IBM on Thursday bought an American software developer it said would increase its customers’ ability to not only detect application problems but determine their cause.

Cyanea, based

in Oakland, Calif., will be integrated into Big Blue’s software group in a deal that will also see all of its 75 employees move over to IBM. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though IBM was an early investor in the three-year-old firm. Cyanea makes software that watches over transaction-oriented applications and helps spot problems.

“”One of the challenges customers have is the ability to really drill down into composite applications and understand where performance bottleneck may be,”” Robert LeBlanc, general manager of IBM’s application and integration middleware division said in a teleconference. “”In most tools today, they call themselves end to end, but all they really do is synthetic transactions. They can tell you there’s a problem, but . . . not because you’re providing a lot of calls to a database, or because the application is waiting on some information to come.””

IBM will integrate Cyanea’s products with those of Candle, another firm it acquired earlier this year, as well as some of Big Blue’s internally-developed management tools, LeBlanc said.

James Chong, Cyanea’s president, said he spent more than 20 years before starting the company as a customer running all kinds of transaction systems. That inspired him to come up with the kind of solution he would have wanted.

“”(One) of the main problems I had to grapple with was problem isolation, and the other was problem determination,”” he said. “”It is very, very difficult to do problem determination with applications focused on resource management, because there’s absolutely no application context.””

IDC Canada software analyst Warren Shiau said the technology companies like Cyanea provide is not new, but the implementation of it is changing.

“”Usually these systems are built for a specific platform. You have system and network management built for HP, for IBM platform and so on,”” he said. “”Where this whole segment has gone is towards having interoperability between different management systems.””

Developers need these tools to understand how to debug and understand performance characteristics through quality and testing phases, while analysts need the same information once applications go into production, LeBlanc said. Operations teams, meanwhile, need to ensure applications are up and running all the time.

“”We provide a common language for the three groups of people to communicate effectively,”” said Chong. “”The whole IT operations become a lot more effective.””

Cyanea’s technology could be a natural fit for IBM, given Big Blue’s dominance in the mainframe business where transaction-oriented applications run, Shiau said.

“”People with installed base always have an advantage,”” he said. “”If you have a proprietary system, the software from the platform vendor goes with it.””

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