Web Performance Tools Get Upgrade

Mercury Interactive giving customers greater geographic flexibility and metrics for monitoring Web site performance and user experience by bolstering the root-cause analysis and "points of presence on-demand" capabilities of the company's Topaz ActiveWatch software.

Product enhancements, announced Tuesday, will provide customers with more than 500 T1-line PoP (points of presence) locations to choose from for Web performance measurement, said Jayaram Bhat, vice-president of marketing for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Mercury Interactive. Previously, Mercury Interactive customers had access to only 70 selected PoP locations that could only be reached through data centers, he added.

"[Topaz ActiveWatch] is exactly like the PoP in the past we had with data centers, but now we don't need machines in all those facilities," Bhat said. "It's more reliable because it's not a remote location."

Root-cause analysis enhancements incorporated into Topaz ActiveWatch -- unveiled last month in Topaz 2.1 -- feature a Transaction Performance breakdown, a WebTrace monitor, Page Component Analysis, and service resource monitors that correlate the source of an end-user's problem down to a single server source, company officials said. Network infrastructure providers AT&T Corp., Qwest Communications International Inc., and GTS will lend their skills to reinforce the speed and accuracy of Mercury Interactive's collected analysis and performance resolution.

Corey Ferengul, Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc. program director of Service Management Strategies, said customers can expect downward price pressure to result from today's Mercury Interactive's PoP announcement. That's because San Mateo, Calif.-based Keynote Systems Inc. will no longer be the only show in town to meet demand for multiple external points to conduct Web site performance monitoring, he remarked.

"This [technology] is no longer a leg up for either company," Ferengul said. "For Mercury, it eliminated an objection. For Keynote, it eliminated an advantage."

Ferengul said he viewed Keynote Systems' agent technology model, which features a heavy on-site hardware slant, and Mercury Interactive's model to be quite equal. However, he did say that Mercury's remote technique does allow for more Web sites to be added faster for monitoring purposes.

Retail customers will benefit most from Mercury Interactive's Topaz ActiveWatch on a broad perfomance site basis, while business-to-business customers will use the technology on a very targeted scale, Ferengul said.

ActiveWatch with PoPs Demand technology is now available, and starts at $3,000 a month for each PoP on Demand.

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