Analyze this: Just how good is your site?

Analyze this: Just how good is your site?

BY SUSAN M. MENKE | GCN STAFF

It's futile to point fingers when a mission-critical Web site fails to perform as expected, BMC Software Inc.'s Mary Nugent believes.

'Just because you've got a well-oiled machine inside the firewall doesn't mean it's the same outside the firewall,' said Nugent, director of corporate development for the Houston software company.

Pinging the home page gives unrealistic performance metrics that bear no relation to actual end-to-end transactions, she said. As agencies strive to meet the online service requirements of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, she said, they need to analyze transaction paths on their sites from the outside in.

Testing: 1, 2, 3

BMC is offering free trials of a tool it has acquired to measure end-to-end performance of Web servers, load balancers, firewalls and other site components. The tool, called SiteAngel 2000, does not monitor uncontrollable factors such as Internet backbone performance but rather the quality of things the site manager can correct.
'Monitor what you can manage,' product marketing manager Brandon Whichard said.



size="2" color="#FF0000">SiteAngel graphs a Web site's end-to-end performance against user-set goals at intervals.


SiteAngel is a software subscription, delivered by Web browser. BMC has integrated it with the Patrol diagnostic and performance management software used by numerous federal agencies.

At user-set intervals, SiteAngel measures such things as critical-path performance, page loading, availability and time to resolve failures. It sends out Secure Hypertext Transfer Protocol requests that simulate real user requests, then returns results as Extensible Markup Language data that is parsed by Patrol.

SiteAngel draws multiline graphs of CPU usage, disk activity, database cache hits and other factors that can put bottlenecks in overall performance.

Because it works through a browser, SiteAngel can format multiple types of reports for different users. Users must first click through different paths on the site to set the performance and availability goals against which SiteAngel will test.

Whichard said it costs about $4,000 annually to conduct one automated SiteAngel analysis per hour, and about $6,000 for two per hour.

Current Patrol users can have SiteAngel integrated at no cost. Others can sign up for a month's free evaluation at www.bmc.com/siteangel/trial.html. The free trial is limited to two SiteAngel analyses per hour.

Contact BMC's Mary Nugent at 713-918-1457.

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