Business Service Management (BAC/BSM/APM/NNM)


More than everything monitoring, BSM provides the means to determine how IT impacts the bottom line. Its purpose and main benefit is to ensure that IT Operations are able to reactively and proactively determine where they should be spending their time to best impact the business. This covers event management to solve immediate issues, resource allocation and through reporting performance based on the data of applications, infrastructure, networks and from third-party platforms. BSM includes powerful analytics that gives IT the means to prepare, predict and pinpoint by learning behavior and analyzing IT data forward and backwards in time using Big Data Analytics applied to IT Operations.

The importance of monitoring every business transaction with Application Performance Management

When a customer calls in tears because they placed an order, but never received a confirmation number, you have a real problem on your hands! It is important to try to track down the information surrounding this transaction to see if actually occurred or if it needs to be re-processed.

 

This is not an issue to be taken lightly. A dropped transaction can mean more than the loss of money. It may mean the loss of the future business of a customer.

 

“A business transaction, in the context of electronic commerce, is any monetary transaction that is made between consumers or businesses via the Internet. Business transactions free up time when conducted online since each party does not need to be physically present in order to make the transaction.” Cory Janssen  Business Transaction post on Techopedia. You can read the entire article here.

 

A transaction instance is a single incident of a business transaction. For example: Joe Smith did an online deposit into his account at 10:40:35am on February 6th 2014.

 

Transactions monitoring! Why even bother?

If you don’t understand the importance of monitoring your transactions, here are a few fictional examples to show you why you need to check on the current status of your transaction monitoring:

 

  • Your customer is using a banking website trying to deposit of a large amount of cash, the customer never got the deposit confirmation = PANIC = Money loss
  • The Service Level Agreement (SLA) is an agreement between clients and providers in the context of offering a service, violation of this service can cause penalties.  Deciding the penalties is completed through a round of negotiation. SLA violation = Penalties = Money loss
  • A slow transaction happens. The CTO asks the R&D team to look at the issue and pinpoint the root cause. This sounds good, right? The only problem here is that the transaction can span through different layers, such as web servers, application servers, middleware, data power, mainframe, etc.  Many big companies work in silos. As a result, a finger pointing game will take place, many meetings, log files digging will take place = Money loss

 

 

Need more reasons?

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What is the problem we are trying to solve?

It is a simple question that needs to be answered?

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This is not so easy to answer

–      Cross-institution and/or cross-silo transactions

–      High value transactions mixed with low value transactions

–      Transactions whose start and end point are different

–      Transactions with both mainframe and distributed steps

–      Transactions with cutoff deadlines as well as response time targets

–      Transactions using asynchronous messaging middleware

–      Long running transactions

All the challenges above means it is not a trivial task by any means.

 

 

HP TransactionVision

HP offers TransactionVision (TV) which is instance-based business transaction monitoring, (note that TV requires HP Business Service Management (BSM) to be installed as well.)

 

 

How TV works

A good analogy will be the shipping company analogy. When you send a package via a shopping company, at any point of time you are able to check the status of the package using a tracking id. This is  how TV works as well.

 

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You can track your business transactions across your infrastructure, like the shipping company tracks parcels across their logistics network. You can peer into a transaction’s data to see key attributes like customer identity

This answers the questions “Where is my transaction?”

 

Discovering your topology

In a banking application, a business transaction uses middleware queues to send banking business content data (i.e. customer name, account number).

With TV, you can discover the full topology of your transaction, as seen below, on the bottom red box I highlighted. The application puts a message on a local queue (middleware queue) and in the top red box I highlighted, the application gets a message from a local queue.

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Capture and analyze business transaction content

This is the TV tracking report, this report has a lot to talk about. Every line in the bottom section of the image below represents a single business transaction instance, which contains the name of the transaction, start time, response time, completion state, result state, some business content (label, order id, account value) and the SLA state (did it violate the SLA?)

 

Let us understand what TV can offer through a common scenario:

A 30 million dollar fund transfer transaction that was issued by a high profile customer was issued on 02/14 at 17:41 violated the SLA and fines will have to be paid by the bank. The CTO was asked to find the root cause of the problem:

What can be done?

In order to search for the problematic transaction instance, it will searched by the account number ( NE-320004) as shown in the below image in the “Search for” edit box. Once the transaction is located, you can drill down to the actual API call that caused the delay with the payload attached to it.

transactions to view.png

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Drill to the Event list view shown the image below

 

Event List view

Event list view.png

 

From the Event list view you can drill down to event detail view which has the actual business content for each event ( i.e. account number, customer name, etc), you can see that in the payload shown in the bottom half of the image below

 

 

Event Detail view

event detail view.png

 

In the next post we will discuss how TV sends information to BSM Service Health dashboard and integrates with other HP monitors.

 

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