A pioneering application performance management (APM) tool that's now in the hands of Symantec has been updated to work better with the multi-tiered applications that are increasingly popular for enterprise and online use.

Called i3, the software was developed by Precise Software and bought by Veritas four years ago.

Veritas was subsequently acquired by Symantec, which has now enhanced i3 so it can correlate transactions across application tiers - a vital factor for today's complex and fast-growing application infrastructures, according to Sateesh Narahari, senior product marketing manager at Symantec.

Also new in the latest i3 version 8 is a software development kit to let customers adapt i3 to monitor legacy, custom and packaged apps, he said. It also has extended support for Microsoft SQL Server and .Net, for Sybase and SAP, and for J2EE platforms such as WebLogic, IBM WebSphere and Oracle.

"Precise was very strong in database management. The big change over the last five years or so is that we have taken it end-to-end, with support for J2EE, .Net and storage as well, so i3 can now monitor the entire application infrastructure," Narahari added.

APM software is designed to monitor, analyse and diagnose the performance and availability bottlenecks which may impact business applications. Symantec claimed that it enables application performance issues to be identified and fixed more rapidly - preferably even before users notice that there is problem.

"Symantec i3 helps us ensure the availability and performance of our critical applications, allowing IT to better support our business and customers," agreed Luis Morales, of US-based finance house Financial Security Assurance. "With i3 8.0, we will be proactively notified of potential issues, enabling faster resolution of application performance problems and allowing us to put our IT resources toward other business-critical activities."

Narahari said the new version of i3 features additional management capabilities such as a command-line interface with scripting to simplify system-wide admin tasks, and role-based permissions and access rights, allowing administrators to control who has access to application and database performance data.

Also new in version 8.0 is an Application Service Dashboard, which provides a consolidated view of relevant business metrics from monitored systems, and an expert tuning advisor called SmartTune, which Narahari claimed can help admins improve the performance of SQL Server and .Net systems in particular.

The software costs from $1500 (£750) per physical CPU - whether single or multi-core, and regardless of how many virtual systems it supports.