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Performance Management Software

System-performance monitoring is not a singular activity, even if you have only one computer system. It involves the operating system and multiple applications and how they affect valuable IT resources like processors, memory, storage and the network. To understand how systems affect these resources, get a grip on throughput, queue and response time. These terms describe system-resource usage from the inside out.

High thresholds and long queues translate to reduced workloads for your technical people. But this information may not impress the company execs. Being end users themselves, they tend to focus instead on slow response times--a problem that can reduce sales. It's no wonder, then, that vendors continue to offer products that measure performance-response time from the outside in ("Monitoring System Performance From the Outside In").

Measuring the Managers

We looked for system-performance managers that could monitor and manage our NWC Inc. 24/7 production environment in Green Bay, Wis., from our Real-World Labs® at Syracuse University. The original design for this review called for managers that could remotely monitor Windows 2000 and Linux Red Hat servers. On the Windows side, we required support for IBM WebSphere 4.0.1., Microsoft IIS 5.0 (.Net) and Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Under Linux, we required support for Apache 1.3.22 and MySQL 3.23.41.

We sent invitations to nine vendors. BMC Software, Heroix Corp., Hewlett-Packard, NetIQ and Quest Software responded enthusiastically and planned to visit Syracuse, as their business models dictated installation support for enterprise customers. But Candle, Computer Associates, IBM (Tivoli) and Micromuse opted out because they were planning to release new products during the course of our testing.

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