Covalent Provides Unified Web Apps Management

Covalent Technologies is offering a application management suite that looks to help devs better tie together their .NET and Java apps with Open Source assets. See how Covalent's upgraded CAM (Covalent Application Manager) suite will help make integrating legacy with Open Source a little less painful, and provide a one-stop view of .NET and Java apps that tie in with Tomcat, JBoss, Linux, Apache, and MySQL.

Tags: Open Source, CAM, Management, Server, Applications, Tomcat, Zemlin,

Covalent Technologies has released an upgrade to its CAM (Covalent Application Manager) suite that will manage all cross-platform web application that combine .NET or Java apps with Open Source resources, including Tomcat, JBoss, Linux, Apache, and MySQL.

The result, Covalent execs say, is that enterprises can now get the same type of application management and visibility for Open Source that they get for vendor-provided NET and Java technologies.

"Managing Open Source has traditionally been a real problem for many enterprises," Mark Douglas, Covalent's VP of engineering told IDN. "Our typical customer operations team is managing one application across platforms, and they typically don't want 101 tools to cover all the technologies they have."

As an example, Douglas said, "CAM is managing multiple applications with .NET and Open Source. For CAM, there is no difference between Open Source and Microsoft software like .NET and SQL Server. The key is that CAM sees those as products providing services and applications and doesn't care what the license is that the code is developed under.

Inside Covalent's Apps Management
What customers are saying is: 'Provide us with the depth of visibility for Open Source that we can't get anywhere else. But, more than that, also provide us with the same visibility for our components that touch Open Source in the same view.' As an example, National Semiconductor, an early CAM user, wants to be able to drill down on the performance of their Apache and Tomcat servers, but they also want to get a view of the proprietary SQL database that's tied in with those servers.

At the heart of CAM are the four (4) core management/visibility functions:
  • Mapping applications and supporting resources
  • Measuring application service levels and resolving problems quickly
  • Controlling applications to resolve problems
  • Analyzing application data for reporting, forecasting and planning

    Combined and correlated across multiple Open Source and commercial software platforms, these features present one integrated application view by automatically discovering and then correlating multiple components of a Web application.

    "For instance, CAM might reveal an underlying memory leak on the application server platform that one of the servlets that pick up transactions relies on. With CAM, I can drill down into that location, and even restart my server to solve my problem. What happens today is a guy is looking through log files, calling his DBA or whoever, just trying to figure out the problem. And that can take upwards of 25 hours or more. We can provide a better view of the data and help the manager find and fix his problem in less than 2 [hours]."

    Curing the Open Source Achilles' Heel
    "What we're really seeing out there is OS Achilles Heel in terms of customers implementing Open Source. Management of Open Source software is like a ticking time bomb," Jim Zemlin, Covalent's vice president of marketing added.

    "Open Source is great for building an HTTP server, or a standards-based server infrastructure, but it's more difficult to take system administration operational expertise and productize that in a systematic way for Open Source software," Zemlin said. "But,
    Enterprise customers are beginning to bring use Open Source with their installed base SQL, ASP/.NET and Java applications. But, not without some difficulties.

    "There is no [management] group out there, and there are no specs for building a UI that will create robust system monitoring for Open Source or other legacy software components that interact with Open Source, such as commercial databases or app servers," Zemlin told IDN "Now it's much more than just Linux," Zemlin said. "It's Apache versus SunOne, and Tomcat and JBoss versus BEA.""But, what's happening is that once these projects get deployed and reach a level of maturity customers are stopping and saying, "Oh my God! Now I've got production issues or performance issues, and I don't have a management solution to deal with it."

    Zemlin offers an example of where CAM is already assisting enterprise devs and managers: "Say there is a case where I am having a response time problem for my order entry application. From the CAM console I am given a correlated view of all the data that would help detect the problem.

    All this capability to capture, view and share data from within Open Source applications is a result of Covalent's own research work to make Open Source more manageable.

    "One of the things we did was help bring Tomcat into compliance with JMX. While BEA and Websphere have been JMX compliant for some time, there was really no adherence to JMX form the Open Source community," Zemlin said. "Then we submitted that code back to Tomcat," The result is that Tomcat can now provide more visibility about its internal operations, and provide more detail about its performance metrics, he added.

    Another element to Covalent's approach is the creation of an application model that will virtually represent within the CAM framework all the interconnections and all the components that make up a web application. To make it easier to find and fix a problem, CAM has built an application model that will virtually represent within the CAM framework all the interconnections and all the components that make up an end-to-end web application. That might include, for example, a Linux server, an Apache/Tomcat server, a backend SQL database, a J2EE app server and even an EJB or two.

    More CAM info is available, including an FAQ and a Flash demo.