Compuware has refreshed one of its flagship products after launching a major new version of its Vantage management tool.

Compuware's Vantage is an application monitoring product that can provide the IT department with visibility as to how an application is performing, in order to gauge the true service quality being delivered to the end user. Vantage also allows for problems to be identified, prioritised, isolated and then fixed. All of this, says Compuware, allows the IT department to "continually improve service quality using best practices such as ITIL and automated Six Sigma techniques."

The new edition is Vantage 11, and is described by Michael Allen, Compuware's director of IT service management solutions (EMEA), as a "major milestone release."

Specifically, Vantage 11 unifies the performance management and business service management sides, so that the IT department not only checks that the applications are performing, but also ensures that this performance is aligned with the business goals.

"Vantage provides a top down view of service delivery - focusing on the user experience and measuring quality, availability, and performance, as felt by end users," said Allen.

"It is a monitoring solution, and our monitoring software watches the entry and exit points of the data centre, to measure real users and all transactions, all the time," he said. "The other approach is that we can stimulate end user actions, so called dummy or synthetic users."

According to Allen, Compuware has been working on Vantage 11 for two years. Back in early 2007, Compuware acquired Proxima Technology, and its Centauri Business Service Manager has now been integrated into Compuware's Vantage Service Manager.

"The Vantage 11 release combines end user experience (eue), with Proxima's business service management product, combining it all into one cohesive suite," he said.

"It is a large step forward and it is what makes us unique, by combining comprehensive eue (both real and synthetic) monitoring and business service management, as a single solution," he said. "The other unique thing is we continue to add and maintain our deep dive analytics, and there is an integrated view in this release to correlate that to the end user experience."

"You can therefore spot an end user who experiencing problems much quicker, and provide a solution faster, by pinpointing if a server in a data centre is to blame, for example," Allen said. "It also allows for improved decision making, because say that are five things which are broken, the administrator can decide which fault to repair first, and which repair will have the biggest impact."

Allen thinks that the main aspect to the new release is making all the disparate technologies look like a single suite. "This release has new monitoring capabilities, with the ability to better follow a transaction right from Java through to a database platform," he said. "It also features improved scalability, and new application intelligence has been added for Microsoft Exchange, which is important, as for many organisations email is considered as one of the top five most critical applications."

Allen also said that application intelligence has been beefed up, and its database diagnostics have been improved across the board.

The product is being launched on Tuesday, but it will only be available for customer deployments by end of June.

"For existing customers, they can upgrade to 11 as part of their maintenance agreement, so there would be no additional cost other than what they are already paying," said Allen. "For new customers, a typical entry level cost would be in the £100,000 ($160,000) region."

Last month, Micro Focus announced it was acquiring the application testing and automated software quality business of Compuware for £53 million ($80 million). "Vantage is not part of that divestiture," said Allen. "It is a great move by the company from my position, as it puts us in a much stronger cash position, with $80 million in cash to invest."