Wily pushes portal management

FRAMINGHAM (01/26/2004) - Companies deploying enterprise portals now need a way to manage them. At least that's what Wily Technology Inc. is betting with this week's release of software to monitor performance across the multiple applications that portals unite.

Wily Portal Manager builds on the company's Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition (J2EE) application performance management software by letting companies track the performance of multiple applications and how they respond in the portal environment. Portal Manager will work exclusively with IBM Corp. WebSphere Portal 5.0, but Wily says it plans to expand its support for other application platform suites.

Based on industry surveys, demand for portals is on the rise. Thirty-two percent of respondents to a recent Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. survey of 50 IT executives said corporate portals top their spending priorities this year. Separately, Meta Group Inc. estimates that by 2007 about 35 percent of companies will treat portals as core systems, up from less than 10 percent last year. Updated portals from BEA Systems Inc. and IBM should help to spur deployment. These efforts should boost demand for management tools, observers say.

"Management concerns start seriously cropping up only after people are using a new technology," says Jasmine Noel, a partner at Ptak, Noel & Associates. "Early (portal software) users have put it in production and are beginning to realize that it is a black box when it comes to monitoring performance or debugging problems."

Rather than just reporting on how the portal performs, Wily says its product can provide a view into the performance of front-end portal applications, or portlets -- and the systems connected to the portlets on the back end.

Portal Manager, which costs about US$3,000 per CPU, is installed on the same server as IBM WebSphere Portal and discovers the portal environment upon start-up. Software agents and probes are distributed and installed in Java virtual machines and applications, respectively. The agents watch portal applications, discover which components are being used and collect data on the components' performance.

As part of the package Wily offers the Enterprise Manager console, which typically sits on a dedicated server and is used to centrally manage the portal-based applications overseen by Portal Manager. The console software features a Web-based interface from which data can be analyzed and reports can be viewed.

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