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Sharing Data Between Operations and Development Goal of New IBM Tools

IBM is shipping two new toolkits that combine technologies from two of its middleware businesses – Rational and Tivoli – to help developers and operators diagnose problems in production code while it’s running.

“IBM software can now measure real-time performance of an application in production, identify defects at the moment they occur, and send key information back to development, enabling the developer to diagnose the precise location of code defects and performance bottlenecks,” IBM said in a statement. The idea is to enable “both operations and development teams to have a common view of the problem, helping organizations gain the holistic, end-to-end view that is fundamental to IT lifecycle management.”

The announcement came at the Rational Software Development Conference this week in Las Vegas. It illustrates the kinds of synergies IBM is gaining from its acquisition of Rational Software just over two years ago.

The two new toolkits are dubbed the IBM Problem Resolution Toolkit for Rational Application Developer and IBM Performance Optimization Toolkit for Rational Performance Tester.

The two new offerings combine functions of Rational’s development and testing tools with Tivoli’s application management software. “Development teams that design, build and test applications and the IT operations staffs that run them can [now] share previously siloed information about their performance,” according to IBM’s statement.

The IBM Problem Resolution Toolkit for IBM Rational Application Developer for WebSphere Software extends IBM Rational Application Developer and IBM Rational Software Architect, providing tools for viewing and analyzing production data. It maps transaction performance data collected in production by IBM Tivoli Monitoring for Transaction Performance onto the underlying code.

Meanwhile, IBM Performance Optimization Toolkit for IBM Rational Performance Tester provides testers with application monitoring capabilities of J2EE applications during load testing with Rational Performance Tester. “The toolkit enables the performance tester to collect, analyze, isolate and document performance trace data,” says IBM’s statement.

The Tivoli tool monitors performance of a live application, tracing and storing details of performance or quality issues. The IBM Problem Resolution Toolkit enables the developer to access the stored information in order to isolate the cause of the problem down to the source code.

IBM Performance Optimization Toolkit uses data collectors based on Tivoli software during the application testing process. When a problem is identified in the test lab, the toolkit uses Tivoli's “autonomic” capabilities to suggest probable causes and resolutions. If the probable cause is linked to the application source code, the recorded information can then be passed over to the application’s developers.

IBM Rational Application Developer costs $4,000 per user, while IBM Rational Performance Tester costs $1,500 per user. The two toolkits are free to customers who have a current maintenance agreement.

The tools run on Windows Server 2003, both standard and enterprise editions, and on Windows 2000 (Service pack 3 or 4) Professional, Server and Advanced Server. Additionally, they run on Windows XP (Service Pack 1 or 2).

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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