EE: How did the development of this technology come about?
Manery: We acquired Gomez in 2009 and then dynaTrace in 2011. This propelled our APM leadership position. Shortly after this, the dynaTrace and Strobe teams began working collaboratively to extend dynaTrace’s PurePath technology into the mainframe. We’re now working with enterprises in the financial and insurance industries that are telling us they’re estimating between a 50 and 85 percent time savings in problem resolution because of the new capabilities our technology delivers to them in the areas of end-to-end transaction visibility and monitoring.
EE: Why does Compuware continue to invest in the mainframe when others seem to be reducing their investments?
Manery: Compuware has worked on cutting-edge solutions for the mainframe for 40 years. We’ve been a pioneer and a leader in the delivery of highly sophisticated products and solutions that have met the needs of the industry. We recognize and believe in the enormous value of the mainframe in enterprises, as evidenced by the world’s largest banks, insurance companies, and others that continue to rely on mainframe resources for their mission-critical applications. We also understand that the emergence of mobile and Web-facing applications has placed an additional load on the mainframe, which must now engage and integrate with new, hybridized transaction flows. This new hybrid application and transaction environment in turn creates new problems in areas of visibility and performance tuning that traditional systems tools don’t address. These new needs are major drivers behind why we developed PurePath for z/OS and integrated it with Strobe to create Compuware APM for Mainframe and “light up the mainframe” with expanded, deep dive visibility into hybrid transactions.
EE: How do you see this technology transforming the market?
Manery: We see the technology benefitting enterprises in a number of ways. The first benefit, which I touched on previously, is that APM for Mainframe enables deep transaction visibility from the edge of the Internet to the mainframe and back. Visibility of the total picture of what’s transpiring with transactions gives sites faster times to problem resolution. It also enables them to fine-tune these hybrid transactions, which in many cases enables them to postpone costly system upgrades.
APM for Mainframe with the visibility it affords also accelerates problem-solving and performance tuning to where there’s faster time-to-market for the end results of these efforts. Central to this issue are the war room discussions and finger-pointing that often occur between mainframe and distributed staff. These discussions are dramatically reduced when everyone is working with the same toolset and is looking at the same information on the dashboard.
APM for Mainframe also helps out enterprises in the areas of skills. Over the next decade, many mainframe professionals will be retiring from the workforce, and there will be a knowledge gap in the mainframe area. Solutions such as Compuware APM for Mainframe enable newer IT staff to quickly identify performance problems and tuning opportunities with a toolset that’s more intuitive and also more closely aligned to their experiences. New capabilities, for instance, automatically generate performance improvement recommendations for applications that staff can choose to apply. APM for Mainframe is intuitive and will report back to a dashboard what the main problems and resource issues are for a given application or transaction. It will eliminate the in-depth mainframe knowledge requirements for new IT staff that more experienced mainframe professionals were required to have. These tools are run as a rich client on a desktop, and aren’t “green screen” tools. This makes the user interface consistent with what one would find in the distributed computing world, and easier for new IT staff to adjust to—although they still will require some mainframe knowledge.
EE: How do you balance your mainframe heritage with your growing focus on Application Performance Management?
Manery: Over the years, we’ve continually worked to deliver mainframe solutions that enable our customers to increase their Return on Investment [ROI]. We’ve done a lot of this through product integration. The overall goal is to produce state-of-the-art technology that will help our customers’ businesses grow. We have also been engaged on other product fronts. One example is the extensive work we’ve invested in our Developer Productivity Solutions. This includes the Compuware Workbench, which uses the open-source Eclipse development environment. The end result is a user interface that’s more GUI-oriented and easier to work with. We’re looking continuously for new ways to improve our tools and products for today’s enterprise IT market. We’ve been recognized by Gartner for our leadership. Recognizing our ability to execute and completeness of vision, they’ve placed us in the Gartner APM Magic Quadrant (see Gartner, Inc.: “Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring,” by Jonah Kowall, Will Cappelli, Aug. 16, 2012). We’ve recognized the mainframe’s value to the enterprise and have developed the APM for Mainframe product. APM delivers end-to-end transaction visibility and allows a diversity of IT staff to work on mainframe-related issues.