CA Adds Real-Time Visibility to Distributed and Mainframe Systems and Apps

CA intends to provide real-time visibility into its disparate distributed and mainframe application performance management platforms.

The company today said its forthcoming CA Wily APM release will come with a connector that links to its CA SYSVIEW mainframe application monitoring system. Both are widely used by enterprises as dashboards to closely monitor transaction-oriented systems and applications, according to industry analysts. By integrating the two, CA aims to give developers and administrators more holistic views of systems and applications, notably those used for transactions that remain in information silos.

While Wily APM already was able to view mainframes running z/OS and Linux, the new 8.2 release scheduled for release November 20 will bridge directly to SYSVIEW 12.5. The latter was released last month.

"It's the first offering in the industry that provides real-time visibility into application environments that span distributed and mainframe environments," said Jeff Cobb, CA senior vice president of product strategy.

Gartner Research Director Bill Malik pointed out in an email that CA's offering is not actually the first to span mainframe and distributed environments. "Many job schedulers did so in the late 1980s, and most began providing some information about aggregate job performance in the early 1990s," Mailik noted.

"The key words here are 'real time,'" said Julie Craig, research director at Enterprise Management Associates, in an email. "CA has architected the solutions in such a way that combined distributed systems-mainframe status information is integrated in real time. Other vendors have products that span distributed and mainframe environments, but the real time nature of CA's approach is definitely a differentiator," Craig said.

Wily APM users will be able to tap into SYSVIEW where they can monitor the resources of z/OS, CICS, WebSphere MQ and CA's Datacom database on a common dashboard. It also provides tracing of CICS-based transactions, allowing developers and administrators to track issues on the CICS Transaction Server. CA Wily users will also be able to map CICS transaction loads to specific applications, providing a universal view of resources.

"Essentially what we've done is build a connector that lives on the mainframe side, which allows the data that SYSVIEW knows how to gather to characterize the transactional behavior of the CICS traffic, and to convert that data into a format that is understandable by the CA Wily APM product and to move it back over to that product so it can present a uniform view," Cobb said.

"There is a transaction trace data format that we use to move data back and forth," Cobb continued. "We also have an open API for moving data from one place to another."

Applications running on CA Wily are typically either .NET- or Java-based and run on respective application servers. Those systems that are .NET can connect either through Microsoft BizTalk Server or natively to Internet Information Server (IIS).

"We see application structures where IIS is used as the main execution framework to serve up the Web apps and to host the .NET-based application business logic, and then the application business logic can talk directly to the mainframe," Cobb said.

Both Wily APM and SYSVIEW are widely used and in their respective segments, Craig said, and are often preferred over products from the likes of Hewlett-Packard and IBM because they are vendor neutral.

"Wily, in particular, is the 'product to beat' in competitive situations, according to many of the vendors I speak to," Craig noted. She noted IBM is investing in distributed application management across the ITCAM line. Another key option is from BMC, which recently acquired MQSoftware.

Craig said CA's bridge will give it an edge. "These new capabilities definitely keep CA among the leaders in this space, and I would expect that they will provide impetus for both new and existing customers to invest in CA's solutions."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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