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APM Rolling Review: ProactiveNet

BMC's early-warning system gives IT a fighting chance to head off problems that threaten critical applications.

In June, BMC Software acquired ProactiveNet, and we tested the product for our application performance management Rolling Review. ProactiveNet isn't usually considered a player in the APM market, as it's focused on service-level agreements. However, ProactiveNet will notify IT of impending problems it finds by applying algorithms to stored data. The app shines as an intelligent correlation tool, unlike other products tested that focus on data gathering.

If you require collection of network application traffic or synthetic transactions, ProactiveNet is not for you. However, it does offer agents that can be deployed to assemble information, or you may use its adapters to pull data from CA, BMC Performance Manager, or NetIQ. Agents are available for application components that range from WebLogic and WebSphere to infrastructure components such as Oracle, Unix, AIX, IIS, Apache, and dozens of others.

THE UPSHOT
CLAIM:  ProactiveNet offers the ability to administer and view the overall health of your application environment and identify performance problems within business-critical apps before they occur, all from a centralized console. Capturing technical experience and domain knowledge within a single location removes geography, distance, and time zones from the list of IT operations obstacles.
CONTEXT:  Unlike other products tested that offer a range of application performance management data collection and analysis components, BMC ProactiveNet's true value is in its ability to correlate data and provide SLA views. While ProactiveNet does include monitoring agents and competes with other vendors in this review, it can also hold its own with DigitalFuel, Indicative, Integrein, Oblicore, and OpTier, companies delivering end-to-end service visibility, as well as challenging Hewlett-Packard on business service management.
CREDIBILITY: 

ProactiveNet is strong in intelligent correlation of events, invaluable for organizations with SLAs. Agents are effective at pulling extensive metrics from applications and application infrastructure components. The lack of discovery and need to manually group devices into service views, however, may give some organizations pause.

DATA ENTRY

ProactiveNet doesn't autodiscover your environment; you'll need to use its agents or another enterprise management adapter to get data into the system. The downside is that if a monitor doesn't exist for your application, you'll have to create a custom monitor that intensively queries the target server for available metrics. Metrics to be monitored must be selected and assigned names. To help speed the process, ProactiveNet provides template functionality for Oracle, WebSphere, WebLogic, and custom monitors, creation of which requires some design and metric definition.

Once setup is done, you then need to establish relationships within devices or device classes. Like devices, relationships must be defined--they're not discovered. Once you specify and group underlying infrastructure components that comprise application services, relationships will determine which alarms will be suppressed and which paths root cause analysis will follow.

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