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June 12, 2012

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What Can Crooked Cops in Costa Rica Teach Us About IT Performance?

Sometimes the long days and hard-fought battles at the office add up, and start to take a toll on you. When that happens, it’s good to be able to escape somewhere warm, sunny and beautiful. Recently, I did just that when I took a well-deserved vacation in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is an amazing place, filled with great people, beautiful scenery and delicious food. Even the road system, which was notoriously poor in the past, is getting better.

I spent my days relaxing on one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen, and had some great quality time with my family in the swimming pool.

One thing happened during my vacation that really made me think. On the first day of the trip, we were driving to the beach in Manuel Antonio when a man in an official-looking uniform flagged down our car, directing us to pull over. Wanting to obey the law, I immediately slowed down. I figured it was some kind of checkpoint, or maybe I had a light out or committed some other traffic violation.

A friend of mine who lives in Costa Rica and happened to be riding shotgun that day knew better. “Keep going”, he said, “it’s nothing”. I was amazed and confused. I didn’t want to run from the police! I was a guest in this country and the last thing I wanted was to end up on the wrong side of the law. “No way!” I said, thinking I needed to obey the police’s directions. But my companion urged me not to stop, so I drove on, thinking of fines, prosecution and old episodes of Locked Up Abroad.

We passed the official… and nothing happened. In the rearview mirror I saw him flagging down another car. That car also refused to stop, with no consequences. What was going on here? After a short ride another official asked me to stop…. Same thing. At that point I began thinking about prison and how it is going to look like the living behind bars…

My companion told me that it was a scam; people who dressed like police officers are nothing but parking lots attendants that are asking you to park at their “official” place… :)

It reminded me of the world of Application Performance Monitoring. You can have a totally green screen, alerts indicating that the CPU is at 100%, and official monitoring tools telling you that everything is A-OK. But you can’t listen to that. You need to keep going, keep investigating, and keep learning about the environment so that you know for yourself that everything is OK. Don’t just base your decisions on some “official” average or network sample. Push for perfection in performance, and don’t just listen to every fake cop that signals you to pull over.

Think of it this way. When was the last time that one of your customers complained about applications that were too fast?

March 27, 2012

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Five Keys for Performance Management of Oracle Forms and E-Business Suite

Today’s APM tools do not provide sufficient capabilities to perform real end user monitoring of Oracle applications. While these tools can track basic performance data, most solutions do not cover the entire Oracle E-Business Suite technology stack and it can be challenging to acquire the in-depth visibility needed to properly manage your application’s performance.

See below for a recording of an online seminar and slide deck where we showcase solutions for application support engineers, application owners, QA engineers, Oracle Forms developers and EBS Integrators. Topics include how to:

  • Isolate problems before end users experience them
  • Gain visibility into the potential source of bottlenecks in Oracle components
  • Reduce the risk and overall time to rollout for new applications, Oracle Forms migrations and EBS upgrades
  • Analyze stress tests to identify, isolate and resolve scalability issues before rolling out to production
  • Monitor your end user experience with both real-time and historical performance metrics

View the recording or presentation slides below.

Recording:

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Presentation slides:

Thanks for watching.

For more information on Correlsense products, please visit the products section of this site or download our FREE real user monitoring (RUM) tool.

February 13, 2012

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Correlsense Announces General Availability of SharePath Version 2.5

New code level visibility, advanced analytics and dashboards make the product a complete Application Performance Management solution for IT operations and application support teams

Framingham, MA | Feb 13, 2012 – Correlsense, a leading provider of transaction management solutions, announced the availability of SharePath 2.5, the latest version of its application performance management platform. This new release includes deeper visibility for code in production environments, broader views across the IT infrastructure, user interface enhancements, and greater analytical capabilities. These improvements allow users to more efficiently isolate the cause of slowdowns, improve end-user experiences, and monitor applications for better service level management.

“Applications built according to modern architectural principles need to be monitored in a holistic, end-to-end manner”, said Jonah Kowall, Analyst, Gartner Research “Five distinct dimensions of, or perspectives on, end-to-end application performance are each essential and complementary to all the others.”

The new code level visibility in SharePath 2.5 provides application support and development teams with deeper data about production failures and bottlenecks, along with the transaction flow and user request context. This enhancement gives the complete platform the broadest visibility for transaction flows across components, as well as deepest views into production code. Sharepath’s lightweight agent technology adds very little overhead and can be easily installed, deployed, and configured with little direct code knowledge.

“We are very pleased to announce the availability of SharePath 2.5,” said Oren Elias, CEO of Correlsense. “The new code level visibility means that SharePath now meets the complete needs of today’s increasingly application-centric IT operations. Infrastructure and applications support professionals who are looking for a comprehensive APM solution can benefit from using SharePath to manage complex service-oriented environments.”

Additionally, users can now leverage SharePath’s updated analytic capabilities to significantly reduce time-to-isolation. A new application dashboard provides a focused view of trends along with contextual drill downs. The weekly application performance report gives both IT and business stakeholders an intuitive view of real-time and historical trends. Finally, new change analysis capabilities allow users to compare the time frames before and after a change was made in the application, in order to isolate and eliminate new bottlenecks..

Updated data center intelligence features improve usability and help users understand real-time trend data and performance metrics. New response time and volume graphs are now correlated with a breakdown graph, making performance monitoring much easier. Data may also be displayed as processing time per transaction, allowing a quick understanding of how different tiers affect user response times.

“Our support staff loves the dashboard view and the concise information it gives them about their application on one page,” said Andrew Elkin, Capacity Planning Analyst, Network Rail. “The new weekly performance report is a great summary used by business owners and senior management and the analytics views makes diagnosing performance problems very easy.”

Using patent-pending transaction tracking technology, SharePath offers advanced behavior modeling, real user monitoring, code level visibility, and advanced analytics in a single platform. A free, downloadable version of SharePath 2.5 is available at: real-user-monitoring.com

About Correlsense:
Correlsense is a leading provider of application performance management solutions. The company’s flagship product, SharePath, is a transaction management solution which enables IT organizations to be more agile when introducing new business services in physical, virtual or hybrid environments. Leveraging a unique approach that combines both transaction tracking and automatic application behavior modeling, SharePath provides IT organizations with actionable knowledge on how to avoid disruptions, maintain high service levels and constantly improve end-user experience. The company was recently recognized as a “Visionary” in Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant.” Correlsense was founded in 2005 and is privately held. For more information please visit www.correlsense.com.

Media Contact:
Frank Days
Correlsense
+1 508 318 6488 x211
frankd@correlsense.com

December 5, 2011

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IT Performance Metrics and Airplanes

I am writing this post on an airplane, traveling home from a great visit with a customer of ours. Well, more like a partner. It was the kind of meeting that makes me really love my job: working with smart people who run huge, complex systems in constantly-changing environments.

These meetings involve the usual stuff – syncing about the latest tech issues, planning the next steps, discussing training, challenges, implementation processes, unforeseen needs and service feedback. I try to learn what they are doing with the product, look for test cases and probe into the product as well as the service.

One specific thing I am always trying to find out is how are they running their performance process? Who is responsible for it? How is it implemented, both in test and production?

I know that performance is agile and often changing. There isn’t always a dedicated team to run it. Sometimes, it is the IT ops (mainly for production); sometimes it’s the App owners/developers, sometimes performance engineers. These teams can either operate per unit, or for the company as a whole. Obviously, the root of any degradation needs to be found both in testing and production, and it should be a cross-IT effort.

Since performance involves so many components throughout IT, it’s hard to find the right people that can maximize performance. A performance expert needs to be able to look horizontally over all the components, and have the ability to comment on and investigate them professionally. Each component (OS, DB, network etc.) is a whole, and it can take years to master so many fields.

Generally speaking, performance is simply a non-standard structure.

I remember when I ran an operations team in the past; we had a very long argument over whether the DBA’s should be centralized or per application. Eventually, we decided to have one centralized (system DBA’s) and several application-specific (application DBA’s). This kind of structure, along with Data Warehouse DBA’s, has since become a standard in the IT industry.

It will be interesting to see how that performance works out.

August 3, 2011

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Reducing Risk During a Data Center Migration

Although data center migration projects are multifaceted—from construction to cooling to provisioning software and storage—the primary objective is to facilitate the delivery of IT services to end users in a cost-effective manner.

If applications are not performing up to par after a data center migration, it doesn’t really matter how good the cooling, power and servers are running. That is why it is imperative to invest in the right monitoring tools as part of the data center migration. The Importance of Benchmarking before a Data Center Migration

The Importance of Benchmarking before a Data Center Migration

Consider a scenario where a business-critical application is moved from an old data center to a new one as part of a data center migration. Users start complaining that the application is not running the same as it did before the data center migration. As the CIO or data center director, you may feel that this is impossible. After all, the new data center has more powerful servers, more capacity and more network bandwidth!
Tip #1: In order to avoid this scenario, it is important to benchmark application performance from the end user perspective both before and after the data center migration.

Consider a scenario where a business-critical application is moved from an old data center to a new one as part of a data center migration. Users start complaining that the application is not running the same as it did before the data center migration. As the CIO or data center director, you may feel that this is impossible. After all, the new data center has more powerful servers, more capacity and more network bandwidth!

Tip #1: In order to avoid this scenario, it is important to benchmark application performance from the end user perspective both before and after the data center migration.

Consider another scenario: one of the applications that needs to move as part of the data center migration has a large number of dependencies, increasing its complexity. It calls external web services, the mainframe, and third-party applications. However, how can you be certain what all of those dependencies are in order to ensure they are available in the new data center after the migration?

All dependencies of the application must be automatically detected prior to the data center migration in order to rule out human error.

Mitigating risk after a Data Center Migration

Once the new location has been established and wired, the servers have been put into place, and all software has been installed, you are ready to start funneling traffic to your new masterpiece. What can you do if—despite all of your meticulous planning—traffic starts hitting your new application and performance is unacceptable?

Millions of dollars have been invested in the data center migration, project milestones have been met, the applications are up, but if users are not happy with performance that is all that matters.

Tip #2: Make sure that you don’t make any assumptions about the state of the data center after the data center migration. The only way to know for certain there are no problems once the applications have been moved is to automatically detect every individual transaction from each and every user and follow its path throughout the data center. By accounting for all transactions through all hops, you will always know when or if service is disrupted. Most importantly, you will know exactly what the problem is so you can fix it instead of rolling back to the old data center.

Data Center Migration and SharePath

Data center relocations are projects that bring significant risk to the business. This risk can be mitigated with a solid plan that focuses on understanding the current business transaction workload and data center configuration, as well as the future data center configuration and associated business transaction workloads.

  • SharePath by Correlsense mitigates the technical and financial risks associated with the complex projects like data center migrations.
  • SharePath quickly identifies the behavior of business transactions and their subordinate technical transactions.
    This transparency greatly improves the relationship between IT staff and business personnel challenged with the implementation of high risk, multimillion dollar projects. Click here to watch a video.

July 25, 2011

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ASG Software Solutions Partners with Correlsense to Add Advanced Transaction Management Capabilities

Framingham, MA | July 25, 2011 - ASG Software Solutions announced today that it has entered into a strategic marketing relationship with Correlsense, Inc., a Gartner Group “Cool Vendor” and APM Innovator. Headquartered in Framingham, MA, Correlsense offers cross-platform Application Performance Management through Business Transaction Management to help companies boost IT reliability, lower costs, and gain better visibility into the multi-tiered transaction systems.

“As enterprises migrate infrastructures and workloads to cloud technologies, they need new ways to monitor applications across these increasingly complex environments.”

“Correlsense’s SharePath provides a unique approach to monitoring applications and transactions which complements our diverse portfolio of network and application management tools,” said Arthur Allen, President and CEO of ASG. “As enterprises migrate infrastructures and workloads to cloud technologies, they need new ways to monitor applications across these increasingly complex environments.”

SharePath’s patent–pending technology provides unprecedented transparency into the many paths that transactions follow throughout the enterprise. ASG will be marketing and selling SharePath along with ASG’s real, synthetic and deep-dive monitoring tools such as TMON, TriTune, PERFMAN and others. SharePath views everything flowing into and out of a server at the operating system level. This low-overhead approach makes SharePath simple to implement, easy to use, and available for a diverse range of customer configurations. Today’s dynamic distributed virtualized cloud environments can benefit from real-time tracking of transactions as they move from tier to tier, server to server, and application to application without system constraints. Enterprises can also mitigate mainframe MIPS costs by understanding which applications, transactions, and users create the greatest system loads.

“We are excited to partner with a market leader like ASG,” said Oren Elias, CEO of Correlsense. “Using SharePath, along with TMON and other ASG products, provides in-depth views of application transactions from the end user all the way to the database and mainframe, giving CIOs and IT managers a more effective way to monitor and troubleshoot Cloud, virtual, and traditional IT applications.”

About ASG

ASG Software Solutions is a global software solutions provider that helps more than 85 percent of the world’s largest companies drive business success by managing complex IT operations across distributed, mainframe, and cloud environments.

More than 3,200 customers worldwide successfully reduce costs, improve business-service delivery, and reduce risks by using ASG’s broad portfolio of solutions, including Cloud Management, Metadata Management, Information Management, Applications Management, Infrastructure Management, Operations Management, Performance Management, and Enterprise Automation Management (EAMS). To further capitalize on technology innovation, ASG’s Cloud Orchestration Suite offers companies an easy on-ramp to the cloud by integrating cloud-based applications with existing applications and databases.

Founded in 1986 by Arthur L. Allen, ASG is a privately-held company based in Naples, Florida, USA, with approximately 1,100 employees and 74 Offices in 31 Countries. Learn more at www.asg.com.

About Correlsense

Correlsense is a leading provider of application performance management solutions. The company’s flagship product, SharePath, is a transaction management solution which enables IT organizations to be more agile when introducing new business services in physical, virtual, or hybrid environments. Effortless to install, a SharePath solution can be up, running, and providing value in less than a day. Leveraging a unique approach that combines both transaction tracking and automatic application behavior modeling, SharePath provides IT organizations with actionable knowledge on how to avoid disruptions, maintain high service levels, and constantly improve end-user experience. For more information please visit www.correlsense.com or download the free Express edition of SharePath at www.real-user-monitoring.com

May 12, 2011

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EMA Webinar: Measuring User Experience in the Cloud

Cloud computing brings with it many benefits, especially lower IT costs and increased flexibility. However, the dynamic, hybrid nature of Cloud environments require enterprises to re-think their existing IT management processes and tools. Applications that perform poorly and fail to meet service levels — whether on premise or in the Cloud — can cause users to churn and revenues to drop.

See below for a recording of an online seminar from EMA Research Director Julie Craig and Correlsense CEO Oren Elias that will highlight ways to measure how end users experience your business applications, as well as identify which approaches are likely candidates for a long-term strategy.

Attendees will learn:

    • How end-user response times are impacted by components and new changes that are introduced in the IT environment
    • The 3 tips for managing Cloud-based applications
    • The “secret sauce” for reliable end user monitoring, based on customer case studies that will be presented

View the recording now at: http://bit.ly/jc3k9i.

March 14, 2011

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Correlsense Unveils SharePath RUM Express, Enterprise and Cloud Editions to Manage Web-based Application Performance

Correlsense, a provider of IT Reliability™ solutions, today announced the availability of SharePath RUM Express, the only free, purely software-based solution for measuring the end-user experience of cloud-based and on-premise applications. In addition, Correlsense also launched the SharePath RUM Enterprise and Cloud editions, which offer expanded capabilities at an affordable price guaranteed to be 85 percent less expensive than comparable real user monitoring solutions available today.

Customer-facing applications, such as online banking and e-commerce, are used by businesses to drive revenue and ensure business continuity. Real user monitoring (RUM) lets businesses isolate problems and pinpoint bottlenecks that exist in the data center, network or applications. With this information easily accessible, enterprises can proactively identify and fix problems before customers are affected, reducing the number of service complaints and solidifying customer loyalty.

“We operate a complex, multi-site Web application, and our customers’ experiences are very important to us,” said Matty Roter, director of IT and operations at SuperDerivatives, Inc., the derivatives benchmark and leading multi-asset front office system provider. “We chose SharePath RUM because it lets us monitor and analyze performance without installing any components on the client side. We installed SharePath on Web servers in our New York and London data centers. Using SharePath RUM, we are able to identify application and networking challenges and take proactive action to correct them, ensuring optimal performance for our customers at all times.”

IT teams can use SharePath RUM to monitor service levels in public cloud environments such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), as well as for privately hosted applications. The solution is preconfigured for easy, rapid deployment. Within minutes, businesses gain multi-level visibility into the user experience, including the time it takes a transaction to complete from a click at the desktop through the IT infrastructure and back.

Other valuable metrics SharePath RUM Express offers include the speed at which the data center processes user requests, the network delays between the end user and the data center, and the time it takes a browser to completely render a Web page. SharePath RUM Express measures every end-user interaction, unlike some solutions that rely upon synthetic transactions and consequently deliver a less reliable picture of true user experience.

The free version of SharePath RUM Express, along with supporting resources, is available for download at http://www.real-user-monitoring.com. This perpetual license supports two Web servers and one application. The SharePath RUM Enterprise Edition offers additional scalability for multiple Web servers and applications at a significantly reduced cost when compared to any other solution on the market.

“IT operations are struggling to manage application performance in agile environments that experience frequent and extensive change,” said Oren Elias, CEO of Correlsense. “With SharePath RUM, enterprises gain visibility into what the real user experience is and the improvements that are needed, leading to greater IT reliability and better customer experiences with online applications.”

About Correlsense
Correlsense SharePath provides a breakthrough in IT Reliability™ by enabling for the first time both a bird’s-eye and detailed view of how business transactions perform across the four dimensions of end-users, applications, infrastructure and business processes. While other service management and performance management applications focus on identifying problems at individual components (servers, databases, etc.), SharePath automatically detects and traces each entire transaction path, from a click in the browser through all its hops across data center tiers. With the ability to record and correlate individual transaction activations across both physical and virtual components, IT gains full visibility of the transaction metrics required to ensure IT Reliability™ for packaged and homegrown applications. The rich data from SharePath is used by major enterprises to rapidly pinpoint and solve problems and to gain unprecedented insights for their IT service management initiatives such as ITIL.

July 27, 2010

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GAINSCO Selects Correlsense SharePath Software

Auto insurance provider uses transaction management technology to increase speed and performance of its primary online application

Correlsense, a provider of IT reliability solutions, today announced that GAINSCO, Inc. (NYSE Amex: GAN), through its insurance subsidiary, MGA Insurance Company, Inc., and its insurance brand, GAINSCO Auto Insurance (collectively, “GAINSCO”), is using Correlsense SharePath software to manage transactions in its data center. SharePath is providing GAINSCO with insight into how applications are performing in real time so the company can take corrective action before experiencing any negative impact to business operations.

GAINSCO, a property and casualty insurance provider, deployed SharePath to improve the speed of GAINSCO Connect, an online portal used by its U.S.-based insurance agents for quoting and maintaining auto policy information. As a result of implementing SharePath, GAINSCO immediately began aggregating transaction-level data from all data center tiers to quickly detect the online portal’s transactions, monitoring all service levels, performance and speed.

“We wanted to improve the user experience of our Web-based, self-service portal so agents could get the information they need to write new business,” said Phil West, chief information officer. “We dropped SharePath into our environment and were able to start monitoring transactions right away, even pinpointing issues right down to an errant SQL statement that previously might have taken us days to identify. SharePath is essential for managing our day-to-day operations, and the data we collect helps us better plan for change management.”

Correlsense helps businesses achieve IT reliability by detecting degradations and outages caused by poorly performing applications. SharePath transaction path detection software tracks every transaction through each hop in the data center, from a click in the browser all the way through the data center including proxy servers, Web servers, application servers, message brokers, databases and mainframe. Enterprises such as GAINSCO also use SharePath analytics to optimize the end-user experience, minimize the risks associated with new service roll-outs, issue chargebacks for IT resources consumed and improve the capacity planning process.

“We designed SharePath from the ground up to help companies like GAINSCO monitor 100 percent of transactions without any negative impact on their production environments,” said Oren Elias, Correlsense CEO. “GAINSCO’s strategic approach to IT reliability moves beyond mere performance management to full utilization of all the meaningful data that SharePath provides. By doing so, GAINSCO bolsters other key IT initiatives such as planning, auditing and change management and achieves complete IT reliability where it counts the most – in primary applications crucial to the success of partners and customers.”

Correlsense Resources:

About GAINSCO
GAINSCO, Inc. (NYSE Amex: GAN), through its insurance brand, GAINSCO Auto Insurance, specializes in minimum-limits personal auto coverage, which is sold through a network of thousands of independent agents in the states of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, South Carolina and Texas. Established in 1978, GAINSCO’s corporate headquarters is located in Dallas, Texas, with a key regional field office in Miami, Florida. Its insurance company subsidiary is MGA Insurance Company, Inc. For more information, visit www.GAINSCO.com.

About Correlsense
Correlsense SharePath provides a breakthrough in IT Reliability™ by enabling for the first time both a bird’s-eye and detailed view of how business transactions perform across the four dimensions (4D) of end-users, applications, infrastructure and business processes. While other service management and performance management applications focus on identifying problems at individual components (servers, databases, etc.), SharePath automatically detects and traces each entire transaction path, from a click in the browser through all its hops across data center tiers. With the ability to record and correlate individual transaction activations across both physical and virtual components, IT gains full visibility of the transaction metrics required to ensure IT Reliability™ for packaged and homegrown applications. The rich data from SharePath is used by major enterprises to rapidly pinpoint and solve problems and to gain unprecedented insights for their IT Service Management initiatives such as ITIL. For more information please visit www.correlsense.com.