Progress Software Corporation (NASDAQ: PRGS), a global provider of application infrastructure software used to develop, deploy, integrate and manage business applications, today announced the release of Progress Actional 8.0 Enterprise.
Actional 8.0 Enterprise adds more than 20 new features that allow businesses to monitor and govern their interconnected services and applications. Actional 8.0 Enterprise delivers "business transaction assurance" by providing full design-time to run-time application lifecycle validation, and execution-time visibility and control for distributed applications. With the Actional product, businesses can avoid losing a single important transaction.
With Actional 8.0 Enterprise, IT professionals can collaborate across an enterprise to detect, diagnose, and repair problems and exceptions that disrupt business transactions, and prevent them from recurring. A business transaction typically involves many steps and usually flows through multiple custom and packaged applications, middleware and databases. Even if each one of these is running correctly, the business transaction itself could still fail. The use of technologies such as integration brokers, messaging, ESBs, BPMs, SOA, cloud computing or Web 2.0 further increases the complexity of a business transaction - resulting in an additional increase in issues and failures.
Actional 8.0 Enterprise complements application management tools, which are unable to pinpoint or prevent many types of business transaction problems, including business exceptions (e.g. invalid data entry that goes undetected), situational issues (e.g., problems that affect only one customer, partner or channel), or stalled processes. Moreover, Actional 8.0 Enterprise proactively ensures transaction reliability, beginning during the application development phase, to create higher quality services that are less likely to fail in QA, performance testing, or in production.
Dan Foody, vice president of Actional Products, Progress Software, said: "The health of a business depends on key business transactions. These transactions, such as placing an online order, activating a cell phone, or reserving a hotel room, often invl room, often involve customers or partners and flow throughout and beyond an organization in a complex 'dance' of human interactions and application software. In many cases, a problem with the loss or delay of even a single high value transaction could have a significant impact on the business in terms of lost revenue or reduced employee productivity. Actional product not only helps businesses recognize and remediate these problems when they occur, but also proactively helps application teams avoid them early in the development lifecycle."
Transaction problems can be quickly and easily diagnosed by viewing a detailed flow map that pinpoints their exact location - down to the specific service, operation or business process step. In addition, using real time analysis, business users can dynamically optimize and prioritize business transactions, so that, for example, their higher value customers, partners and channels always receive the best service.
Foody continued: "Actional 8.0 Enterprise offers a comprehensive approach to business transaction assurance by providing quality control and application validation when applications are architected and engineered, before entering production deployment. This ensures that problems are discovered early and are simpler and less costly to fix."
Sandra Rogers, IDC program director for SOA, Web Services and integration research, commented:
"As enterprises scrutinize every aspect of IT to achieve maximum efficiencies and savings in the face of recession, they are increasingly looking for ways to ensure that business critical applications are optimized and compliant to changing IT and business policies. Progress Actional 8.0 addresses critical stages within the application lifecycle to provide IT with detailed visibility and control, from service design quality to monitoring and proactively impacting operational outcomes."
Key new features include the following:
Application X-Ray - Patented Actional Flow Mapping technology can now be used seamlessly in either a pre-production environment (even in simulations running on a developer's desktop), or in a large-scale integration-test lab. Actional Flow Mapping automatically discovers and traces an individual transaction's flow across the production environment;
Agentless Management - With the Actional product , message flows can be tracked, Service Level Agreements (SLAs) applied and audit trails captured, even when a business transaction flows through a legacy application or a package with no Actional agent, thus providing visibility into every process step;
Custom log management - Actional 8.0 automatically correlates custom application log messages to the individual business transaction that triggered them, and is also able to apply policies to selectively store log entries or filter sensitive information from logs to avoid unnecessary overhead or compliance issues. This provides greater insight into the application layer allowing application support teams to diagnose application-specific problems more quickly and easily at less cost;
Exception Management - Actional 8.0 enables an application support team to address business level failures such as transactions that fail due to incorrect data entry. The Actional product allows the problem to be located, diagnosed at the business data level, resolved, and then the business transaction repaired and resubmitted. In addition, the failed business transactions can be used to create run-time validation for detecting the problems more quickly, or to automatically create a test case that can be used by pre-production teams to ensure the problem is resolved the next time the application is updated.
Actional 8.0 Enterprise can support more than 1,000 monitoring and control nodes from a single server while using less than two percent of the CPU's capacity on the managed node, which is critical in its ability to provide the necessary scalability and performance for business transaction assurance. This scalability is also required as the Actional product extends the depth and breadth of transaction visibility by expanding its platform support, in Actional 8.0, to include Apache CXF and Camel, Oracle Service Bus, Progress Artix Data Services, TIBCO Business Works, SAP NetWeaver, WebMethods Integration Server, and support for POX and REST services.
Actional 8.0 Enterprise provides a unique transaction-centric view of an application through a transaction topology map, rather than traditional network maps. This option allows architects and developers to create filtered views of the exact information they need at any given time. For example, a map of process steps can be rendered immediately, with timeline support available showing how the steps have changed over time.
Actional 8.0 Enterprise integrates technologies from the Mindreef SOAPscope product, which was acquired by Progress Software in 2008, to provide award-winning Web services testing and SOA quality management solutions. Customers using Actional technology include Cablevision, Credit Suisse, IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group), Partners Healthcare, Verizon, several US federal agencies, and many more.