Managing The Composite Applications Conundrum

Application management is becoming one of the hottest sectors in enterprise computing as IT organizations try to optimize their system and network resources. Wily Technology focuses exclusively on this space for Java-built applications. Wily founder and CTO Lewis Cirne spoke with editor in chief Michael Vizard about why next-generation, component-based applications create a need for more sophisticated application management—in turn, opening up opportunities for solution providers.

CRN: Why does the industry need a company focused primarily on application management for Java environments?

CIRNE: The challenges associated with keeping those types of systems up and running are significant and require totally new products and methodologies because they are component-based. They introduce new levels of complexity and rates of change that demand a totally new systems management approach.

CRN: How does Wily's product work?

CIRNE: We can see inside a live Java application at a very high level of granularity and see every transaction running through that application in realtime. As the application starts up, you deploy our agent into that application server. The agent lets the application code then run in self-diagnostic mode. The tricky thing is being able to do that in a way that's totally nonintrusive. CRN: In a world dominated by component-based application development models, why does this matter?

Sponsored post

CIRNE: The benefit of J2EE is rapid application assembly. The downside of that is now you have component-based application assembly and, by definition, a lot of cooks in the kitchen. People build their own components that may be functionally correct and perform well in isolation. But when they interact with dozens of other components in a production environment, it's a totally different game. No matter how thorough your QA [Quality Assurance] suite is, there will be problems that only show up in production.

CRN: Beyond basic application management, where will you take Wily next?

CIRNE: First, we're going up the stack. Recently, we announced Wily Portal Manager. We see a lot of adoption of portal technology, which of course sits on top of J2EE. We introduced the first product specifically designed to manage your portal. It turns out that these systems are even more complex and require even more sophisticated management tools.

CRN: How will that information be applied to business performance management?

CIRNE: We are able to monitor the performance of Java components and present their performance in terms of the business functions they create. By using our software, our customers can look at the performance of their application in business terms based on the real transactions they are executing through the system.

CRN: What impact will the emergence of composite applications that span multiple applications have on the application management space?

CIRNE: You're going to have finger-pointing not only across the room, but also across the globe. With technologies like Web services, an application may be interacting in realtime with third parties that are the cause of the problem. Having the ability to monitor that entire set of composite applications is going to be extremely important and valuable to customers.

CRN: Does Wily plan to add support for Microsoft .Net applications?

CIRNE: From what we can see, it has not reached a critical mass yet where it makes sense for us to invest in it. But our mission is to manage applications of that nature. If that includes Microsoft .Net, then we will play in that space.

CRN: How many solution provider partners does Wily have today?

CIRNE: We sell mostly direct. I think we have somewhere around 10 resellers, but it's growing. That will be something of significant focus for us in 2005, to help us rapidly attack markets in Europe and certain verticals throughout the United States.

CRN: So just how big of an opportunity is this space?

CIRNE: I recently spoke to a guy who reports to the CIO of a top-five global bank. He told me that every single enterprise application they have will be based on J2EE within the next five to 10 years. So the market opportunity is massive. Enterprises around the world are moving to this totally new architecture, and there is going to be a need to manage those applications.