SightLine Lets Users Keep an Eye on E-Comm Apps

FREMONT, CALIF. (05/10/2000) - Fortel Inc., formerly Datametrics, last week announced software that monitors e-commerce applications to look for problems that can delay the processing of transactions.

The company's SightLine product employs server-based SNMP agents to collect information on network and application activity that can be presented in an appropriate format at the desktop for either nontechnical business managers or network administrators.

According to Fortel CEO Asa Lanum, SightLine builds on the company's earlier ViewPoint systems management software, which has been used by Walgreens Co., MCI Communications Corp., Bank of America Corp., General Electric Co. and others.

SightLine focuses on tracking e-commerce transactions from the Web front end through the ISP's hosting facility server to application servers and back-end databases. The software, which runs on Windows NT, Solaris, MVS and other platforms, can be used to collect data on hundreds of thousands of indicators related to application resources, response time and network availability.

"It also monitors for trends and changes in activity, putting it all in a moving chart for the techies or a simpler service-level extract for business-level review," Lanum says.

Data analysis

SightLine's agents deliver raw data to the package's PC-based Expert Advisor for analysis. The agents can also deliver the data to third-party management applications, including Computer Associates International Inc.'s Unicenter.

Once the data related to the e-commerce site is analyzed, the good or bad news can be displayed at SightLine Vision, the PC-based console.

"The desktop could simply have a red light, yellow light or green light," Lanum says. Yellow signals that e-commerce transaction speeds are slowing and heavy loads or network saturation may mean trouble ahead.

For technical administrators, though, life isn't as easy as a red or green light. "I'm the network guy, and I'm guilty until proven innocent," Phil Herrera, Walgreens' manager of network technology services, says half jokingly.

"So I have my arsenal of network tools to get me into the clear."

Walgreens has used the older ViewPoint software on approximately 70 decision-support and pharmacy applications for about five years. When employees on the corporate intranet start complaining about a problem, Herrera uses ViewPoint to quickly figure out whether it's a network or application problem.

"We like to rule out the network when we can and zero in on the application," Herrera says. "Then it's a seek-and-destroy mission, going around to the application folks to see if they've changed something or are running special processes."

Last October, Walgreens set up a public Web server and, as an enthusiastic Fortel backer, plans to deploy the new SightLine monitoring software for service assurance as its e-commerce activities expand.

SightLine starts at $40,000.


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