Monday, June 16, 2008

'Instant replay' helps software developers fast-forward to application problem areas

Fixing software bugs is often easier than finding them. Stepping up to the plate to address this problem is Replay Solutions, which today announced general availability of ReplayDIRECTOR for Java EE, a TiVo-like product that allows instant replays of applications and servers at any stage of the application lifecycle.

ReplayDIRECTOR, which was released in beta by the Redwood City, Calif. company in March, makes deep recordings of applications and servers -- notably non-deterministic inputs and events that affect the application. Engineers can then fast forward directly to the root cause of the problem.

The idea behind the technology is that it allows companies to drill down into source code quickly, eliminating unnecessary IT costs and time spent searching for issues that can't be replicated or easily detected. The software is designed to cut through the complexity that IT departments face with shorter release cycles, multi-tier applications, and dispersed development teams.

According to Replay Solutions, every line of code that an application executes while ReplayDIRECTOR is recording will be re-executed in precisely the same sequence during playback. No source code changes are required and recordings can be played anywhere, without requiring the original environment, inputs, databases, or other servers, all of which are virtualized during replay.

As virtualization becomes more common, these replay approaches may be necessary as instances of apps and runtimes may come and go based on automated demand response provisioning. These left-over breadcrumbs of what once happened in a virtualization container will be quite valuable to then prevent recurrences.

I'm sure innovative developers and testers will come up with other interesting uses, especially as apps and services become supported in more places, inside and outside of enterprises. Got compliance?

Designed to deploy in any environment and have a minimal effect on the environment, ReplayDIRECTOR allows applications to run at near full speed while recording and faster than full speed during re-execution. It also has minimal performance impact, and can run in a production environments as an "always on" solution.

ReplayDIRECTOR for Java EE is available now. You can find more information at the company's Web site.

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