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Compuware adds free Internet service assessment to on-premises application performance monitoring.

Charles Babcock

November 3, 2010

3 Min Read

Compuware has released CloudSleuth, a free cloud and web service performance monitor that develops an independent view of how well services on the web are running and gives that feedback to a related application-monitoring system in the data center. The combination tells a business manager what his business service looks like in the end user's browser window.

CloudSleuth provides a picture of how effectively the distributed parts of an application are working together, no matter where they are located, and appears to be a prototype of what is likely to be a new crop of tools for managing composite applications across web services and cloud operations.

It comes from an unlikely source, Compuware in Detroit. CloudSleuth marks a switch in strategy for a company that once made its fortune by supplying automakers with sophisticated software requirements-management and development tools.

Its application know-how is being reapplied to the Internet, where CloudSleuth combines feedback from 300 active monitors on the Internet backbone, while at the same time analyzing load-test data generated by 150,000 "headless" users. The so-called headless users are client machines located on the last mile of the Internet where their periodic, automated pings to web services, such the Microsoft search engine Bing, Internet advertising servers, or content delivery networks, give CloudSleuth feedback on where delays may be occurring among web services.

Compuware's on-premises performance analyzer, Vantage, can use the data to predict what an end user might be seeing in the browser window, as a composite application tries to assemble all its moving parts.

CloudSleuth is intended to monitor the performance of modern "borderless applications" that frequently tie into services outside the enterprise, said Doug Willoughby, Compuware's director of cloud strategy, in an interview.

CloudSleuth can tell how well an application is performing to an end user looking at a Microsoft Explorer window versus Mozilla's Firefox. It can tell if application running on a server in Amazon's EC2 data center in Virginia is performing up to speed, or for that matter, application components in the GoGrid, Microsoft Azure, or Google App Engine clouds.

Slideshow: Amazon's Case For Enterprise Cloud Computing

Slideshow: Amazon's Case For Enterprise Cloud Computing

Slideshow: Amazon's Case For Enterprise Cloud Computing (click image for larger view and for full slideshow)

The system is not a passive network sniffing tool. It is active, using the Gomez network acquired in October 2009 to load-test various Internet web services and report in to CloudSleuth's central command. Gomez keeps virtual machines running in the various clouds to supply feedback on their service slowdowns and establish baseline latencies for their operations.

CloudSleuth has existed in beta preview since April. Compuware officials announced it was generally available Nov. 1, and the following day Mark Hillman, Compuware VP of strategy, told attendees at the Cloud Computing Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, Calif., that his firm was trying to provide "outside-in visibility across the entire enterprise-Internet delivery chain."

In effect, CloudSleuth grafts performance data on services outside the company onto application performance data derived inside the company. In the past, it's been possible through traditional systems management to know whether an application was running and whether it was experiencing slowdowns due to internal systems. But it was extremely hard to get a view of what impact Internet network segment latencies or a slowdown at a major cloud service provider might be having.

With Compuware's headless users working tirelessly around the world to sample those services, it's now possible to build a more complete picture and tell when end users may be seeing a slowdown.

CloudSleuth regularly tests the performance of three content delivery networks as well. They provide a network of Internet servers that host distributed content sought by users far from where the content originates. They are CDNetworks, Edge Cast, and Amazon Cloud Front.

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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