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7/29/2011
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CA Buys Watchmouse, For Remote App Testing Power

Netherlands firm uses synthetic transactions generated from points around the world to test a cloud app's ability to respond.

CA Technologies has agreed to acquire Watchmouse B.V., based in the Netherlands, so it can offer an online service that monitors the performance of mobile and cloud applications.

CA already has an extensive application performance monitoring suite, but Watchmouse will complement that suite by solving the 3 a.m. problem when normal users are sleeping--but mice are busy.

"How can you be sure your application is up and running when no one is using it?" said Lokesh Jindal, VP of strategy at CA’s Nimsoft cloud computing unit, in an interview. Watchmouse launches synthetic calls to cloud services when their owners want to be certain they are up, running and prepared for the morning’s influx of traffic. The Watchmouse service is based on 60 monitoring stations in 40 countries. Each station generates periodic checks on certain remote applications and services and measures the response time.

Watchmouse is a monitoring service that won't necessarily provide deep analysis of what's wrong with a service, if responses prove sluggish or non-existent. CA already has an on-premises suite, CA Application Performance Monitoring solution, to provide analytics on running applications, including the Java application inspector and analyzer, CA Introscope. The product was formerly known as Wily Introscope before the firm was acquired by CA in $206 for $375 million. Watchmouse will expand CA's APM capabilities since it can test applications running in the cloud by generating synthetic transactions and measuring the response. While it can't see behind the cloud's application server, say, to a backend Java application, it can see the services running in a browser, identify their components and identify the one that is slowing down a service’s performance, Jindal said.

"If thousands of users are about to log on at 8 a.m., how can you be sure your application is going to be available if no one is using it?" said Melissa Sargeant, senior director of product marketing. Generating periodic synthetic calls to the service will tell its owner the basics about whether it is ready for the traffic or about to degrade.

CA is not the only firm interested in monitoring applications in the cloud. Compuware offers its own CloudSleuth monitoring service watching cloud service providers and recently acquired DynaTrace, a transaction tracking system, for $256 million. No price in the Watchmouse acquisition has been announced. The firm is privately held.

Find out how health IT leaders are dealing with the industry's pain points, from allowing unfettered patient data access to sharing electronic records. Also in the new, all-digital issue of InformationWeek Healthcare: There needs to be better e-communication between technologists and clinicians. Download the issue now. (Free registration required.)

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