Businesses that operate on a BizTalk environment often rely on outside application performance management tools for monitoring. These tools are designed to eliminate system downtime, reducing the problems that lead to lost revenue, customer dissatisfaction and loss of reputation.
When researching monitoring tools for your BizTalk environment, two key points to consider are the amount of automation that the tool provides and how proactive it allows your organization to be. Since BizTalk is a platform built for both integrating enterprise applications and automating business processes, the goal of any monitoring solution should be to provide insight into your system’s data. The solution should provide both technical and business insight to allow you to maintain and manage data, and it should improve system performance and capacity, keeping your complex BizTalk environment operating at optimum efficiency.
Here are some of the features to look for when evaluating a monitoring tool for your BizTalk environment:
- A dynamically updating topological map that provides easy-to-access insight into your BizTalk environment at multiple levels, giving you the ability to drill down to the lowest levels of ports and orchestrations. This map should include real-time status of the processes and building blocks in your environment pertaining to traffic, proactive alerts, errors and messaging patterns.
- The ability to retrieve historical patterns of behavior and forecasting to help with traffic pattern analysis and software self-optimization.
- Relevant alerts derived from algorithms based on real-time pattern recognition technology. The software should be sensitive to subtle warning signs to provide you with earlier and more accurate notification of issues across your environment.
- Automatic monitoring of your entire enterprise without configuration to include everything from hosts, groups and ports to orchestrations, performance counters and hardware parameters. In as few as five minutes with an Azure implementation — or a few hours with other implementations — you should be able to gain real insight into your BizTalk system.
- The ability to monitor traffic at the individual port level in order to detect errors occurring outside the BizTalk environment. This allows you to identify patterns or activity from external systems that are causing issues in your environment.
- Reporting functions that allow you to review the health of your BizTalk environment. These reports should also recommend any actions needed to maintain a healthy environment.
- A customizable reporting feature that allows you to produce reports containing specified information for specific members of your organization.
- The ability to manage Big Data and store information in a knowledge base that’s used for troubleshooting purposes.
Monitoring of BizTalk using a traditional solution provides only limited efficiencies. Tools that require IT staff to manually set thresholds that trigger alerts invariably leads to gaps in coverage or an excess of meaningless alerts. One of the best values an intelligent monitoring solution provides is that it eliminates the dependence on manual monitoring. There’s no need to employ a specialist just for full-time monitoring of your BizTalk environment.
Intelligent monitoring solutions are self-learning. Upon installation, the software scans your enterprise to “learn” the normal relationships, behaviors and patterns occurring over time. It uses these learned activities to define parameters and establish thresholds that determine when abnormal behaviors warrant a deeper look. Only those behaviors determined to be truly abnormal trigger alerts. Over time, the software evolves, learning acceptable new relationships, behaviors and patterns as systems change with the introduction of new applications, equipment and other components.
If your organization is monitoring BizTalk using manual processes, it’s time to consider the value in an intelligent monitoring solution.