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New Version Of Precise APM Helps Shipping Company Manage SAP Performance And Prepare For Virtualization

ZIM Integrated Shipping Services is a global container shipping company serving more than 30,000 customers and offering end-to-end multimodal services reaching destinations on five continents. The 66-year-old company also offers full-service logistics. Its global operations rely on the robust, solid performance of its applications, particularly the applications that serve as the core of its business operations: SAP business intelligence, ERP, and portal applications and underlying databases.

The ability to pinpoint interapplication impact is designed to help organizations better identify trouble-spots, even when an application is relying on dynamic resources, any of which may be contributing to the problems. Other features include new detailed performance analysis of the heavy steps in Oracle database execution plans and enhanced tracking of SAP transactions that utilize RFC calls. Precise 9.0 also has a completely revamped J2EE solution to allow for faster detection of poor performing objects in the J2EE tier and a new and more intuitive user interface that can be used by both operations and J2EE experts.

ZIM is still largely relying on a physical infrastructure to support its SAP applications. According to Melman, ZIM's application infrastructure is predominately physical servers--32 servers and 20 databases supporting 3,500 users--but he says that Precise Software has been talking to his organization about the benefits of virtualization. Proponents of server virtualization point to the technology's ability to cut costs by reducing the number of physical servers needed. As equipment is eliminated, data center space is reduced, as well as the amount of energy that's required to power and cool racks of servers. There are also savings in manpower and a boost in time-to-market.

But organizations are still somewhat hesitant to move their mission-critical systems to a virtualized and cloud computing environment because there's less control, Gilad says. "Many people are afraid to move to the cloud because they don't know what the impact will be to their applications," he says. That's why it's important to leverage IT management software that helps them automate, isolate and correlate problems that can occur in virtualized environments.

As for ZIM's Melman, he says his organization is particularly interested in Precise 9.0's new features that will enable BI query performance analysis, portal customization, business transaction analysis and online scoreboard functions. Moreover, since testing and now using the new software, Melman and his team were able to identify some issues with their virtual environment, which ZIM is only starting to implement. "We were able to recognize the difference between our new VMware application servers and the physical ones. The VMware application servers had newer and stronger CPUs, but the CPU usage was heavier than the physical ones for the same load," he says. "This information was sent to the systems group for further analysis, and we have stopped adding new VMware application servers into production until we fully understand the issue."

See more on this topic by subscribing to Network Computing Pro Reports Strategy: Private Cloud Blueprint (subscription required).

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