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Watching the Web Apps

This alert flood has been stemmed using fault-management correlation--effective as long as you're willing to commit resources to maintain the rules required to make sense of the data deluge. But now performance-management vendors offer another approach, one that bridges deep-dive domain-specific performance metrics with end-service views to offer operations just enough information to perform problem determination. An added benefit is that all three constituencies will stay (we hope) on the same page through the use of consistent data collection and performance presentation.

So far, vendors seem to be successful; 60 percent of readers polled for this article who use performance monitoring tools say they are happy with the value being delivered, and in nearly 20 percent of shops business line managers make use of the products.

Finding a performance-management tool that can meet all these requirements, at a cost that is justifiable, requires more than deciphering the price schedules of each vendor. For example, nearly half of our readers surveyed said allocating or budgeting for enough personnel was the biggest difficulty they faced when deploying performance management. Plus the products have a wide range of options and deployment models that fit differently depending on your needs. But before you start comparing prices, you must understand the performance-management techniques commonly deployed.

nTier This!

At the center of all, or at least most, e-business systems is a multitiered application-delivery cocktail. Often referred to as "nTier," it comprises a mix of devices and functions that sit behind a Web server. The Web tier is divided into subcomponents: load balancer, Web server hardware, operating systems and Web server software.

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