Covalent Makes Managing Java Applications Easier

Covalent Technologies — the San Francisco company founded by some of the original Apache Web server programmers — this week rolled out a new tool aimed at helping IT departments handle the growing complexity involved in managing applications on the Web.

Called Covalent Application Manager (CAM), the tool gives IT managers a comprehensive list of the components involved in their applications, and then allows them to monitor and manage the complete application stack, from database, application and Web servers to custom Java code.

“Our customers have told us they’re drowning in Web application complexity,” says John Jack, Covalent’s CEO.

Just providing IT managers with a list of all the components involved in a typical Web application can be a huge help, says Covalent’s senior vice-president of engineering Mark Douglas. CAM does a survey not only of the various servers used in a Web application, but of the myriad servlets, Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs) and other software components involved.

“It can take a large company literally months to get this information,” says Douglas, “and in fact, they may never have a good idea of all of the custom software components that make up these applications, because they’re changing so rapidly.”

CAM is designed to let operations teams to manage applications as a whole, not individual servers. From one dashboard, users can not only see all of the various software pieces involved in an application, but navigate through them to isolate and correct problems.

“An operations group might get an alert that an application is not working,” explains Douglas, “and they’re able to see that their Tomcat server is not working. But what they don’t see today is the specific Tomcat servlet that’s causing the problem. CAM allows them to find the specific offending piece of custom software, and take action on that.”

“We’ve found that It takes users, on average, a day to diagnose problems,” Douglas says. “They look at the Web server logs, then at an application server tool, then a performance monitor tool, and then their Tivoli console. With CAM, they’re able to see their entire application at their desktop, and drill down to the problem and correct it, which has cut that time down to about an hour.”

CAM can manage BEA WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, JBoss, JRun and Tomcat application servers; Web servers including Apache, SunOne, and Microsoft IIS; and database servers from Oracle and Sybase.

The product runs on Linux, HP-UX, Solaris, AIX and Microsoft Windows. Pricing varies depending on the number of applications being managed; an average configuration starts at around $50,000.