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CA Technologies Revamps Management Suite

CA Technologies has integrated and enhanced several of its network, systems and application management tools. The company has combined separate tools into a suite designed to help companies monitor response times for transactions and application performance, drill down to troubleshoot and fix problems, and ultimately ensure better quality of service for end users. Called CA Service Assurance, the bundle includes existing CA Technologies tools such as eHealth, NetQoS, Spectrum, and Wily Application Performance Management, all integrated and updated with new features. CA Service Assurance was unveiled at CA World 2010 conference in Las Vegas.

The suite is designed to provide business-oriented views of IT and to measure individual transactions from the end-user's experience in an effort to meet IT and business operational goals, says Patrick Ancipink, CA Technologies' VP of product marketing for Service Assurance. To do that, management tools can't just measure performance from a network perspective, or consider application performance only at the application level. Instead, the tools need to monitor service levels and transactions from the end-user's view, and then be able to cull data from all the networks, systems and applications that are affecting those service levels and transactions.

"It is important to link transactions to the underlying infrastructure," Ancipink says. "And when you look at the infrastructure, it is important to understand what business processes the infrastructure supports, whether that's e-mail or a revenue-generating, Web-based application." CA Service Assurance monitors the infrastructure, applications and services such as voice and video, all from a single view. For application performance management, CA Service Assurance has moved beyond managing only Web-based applications such as those based on Java and .Net to include any TCP/IP-based application, such as Exchange or an SAP application with fat clients that run on local systems.

The application performance management toolset within CA Service Assurance is APM 9.0. The software is designed to monitor applications in a production environment. APM 9.0 provides business-focused dashboards that take detailed transaction data and display them in ways that are meaningful to a business manager or other non-technical user. But the dashboards also display technical information so that the IT departments can use the application. In addition, organizations can drill down into specifics to better understand and troubleshoot problems. The dashboards also provide business-centric service level assurances, which CA says gives organizations a common language to monitor performance, as well as assign service levels based on the value of a business function. The dashboards also include a visual application map that provides real-time and dynamic application mapping within the environment.

New to APM 9.0 is the ability to perform cross-process transaction tracing--and provide a sequence view--so that monitoring can encompass Java or .Net as well as an application service provider's cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, for example. CA Technologies has also added middleware support, including Tibco's BusinessWorks and tools from EMS webMethods.