Sunday, October 19, 2008

Definition of Business Transaction Management

Now, since this is a relatively new term that lacks a formal definition, we here at the BTM blog will attempt the audacious task of defining Business Transaction Management. Let us begin by taking a look at how Business Transaction Management has been defined across the industry.

BTM in Wikipedia

The first Wikipedia article that was written about Business Transaction Management was deleted a year ago because it was A " Non-notable neologism about a freshly coined (''new category'') three letter acronym". The current Wikipedia article is just a seed and needs some work.
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BTM according to IDC Research

In their comprehensive technological assessment "Business Transaction Management: Another Step in the Evolution of IT Management", Dan Yachin, the author of the paper, began the definition with a note on Bristol Technology and how their acquisition demonstrated the interest of major IT management vendors and then continued by stating that "BTM can be considered as bridging two major trends in the IT management space". The two trends he lists are:

  1. "The need for more granular application management…"
  2. The need to manage from a business prospective

Another statement from IDC, that provides a more concise definition, to be noted is - "BTM is aimed at detecting and resolving problems at the granular level of interactions between IT elements that form a business transaction (e.g., online stock trade, travel booking)."

BTM according to EMA research

In their latest White Paper titled "Business Transaction Management for SOA Environments", EMA – not unlike IDC – provides a vague definition of BTM. EMA states that their IT maturity models show that "…most enterprises still struggle with monitoring applications and services at the transaction level". They also state that "Many business critical services remain a "black box" in terms of understanding transaction performance and failures". In the line after this quote they state that EMA calls this discipline Business Performance Management.

Other EMA White Papers do not provide much of a definition other than; Business Transaction Management means to plan, monitor and control IT processes from a business prospective.

Business Transaction Tracing (BTM synonym) according to Gartner research

In their white paper titled “The Four Dimensions of Application Performance Monitoring Gartner labels “Business Transaction Flow Tracing” as one of the four “functionalities have emerged to circumvent some of the APM difficulties associated with modular, distributed, interdependent and context-sensitive applications”.

Will Cappelli leads off the definition by stating how when a problem with the availability of an application pops up, monitoring component-level health is less helpful when it comes to determining the root cause, and “Used in conjunction with an application dependency map, a report showing a cluster of component latency degradations could be used to guess at the source of the performance issue. More often than not, an insufficient number of components are instrumented and/or the topology plus performance degradation is too ambiguous to be helpful.”

Mr. Cappelli then continues to state that Business Transaction Tracing fills the Application Performance Management void that simply monitoring component-level health leaves by following these steps:

·         “First, members of the operations or application support team would be required to instrument path-critical components in the stack and infrastructure, supporting the application being monitored with what amount to sensors.”

·         “Second, they must define, package and mark a sequence of interactions at an application's interface — defined as a "business transaction." An instance is executed and the mark is passed through the application's components as it is exercised and sensed, and progress of its path is reported on in real time or near real time. This makes it possible to trace a performance problem's root cause, particularly when used in conjunction with health statistics gathered by the third type of APM functionality.”

·         “Finally, it would, once again, be prohibitive to place sensors on more than a few components. Thus, having a good application dependency map is critical to the effective deployment of this type of APM functionality.”

Once again, this is not a clear cut definition of Business Transaction Management, but another thing to think about when attempting to provide a definition.

BTM according to Vendors

Although most Vendors tend to list the benefits of Business Transaction Management as opposed to defining it for their clients, the definition may be inferred from these benefits.

BMC – Ziff Davis Media Survey

In their White Paper "Transaction Management – the Next Step in Service Oriented IT", an understanding of what Transaction Management needs to be was obtained through a survey of 1,190 technology decision makers. They concluded that Transaction Management systems need to – "…look across components in a sophisticated technology stack to determine how the pieces are involved in and contribute to complex business transactions".

Optier – E-Commerce Times Article

Optier does not really define BTM on their web site; rather they use the term as though it speaks for itself (valid point). Though their CTO, Amir Alon, wrote an article that gives a quasi definition, which essentially states that BTM provides transaction visibility, detects and resolves issues rapidly and assures that technology outages are connected to a business context. He also writes that BTM provides a real time record of all transactions which are to be mapped to the underlying infrastructure.

HP

HP has a White Paper titled "What Happened to My Transaction" in which they define BTM by quoting IDC and giving their own explanations: "Business is conducted at the level of individual transactions—and IT needs visibility into and control over these transactions and their impact on business outcomes in order to properly support the larger organization it serves."…"BTM helps IT understand how the components in the IT infrastructure relate to the business transactions they support."

Correlsense

Correlsense begins its definition by providing a chart that shows the Business Transaction Management approach in relation to traditional monitoring and continues by stating: "…Transaction Management tools view everything from an application perspective. In the world of transaction management, an application is considered as a collection of transactions and events, each triggering actions on the infrastructure. The goal is to track every transaction end to end and correlate to the information collected from the infrastructure."

Help Create a Definition for Business Transaction Management

Defining this term should not be a "one Blog job", help give this term a formal definition by leaving a comment. We at the Business Transaction Management blog will propose a definition in a future post.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Transaction Monitoring Application Performance Management Solutions

Why has no one posted a comprehensive index of these products?
Well, let us be the first (please let us know if we have left anyone out):

Correlsense

Sharepath

http://www.correlsense.com

Optier

Corefirst

http://www.optier.com/product_overview.aspx

HP

TrancactionVision

https://h10078.www1.hp.com/cda/hpms/display/main/hpms_content.jsp?zn=bto&cp=1-11-15-25^2872_4000_100__

CA Wily

Introscope

http://www.wilytech.com/solutions/products/Introscope.html

Dynatrace

PurePath

http://www.dynatrace.com/en/purepath_technology.aspx

B-Hive

Conductor

http://www.bhive.net/products/conductor.html

Correlix

Latency Intelligence

http://www.correlix.com/products.html

Compuware

Vantage

http://www.compuware.com/products/vantage/464_ENG_HTML.htm

Precise

Precise

http://www.precise.com/solutions/products.asp

IBM Tivoli

Transaction Performance

http://www-01.ibm.com/software/tivoli/products/monitor-transaction/

BMC

Transaction Management

http://www.bmc.com/products/products_services_detail/0,,0_0_50721704,00.html

Amberpoint

Transaction Tracking

http://www.amberpoint.com/products/transaction_tracking.shtml

Radware

Inflight

http://www.radware.com/Products/RealtimeIntelligence/Inflight.aspx

Quest

Foglight

http://www.quest.com/foglight-transaction-recorder/

Oracle

Quickvision

http://www.clearapp.com/products/index.php?quickvision

Monday, October 13, 2008

Israeli BTM in the News

A leading Israeli Business newspaper - "The Marker" - recently published an article "Precise's Comeback" in the past weekend's paper.
The article recalls how Precise, started up in 1989, reached a peak valuation of one billion dollars after it's IPO in 2000. This past year Precise was sold for a mere $20M to Greylock Partners.

Here is a translated excerpt from the Article:
Zohar Gilad, Precise's Executive VP, stated that the players in the IT field can be divided into two categories; "There are the giants like IBM, HP, ca, and BMC that show less innovation, and by their side are the startups who bring a lot of innovation".

These Startups are the Israeli Correlsense and Optier that work in a similar field as Precise. Oren Elias, Correlsense's CEO, said, "While Precise's product monitors the Databases and the Servers themselves, Correlsense's product monitors the communications between the servers. It is a little bit different, but it is definately potential competition."

Looking into Investing in a Business Transaction Management Solution?

If so, the following is a short list of qualifiying questions you should be asking yourself:
  • Is there a need to monitor and manage every business transaction?  You can’t know in advance which transaction will fail or which transaction will be important.
  • Do you experience ‘war-room’ like committees to solve ‘needle in the hay stack’ problems?  Do you need to improve your current Mean Time To Repair (MTTR)? 
  • Are you able to accurately address (business) transaction level SLAs?
  • Are you able to accurately charge-back based on IT infrastructure (i.e., machine and device) usage for each transaction at each junction?
  • Are you able to perform pre-deployment testing, comparing transaction models before and after changes, perform business transaction impact analysis of changes in IT topologies and resources?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The BTM Competitive Landscape

 High Level Overview

The competitive landscape can be divided into three categories: 

  1. Large established companies (IBM, CA, Microsoft), 
  2. Independent performance management focused companies
  3. Startups (most of which are past their first round of funding) 

Many of the existing tools started their way several years ago. Over the years, the complexity of the applications increased and the large vendors have a hard time coping with the rapid change in application architectures.

The Challenge

Efficient management of today’s multi-tier applications requires a new approach – moving from managing servers and operating systems to managing applications and transactions. A new space named “transaction management” was formed. There is currently no market leader in this space and there are several startups that are tackling the challenge from different angles.

A Look at What the Startups are Offering

Optier - CoreFirst

  • Automatically discover the topology of every transaction
  • Track and Monitor transactions across tiers automatically and continuously
  • Show transactions at their instance level along with their individual work units
  • Provide analytics and historical reports
  • Attain low overheads
Correlix - Latency Intelligence
  • Monitor real‐time latency in complex trade execution flows and market data latency across  distribution infrastructure
  • Break down latency into the individual components and parties pinpointing bottlenecks
  • Track trends through historical analysis to optimize latency in trade execution flows

B-Hive - Conductor

  • Dynamic self-mapping of virtual and physical infrastructure to applications and underlying end-to-end transactions
  • Real-time monitoring of all infrastructure for usage and performance of the application and end user actions
  • Latency break-down for all infrastructure tiers within a single transaction context
Correlsense - Sharepath
  • Environment Independent – Sharepath analyzes network traffic and is therefore generic. 
  • Extremely low overhead - by design.
  • Accurate tracking of every transaction, traces a transaction through all tiers collecting real metrics, with no guess work.
  • Resource consumption profiling and modeling on all of the tiers
  • Advanced proactive management 

SLA Management Visualization

The following video takes a look at how SLA Management can be done with a single bubble chart:

video

Monday, October 6, 2008

Business Transaction Management Blog Launch

Welcome to the new Business Transaction Management Blog.
This Blog was created in order to raise awareness about this new paradigm in application management.

In this blog you will find important information about Business Transaction Management, articles, updates, and useful information.

More information will come soon, check us again!