Quest for the Holy Grail of management

A wide range of products are to be released and one analyst says while it's a good move, some rationalisation may be needed. By Eric Lai

Quest Software, best-known for its database management tools, plans to bolster its application management lineup by releasing 72 self-tuning and performance management tools this year.

Quest, which claims half a million users for its Toad family of management tools, which run on multiple databases, announced a beta of a new application release management product, code-named Zanzibar, earlier this month. Zanzibar helps automate the deployment of applications, correlates change details with performance data to diagnose problems, and records all changes and related events for auditing, says Larry Humphries, vice president of product management at Quest.

“We can dive down and do analytics at the 30,000-foot level or at the five-foot level,” he says.

Next month, Quest plans to release tools to optimise .Net and SAP system performance. During the second half of the year, it will release products leveraging configuration management database technologies to help companies model their technology assets so that problems can be anticipated and attacked preemptively, Humphries says.

The company’s overall strategy is called Application Advantage, Humphries says. As with its Toad tools, which provided a common, easy-to-use interface for database administrators, Quest’s application management tools will ease the need for IT staffers to be retrained for every new application a company adds or migrates to, he says.

“I think CIOs should certainly look closely at Quest, especially for point products to solve specific problems,” says Andi Mann, an analyst with Enterprise Management Associates. “In application management, they are very capable and have very broad coverage.”

However, Mann also warned CIOs to be “wary” of buying Quest’s entire suite without looking it over carefully.

“I am not privy to their development plans, but I hope that some of the 72 product releases include closer integration and some product rationalisation,” he says. “They have too many barely-related products right now. They have made a start on rationalisation, but they have a long way yet to go.”

Besides its database management tools, Quest earlier this year released its Vintela family of plug-ins for Microsoft Operations Manager that allow IT managers to oversee their Windows and Linux machines from a single console.

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