Q: What is FactFinder?
A: FactFinder is BlueStripe Software’s core product. An Application-Aware Infrastructure Performance Monitoring tool, FactFinder helps IT Operations teams Map, Monitor, and Fix their distributed applications.
Q: How does it work?
A: FactFinder uses collectors (software agents) that reside at the OS level on each monitored server. The collectors monitor activity on the servers. Data from the collectors is organized via the FactFinder Management Server. End-users access FactFinder via the Management Server or web dashboard. FactFinder response-time data and application maps can also be integrated into other systems management platforms from vendors like Microsoft, IBM, HP, and BMC Software.
Q: What kind of systems can FactFinder monitor?
A: FactFinder was built to monitor and manage complex web-based applications. It monitors servers using Windows, Linux, Solaris, and AIX operating systems that are deployed on physical, virtual, and cloud-based platforms. Further, it can monitor response times from other servers (mainframes, 3rd party services) that are part of an application, even without a collector installed.
Q: Some of our applications come from a vendor, and some we built ourselves. How does this impact FactFinder?
A: FactFinder works with both packaged applications and custom-built applications. So you can use FactFinder to monitor SAP, PeopleSoft, Dynamics, Exchange – all the critical vendor-provided business applications that you rely on. FactFinder works just as well with the applications that your team develops in-house – whether they are written in J2EE, .NET, Java EE, C, C++, C#, or COBOL.
Q: What about cloud-based applications?
A: FactFinder is completely cross-system and cross-platform. It can monitor systems that use physical servers, virtual servers, cloud-based servers, and any combination of those platforms.
Q: And virtual servers?
A: FactFinder works with Microsoft Hyper-V, VMWare VSphere and ESX, Citrix XENServer, and other virtual server environments.
Q: What about Microsoft Azure?
A: FactFinder supports applications based in Azure – both in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). FactFinder makes it easy to use System Center to manage hybrid-cloud applications – so that applications that are partially in Azure and partially in the datacenter can be managed directly through System Center.
Q: What are my options for trying out FactFinder before buying it?
A: If you just want to get your hands on the product to see what it can do, download the demo version of FactFinder – FactFinder Express. Express gives you full functionality, just limited to a single collector and without the System Center integration. Many customers go through a more formal trial process before purchasing. We work with your team to determine a specific application and set of problems to monitor. Then we’ll work with you to install the software and interpret the results.
Q: How does FactFinder work with System Center?
A: FactFinder works very closely with System Center. Applications that are mapped in FactFinder can be imported into System Center Operations Manager as Distributed Application Views. The import brings over not just the map itself, but response-time alerting for the overall application and for each component of the application. Those same distributed applications can then be applied to Service Manager as Business Services. Also, the application context can be used within Orchestrator to greatly enhance the effectiveness of runbooks.
Q: How does FactFinder help with Service Manager?
A: Service Manager works really well when it has application context for the infrastructure. Service Manager uses Business Services to document which servers are part of which distributed applications. When the Business Services are up-to-date, there is real power in the program. FactFinder provides dynamic, continuously updated distributed applications to Operations Manager – which are then used to create and update the Business Services in Service Manager. With FactFinder the CMDB data in Service Manager is always current.
Q: How does FactFinder help with Orchestrator?
A: FactFinder provides service-level alerts for applications, application infrastructure tiers, and individual servers. By integrating this data into Orchestrator, IT Operations teams can use Orchestrator to alert not just on infrastructure performance but on application service delivery.
Q: We don’t use System Center – can we still use FactFinder?
A: Yes. FactFinder has been deployed by hundreds of customers separate from System Center. We support some of the most complex, heterogeneous application environments in use today.
Q: What kind of performance impact do BlueStripe Collectors have on the servers they monitor?
A: Almost none. FactFinder provides extremely low overhead, production-ready monitoring, typically with less than 0.5% overhead added to the system.
Q: Who are some of your customers?
A: FactFinder has been deployed to some of the most complex application environments in the private and public sectors. Customers include Microsoft IT, Raymond James, SAS, AT&T, Unum Insurance, State Auto Insurance, and many others.
Q: Is FactFinder an APM tool?
A: No. APM – Application Performance Management – is a class of tools for developers who need deep-dive visibility into application code. FactFinder was built to help IT Operations teams. Gartner describes the category as Application-Aware Infrastructure Performance Monitoring, or AA-IPM, and divides the IT monitoring market into three categories: APM – for developers, AA-IPM – for IT Operations, and NPM – for network engineers.