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System for non-invasive web application usage metering

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132024D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Nov-29
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-29
Document File: 4 page(s) / 141K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a system for non-invansive web application usage metering. An application server platform is augmented; adding functionality to both the HTTP "session create" and HTTP "session destroy" processes. This tracks the length of time that a user actually uses the application. Also, session activity such as session access, reads and writes are noted and can be used to infer the activity of the end-user. The data gathered can be anything regarding the user session. The data can be used to bill based on time, requests, anything in the session. If the host environment understands the complexity of the application this information can be combined and used as part of a billing heuristic based on inferred processing on a very granular (application) basis.

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System for non-invasive web application usage metering

Information Technology providers and consumers are moving more and more towards shared resources and the virtualization of those resources. A core tenet in the philosophy of Information Technology's move towards shared resources is the concept of Software as a Service. Software as a Service offers customers minimal upfront expenses, rapid implementation, and reduced risk. Importantly, it also aligns the costs of the software directly with the usage of that software.

Metering of the use of these shared resources is critical to realizing the return on a provider's investment. There are a multitude of methods available for metering the use of hardware resources (such as CPU, storage, and network utilization). Less mature is the technology built around the metering of software usage, especially when that software is exposed as a service.

This disclosure addresses the metering of web applications that use the HTTP Session tracking mechanism and require login and logout of the application. This disclosure also addresses the scenario where multiple applications reside on the same application server platform. Finally, this disclosure addresses the scenario where multiple customers utilize the same application on an application server. This final scenario is one method for deployment of Software as a Service.

All existing solutions require complex and expensive alterations to existing enterprise infrastructure. There are many hundreds of thousands of web applications in existence. It is prohibitively expensive to update each of them to store usage statistics for billing purposes.

Existing solutions for the metering of software include products such as the Utilization Sentinel from Unisys, which is used to meter JBoss (the open-source J2EE EJB Application Server Platform). This product measures the JBoss utilization based on the MIPS used, and uses formulas for a peak over average in order to bill appropriately. These solutions do not address the metering of individual applications within the Application Server. Nor do these solutions address the scenario where customers from different organization utilize the same application.

In a hosting environment, multiple web sites may be hosted on a single application infrastructure. These applications can belong to several of the hosting company's customers. In a situation such as this, billing is very difficult. This invention provides a novel method for billing based on inferred access duration.

* NOTE - There are two types of customers and users referenced in this disclosure. IBM's customers are customers who would wish to do the monitoring and billing based on the information gathered by this solution. The end-users referenced would be the customer's clients.

This disclosure details a method for the metering of web applications. Several deployment scenarios for this metering are supported. They include:

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* The deployment of a s...