TechWeb

Tracking Down Web Application Errors

Aug 25, 2005 (04:08 PM EDT)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=170100558


Most Web-site-monitoring systems simply watch application response times and provide site administrators with summaries about which applications are responding normally and which ones have falling response times.

But a disrupted user transaction appears normal to most monitoring systems. The transaction ends in an error message instead of the desired result, but it still appears normal because the error message is issued within the expected response time. For users of Web applications, such a response isn't acceptable.

Wily Technology Inc.'s Introscope 6.0, released this week, includes a new feature called ErrorDetector that not only detects the presence of error messages but pinpoints where the error is occurring within a transaction path, says Patrick Chang, Wily's senior product line manager. It also summarizes information about the error's root causes for administrators, he says.

Introscope places agents inside an application server that collect data and provide feedback to a central monitoring console. The agents monitor the responses of applications and the application server's ability to meet the demands of traffic on a Web site, Chang explains. The data collected by Introscope can be displayed on a dashboard or through a new Introscope feature called WebView, which allows remote administrators or business users to inspect the operations of Web-site applications.

"We solve problems all the time with this tool. It's changed the way [IT operations] presents itself to the business," said Eric Manikowski, director of IT operations at Cingular Wireless, in remarks he made at Gartner's IT XPO in May. Cingular has been an Introscope user for 2-1/2 years.

Instead of panicking and getting 23 experts on a conference call when an application fails, Introscope pinpoints the cause of the failure and three IT staffers consult on solving the problem, Manikowski said at the time.

Introscope is priced at $6,250 per CPU.