Correlsense Makes Finding A Needle In A Haystack Easy

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Correlsense, a business transaction management company, along with one of its customers, GAINSCO Insurance. We discussed Correlsense's product, SharePath, which monitors and tracks all of an application's transactions in real time, and can rapidly deliver root-cause analysis and display where transactions are slowed or stalled. In fact, SharePath can pinpoint transaction bottlenecks spanning from the discrete user client to the IT infrastructure to th

Tom Trainer

December 21, 2010

6 Min Read
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I recently had the opportunity to speak with Correlsense, a business transaction management company, along with one of its customers, GAINSCO Insurance. We discussed Correlsense's product, SharePath, which monitors and tracks all of an application's transactions in real time, and can rapidly deliver root-cause analysis and display where transactions are slowed or stalled. In fact, SharePath can pinpoint transaction bottlenecks spanning from the discrete user client to the IT infrastructure to the number of bytes read, or written, at the disk storage level. In my opinion, this makes finding a bottleneck in real time--or the needle in a haystack--easy.

Most IT organizations have war rooms, or support centers, where the status of various parts of the infrastructure is measured and monitored on a real-time basis. Far too often, users call in for support complaining of slow response times and sometimes no response at all. Many times in these situations, those responsible for determining the root cause of a problem are left stymied as to just where a problem resides and what to do to resolve it because monitoring software indicates everything is OK or misdiagnoses the problem. Clearly, these situations are frustrating for both users and support staff.

Infrastructure and application monitoring software has existed for quite some time. There are more than a few companies today that have the ability to look at some, or all, of the parts of an infrastructure and aid IT management in often-times frustrating problem determination. In speaking with Correlsense and gaining a better understanding of what the company does and how, I was left feeling that the company has a firm handle on viewing the complete infrastructure and actually determining where a problem exists--or where it once existed. I also believe the company's solution has the ability to expose the root cause of a bad user experience.

Correlsense user Trent Wolf, architect and developer at GAINSCO, confirmed this, saying, "We needed better insight on transaction performance monitoring on a larger scale, from the data center through the Web portal and right to the client desktop. And now we have it."

Oren Elias, CEO of Correlsense, says the company was founded in 2005 with venture backing and has headquarters in Framingham, Mass. It also has a development facility in Israel and a regional office in India. Additionally, "Correlsense has a team of direct sales reps and a growing stable of regional resellers that it works closely with to provide its solution to customers across insurance, banking, online retail and telecommunications industries," says Elias.Elias and I talked about the core value proposition of SharePath. He summed it up well by saying, "We provide a breakthrough in IT reliability by enabling a bird's-eye, and detailed, view of how transactions perform across data center tiers. We believe this greatly reduces risks associated with rolling out new service offerings, optimizes applications and their use of infrastructure resources, improves the capacity planning process, and vastly improves the user experience by eliminating problems associated with applications that crash, hang or are simply just too slow."

SharePath software enables users to see transactions at a high level or at a granular level--from the click of an online user all the way through each hop of the data center. The software runs on a centralized server or on a virtual machine. Essentially, Correlsense sees transactions as being at the core of the data center; developing the ability to identify, track, monitor, and rapidly synthesize and analyze transactions at various stages during their existence enables support personnel to more efficiently and effectively respond to problem areas within the infrastructure.

GAINSCO Insurance's initial goal with SharePath included better data center-level monitoring, more efficient and rapid problem determination, good overall performance, and a better view of transactions at the Web portal tier. While working with SharePath, GAINSCO's desires for even greater information collection at the client resulted in Correlsense delivering a client-side function that collects detailed information such that actual transaction latency at the client side can be measured and every action taken at the client side can be logged, recorded and tracked.

"The client-side capability enables us to better track exact activity and to better determine the client's actual experience compared to what may be reported. Additionally, we have a much better view of latency beyond the Web portal all the way to the specific user," says GAINSCO's Wolf.

Unlike the top-down approach others take for monitoring activity associated with application transactions, Correlsense takes a bottoms-up approach. From this perspective, the company has been able to reduce setup time, lower overall maintenance costs, reduce the SharePath software overhead and build in more extensive auto-discovery capabilities into the product. "The Correlsense engineers are exceptionally smart people, and they built a smart product that that has exceptionally smart heuristics. The software learns your configuration and reports on literally everything," says Wolf. Indeed, SharePath does capture a lot of information, from four critical dimensions: actual user experience, application transaction specifics, network activity and overall infrastructure information specifically related to application transaction activity.The SharePath component architecture consists of a layered approach with some common capabilities shared across layers. At the base of the architecture is the Event Management Platform, which comprises agents and collectors, with a correlation and aggregation engine sitting atop of the agents and collectors. This all rolls up into an event management layer. The Event Management Platform stores all of its collected data in a common repository that in turn supports API capabilities for further utilization of collected information for chargeback support, security monitoring, auditing, configuration management database (CMDB) purposes and capacity planning. Spanning the repository and the Event Management Platform is Correlsense's Reliability and Reporting layer (which also supports all of the aforementioned API capabilities). Topping off the layered architecture is the company's unique IT Reliability Dashboard, which enables SharePath users to view in real time active topology, transaction monitoring, transaction trees and profiles, with workload breakdowns

Correlsense has continued to build out its partner program throughout 2010. This coupled with the overall capability of the product should result in strong sales and deployment of SharePath throughout 2011. The company is providing a free one-year trial of the Real User Monitoring capability so that users can get a feel for some of the numerous capabilities of the product. You can find the trial information at the Correlsense Web site. From my perspective, this is one product that is certainly well worth a look if you need comprehensive infrastructure monitoring and reporting capabilities presented in terms that are easily understood and that can be shared via API for further exploitation of the collected infrastructure data.

As of the writing of this blog, Correlsense is not a client of Tom Trainer or Analytico.

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