Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Business Transaction Tracing – BTM’s Unused Synonym

Let us start off by thanking all of those that contributed their very informative comments on the last post - Transaction Management and "Deep Dive" Java/.NET Profilers. It is great to have feedback from CA Wily, Dynatrace and Jinspired, the objective of this blog is to raise awareness about Business Transaction Management and to set any myths or rumors right, so keep those comments coming.

Gartner's Definition of Business Transaction Tracing

One definition that was left out of the Business Transaction Management Definition post was Gartner's.

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.

What is Business Transaction Management?

Please help define Business Transaction Management – post your comment!


William Louth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Business Transaction Management said...

William, I'd appreciate it if you left a post that is relevant to the blog. Thank You.

William Louth said...

What I was trying to say which apparently got lost in the noise of the blog entry I posted copied from our community site was that business transaction tracing (or management) is performed differently across the application life cycle.

During development and testing a business transaction is traced in great detail (context, call stacks, patterns and paths) and usually captured with a single user recording. This is called the software execution model - one model per business transaction.

During pre-production and production particular steps from the previous model(s) are selected as identify particular business transactions (or activities) and are instrumented with different data collection techniques such as metrics and metering (our probes technology) with various measurement strategies applied and combined to reduce the footprint and overhead. This model is called the system execution model - system because we are focused on workload patterns and resource usage and contention.

So what is a business transaction. Well it really depends on the IT management approach and experience of the team. But generally it is a label that has meaning to multiple parties involved in the application management including the developer, tester and operations. For a developer it translates (maps) to a use case. For a tester is a test script/case/transaction. For an operations person it is a name associated with a service or activity delivered by an application or platform.

In SPE business transactions are defined in the IDENTIFY, SELECT, SPECIFY and CONSTRUCT activities (or stages).


Rose Mary said...

Hello. I love the business as much as I love tinea corporis .. I am currently doing a project and this information is very useful to me as I studied business administration ... Your blog seems very interesting .. Thanks for the info.