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Stealthy BlueStripe Concentrates On Managing Apps In VMs

The company's FactFinder product will initially work with applications in virtual machines generated by VMware's ESX Server and with Citrix Systems XenServer.

Think virtualization of the data center is hot? It's going to get hotter, if newcomer BlueStripe Software has its way.

BlueStripe is made up of veterans of Wily Technology, which specialized in monitoring the interior operations of Java applications. At a time when other monitoring systems told you an application was responding poorly, Wily's Introscope told you both about the laggard response time and why it was performing poorly. That's one reason CA paid $375 million for it in 2006.

Now BlueStripe is trying to bring some of those application smarts to running enterprise applications in virtual machines. The target remains a high hurdle for data center managers because more than one server is involved in running the typical enterprise application, such as an application host plus a database server, or the multiple servers running various parts of an SOA application.

BlueStripe was launched to enable an additional wave of enterprise application virtualization through its product, launched on Monday, FactFinder. It is designed to discover and map the various parts of an application, establish measures of its operation when in good health, then spot falloffs from those standards when performance degrades, said CEO Chris Neal, former Wily VP of field operations for the Americas, in an interview.

Application performance management used to amount to presenting a picture of one server's operation. With virtualization taking over the data center, the question becomes, "Where is my application? The virtual machine system administrator moved it and I didn't know that," said Vic Nyman, BlueStripe COO, a former Wily executive VP of engineering.

Moving virtual machines around is a way to save energy and server capital costs. But it adds new problems for those dedicated to providing guaranteed levels of service delivery to customers and business partners, said Neal.

Other vendors can stake their future on managing the virtual machine. BlueStripe is targeting management of the application running in one or more virtual machines. "Virtualization has upset the status quo," said Neal.

After discovering and mapping application dependencies, FactFinder is able to report on user access times, application response times, where an application is having network access or database access trouble, and other key indicator of application performance health.

FactFinder is in a pre-release stage and will be exhibited at VMworld in Las Vegas next week. It will initially work with applications in virtual machines generated by VMware's ESX Server and with Citrix Systems XenServer -- its second target hypervisor to support. It will become generally available later this year. Microsoft's Hyper-V will be its third target to support. Pricing is still to be set.

Neal said VMworld represents the "coming out of stealth mode" for the startup. It is backed by Trinity Ventures, with Trinity founder Noel Fenton on BlueStripe's board of directors.

For more on server virtualization, InformationWeek has published an independent survey of the marketplace. Download the report here (registration required).

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