Q&A with Zohar Gilad of Precise
VSM: Precise just released a new product offering. Can you give us a quick overview?
ZG: That's right. We packaged the entire Precise platform as a Virtual Appliance. This means that in less than 30 minutes, customers can have the entire application performance management, or APM, platform up and running. All customers have to do is download the software from our site and deploy the Virtual Appliance.
VSM: With all the buzzwords in the industry, what exactly is a virtual appliance?
ZG: A virtual appliance is a software image that is designed to run inside a virtual machine to host a single application. It is a virtual machine that contains the entire Precise platform stack. Virtual appliances are important because they help companies eliminate the installation, configuration and maintenance costs of running software stacks.
VSM: Is this a hosted service?
ZG: The virtual appliance is not hosted, but runs on a company's internal network. Think of this as a virtual machine application running on the virtualization layer of your network. The customer has full control of the appliance.
VSM: Is this new offering something that customers have been requesting?
ZG: Definitely. Our customers have been asking for a faster way to adopt APM. Since Precise includes a rich, scalable PMDB (Performance Management Database), and a correlation server, IT would have to provision the appropriate resources to install it. In a large corporation, this can sometimes mean a lot of hassle. The virtual appliance simplifies and accelerates the adoption of the APM products so that customers can focus on improving performance, not provisioning infrastructure for our software. We already have several customers in the United States using the Virtual Appliance.
VSM: How much faster is the Precise Virtual Appliance than deploying the traditional way?
ZG: In a traditional installation where the customer manages everything can take weeks to deploy, depending on the customer environment. On the other hand, the Virtual Appliance takes less than 30 minutes to deploy. This is particularly useful for cloud application deployments.
VSM: Is it the same product with the same features as earlier versions of Precise?
ZG: The Precise Virtual Appliance is the same exact product with the same pricing, just served up in a Virtual Appliance format.
VSM: In what cases would a customer not want to go this route?
ZG: If you don't have any virtual infrastructure, you can't run the Virtual Appliance. It is designed to run in private and public cloud environments, and can monitor any application or database within that environment.
VSM: Will the virtual appliance offering eventually become the primary (or only) way customers buy Precise?
ZG: Probably, yes. But we don't see this happening within the next 12 months until most companies have standardized on virtualization technology for a significant part of their application infrastructure.