network Management Heats Up with Focused Apps

SAN MATEO (01/28/2000) - THE MARKET for managing application performance for networks is not just a game for the framework giants anymore.

With its release of EcoScope 4.1 next week, Compuware Corp. is representing a growing cluster of companies focusing on point solutions to identify, troubleshoot, and predict application performance.

Enhancements to EcoScope 4.1 reflect Compuware's focus on ensuring SLAs (service-level agreements) by quickly recognizing the root cause of poor application performance, said Bill Madaras, a spokesman for Compuware.

"We're seeing people going away from frameworks and GUI, back to point solutions," Madaras said. "The big [frameworks] can't drill down," into a network system well.

As customers seek stronger convergence and scalability features for their multitier applications, smaller companies are jumping into the fray by uniting disciplines and requirements that were segmented before, said Dennis Drogseth, an analyst at Enterprise Management Group, a market research company.

"The frameworks were, as a whole, based on a slower-paced, more process-centric tradition," Drogseth said. "As a group, they are struggling to keep apace with Internet-speed dynamics."

Drogseth said another example of the shift includes Concord Communications, which bought Empire and FirstSense to boost its performance management application. He also noted that Compuware is leveraging its recent acquisition of CACI to automate the cross-dependencies between application design across the network with performance monitoring. Another vendor, Aprisma, plans to offer integrated network and systems administration via its Metrix Web Console.

"The fundamental shape of the market hasn't changed; it is just that some of the smaller, faster-moving firms have brought standards-based solutions to market more quickly," said Richard L. Ptak, an analyst at the Hurwitz Group, in Framingham, Mass., adding that larger providers Computer Associates and Tivoli are responding through partnerships and internal development.

Compuware Corp., in Farmington Hills, Mich., is at www.compuware.com. Concord Communications, in Marlboro, Mass., is at www.concord.com. Aprisma Management Technologies, in Durham, N.H., is at www.aprisma.com.

Making their move

Smaller companies are trying to take a piece of the e-business network management pie.

* Concord Communications unveiled last week the first product in its new eHEALTH suite to provide analysis and management of network infrastructure.

* Compuware updated EcoScope last week at ComNet 2000, extending network management of application performance.

* BMC Software introduces its OnSite&Trade program, a certification and branding program for application availability and performance.

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