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Atreve updates site management

The company's new version of its WebSpective software for managing large, complex Web sites adds a module for heading off problems.

Next week Atreve Software will unveil a new version of its WebSpective software for managing large, complex Web sites, adding a module for heading off problems before they crash a site.

Version 2.0, due for release on Monday, also includes a new module for distributing content to multiple Web servers. The software is designed for e-commerce sites and companies whose Web sites are critical to their business.

"When you look at statistics on the cost of down time, it gets staggering very quickly," said Rick Sturm, principal at Enterprise Management Associates, a network management analyst firm. "When you get into big sites, the competition is a mouse click away."

WebSpective's six modules are designed to manage what Atreve calls "commerce critical" Web sites, generally large sites that generate revenues vital to a company's health and cause financial loss when the site isn't available to visitors.

"This tends to be the financial sites or online commerce sites," said Swapnil Shah, Atreve's vice president of product strategy. "These kinds of sites also have to deal with the limitations of the Internet over which they have no control, and they all have the same challenges of synchronizing content on multiple servers."

Financial site Fidelity is using Atreve's software to manage the 50 Web and application servers that host its large online presence.

Four existing modules in WebSpective also have been upgraded in the new version. From a central location, users can manage traffic, monitor specific applications, balance traffic loads, and produce statistical reports on multiple servers.

"They have carved out an interesting market niche because their product crosses a number of market segments," said analyst Bill Gassman of Gartner Group. "You can buy point products that solve most of the problems they do, but the strength of their product is that they combined a number of products and integrated them into a common platform."

One such competitor is Bright Tiger, which offers Windows NT software for content distribution and replication.

Sturm of Enterprise Management noted that WebSpective can handle similar problems on corporate intranets too.

WebSpective's six modules, which run on Windows NT and Solaris, begin shipping Monday. The entire suite costs $15,000 per server, but a slimmed-down version with only some of the elements is priced from $7,500 per server. The company said an average purchase runs $200,000 to $300,000.