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Rolling Review: Symantec i3, ASD and Insight Inquire

Symantec's i3 suite has the depth and breadth of features required for true end-to-end application performance management. The "i3" moniker refers to a trio of applications dubbed Inform, Insight and Indepth. Inform's Alert and Foresight components provide predictive analytics and early warning of performance problems. Insight is a dashboard view that displays current performance and system relationships. Indepth agents are to be installed on devices running J2EE, .NET, SAP, Oracle, SQL Server and Sybase applications. We also tested two additional components, the Application Service Dashboard and Inform Insight, that complement i3.


Symantec's i3 correlates activity across multiple technology tiers to pinpoint root causes of performance and availability problems. Using a variety of data collection and visualization components, i3 helps IT detect and correct application performance problems before the business is affected.
While Symantec is not often grouped with enterprise management big dogs like CA, HP, BMC and IBM, it has been quietly collecting an impressive set of products to manage infrastructure devices and applications. In addition to the i3 suite, the company can extend application management into its CMDB and portal offerings.

Symantec is on equal footing with the other enterprise software vendors that participated in this review—i3 is a robust, comprehensive management suite that will help most organizations detect application performance issues and prevent them from impacting the business. A little more work is needed to integrate all the suite's components and reduce confusion, but most organizations will find i3 compelling.

After surmounting some installation and configuration hurdles, we found the intelligence i3 puts toward problem solving quite impressive. Symantec uses dynamic instrumentation in the Web component, providing client-side data without a client-side software installation. Root-cause analysis, event filtering, and flexible reporting options were also very compelling in our testing.

If you just need a synthetic transaction tool, Inform Insight has the ability to record and test any Web-based application or Java transaction, and the studio for creating transactions is incredibly easy to use. We were disappointed, however, that Insight Inquire uses a separate database to store performance data, so that information is not directly available through i3.

The Application Service Dashboard, or ASD, serves as the window into i3's world. We found a wealth of flexibility and customization capabilities for integrating i3 components as well as external data sources into a dashboard, and multiple i3 installations can be observed from one ASD instance. ASD also has its own users and groups functionality so IT can regulate access to specific data sources or individual dashboard components.

Root of the Problem

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