How e-business changes management

By Audrey Rasmussen, Network World |  Software

As companies become savvier about managing their e-business sites, it’s becoming more apparent that the tools that were designed to manage enterprise infrastructures are not adequate to manage Web sites.

While traditional, management tools provide some useful functions, they simply do not provide the detail or specificity essential to maximizing the availability and performance of Web sites. Web administrators also need tools to identify potential problems before they happen.

To satisfy these requirements, many management tools are building on their generalized approach by adding plug-in modules designed to manage a specific e-business application or platform, such as IBM’s WebSphere, BEA’s Weblogic, or Oracle.

The advantage of having specially designed modules for each application is access to deeper management information, which can help to more quickly pinpoint the source of problems. You also get more automation because presumably the modules are tailored to and better understand the inner workings of an application or platform.

There are many products using this new approach to manage e-business infrastructure. While this is not an exhaustive list of these types of products, some examples are Dirig, BMC Patrol and Hewlett-Packard VantagePoint.

Dirig offers plug-in modules called Specific Application Managers to monitor and manage pieces of an e-business infrastructure. Some of the modules that it has available are: Apache; Cold Fusion; Microsoft Internet Information Server; Oracle; MySQL; Microsoft SQL Server; Citrix Systems’ MetaFrame; Microsoft Exchange; Lotus Domino; Microsoft Terminal Server; and Microsoft Remote Access Server.

Likewise, BMC PATROL offers specific modules to manage parts of an e-business infrastructure. For example, there are modules to manage Internet services, Microsoft Site Server, and Check Point’s Firewall/1.

HP VantagePoint offers plug-ins for the following components: Oracle, Informix, Sybase, Remedy ARS, SQL Server, Broadvision, Exchange, Lotus Notes, Peoplesoft and SAP R/3.

In addition to the application- and platform-specific management tools listed above, there is also software to help rapidly identify and diagnose problems. For example, a performance management product that only indicates that there is a performance problem, rather than specifically pinpointing the source of the problem, is not useful in the e-business arena. While knowing that a problem is in the database server, even better is knowing what specifically in the database server was causing the problem. Tools used to manage the e-business infrastructure must provide enough information that administrators can go directly to the heart of the problem and resolve it quickly. In this dynamic environment, speed is of the essence.

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