Keynote touts monitoring tools for customer Web sites

Improvements in the latest version of Web site and network performance monitoring software from Keynote Systems Inc. now tell e-commerce companies far more than just whether there’s a problem with their revenue-generating Web site. The new features are designed to give real-time information on what the problem is and how to fix it.

The enhancements and three new products were announced by San Mateo, Calif.-based Keynote at the company’s Global Internet Performance Conference this week in San Francisco as the company moves to broaden its performance monitoring offerings for customers.

Chris D’Agostino, e-commerce development manager at office supply company Boise Office Solutions in Itasca, Ill., said that in beta testing, the enhancements in Keynote’s Transaction Perspective 4.0 application provide far more information to help IT staff find and fix any potential problems affecting their site.

D’Agostino said the new detail in site monitoring reports “helps my guys better diagnose what the problem is,” and offers deeper drill-down capabilities to pinpoint network or other system problems. The company had been using an earlier version of the software, which offered far less detail on problems, he said.

An alert function is especially useful because it pages IT staffers and notifies them of a problem whether it is with the site itself or with the Internet. “It gives us a jump on it,” D’Agostino said. That’s important, he said, for a company that booked about one-third of its US$3.5 billion in office product sales online last year.

The new Transaction Perspective 4.0 application will be available next month for US$1,295 per Web address per month, according to the company.

Rod Ketchum, a system architect at recreational equipment company REI in Kent, Wash., said the new Keynote monitoring system has been critical because internal systems don’t always show glitches being experienced by customers on REI’s Web site.

“If you’re not selling stuff, that’s a problem,” Ketchum said. “It’s sometimes hard to know that there’s a failure. To have had this over the holiday season would have been huge. We’ve been up online for about six years now. We’ve never before had that kind of capability.”

John McConnell, an analyst at McConnell Associates in Boulder, Colo., said the new features build upon the company’s earlier monitoring functions by adding important new diagnostics to provide more value for users. “Clearly what they’re really [adding] there is what the market wants,” McConnell said. Being able to use these monitoring tools to run systems more efficiently with less downtime means users will see gains, he said.

One of Keynote’s new products, Data Pulse, is particularly interesting, he said, because it immediately sends Keynote’s performance monitoring data into a customer’s data centre, rather than creating a paper report for processing. That allows real-time access for problem solving, rather than slower manual analysis and repairs, he said.

Mike Baglietto, a Keynote senior product manager, said the new enhancements and products are part of the company’s new “total performance management” strategy. The new focus is away from just benchmarking, he said, toward services that look more at a customer’s operations and diagnostic requirements.

Also unveiled by the company are new testing services, triple-verifying alarm services to report problems and new performance testing products for wireless systems.