We get this question a lot in conversations with potential customers and other people interested in AIMS: What differentiates AIMS from other monitoring tools? We figured it was time we put our answer into a blog post.
- AIMS is a self-learning solution, meaning it analyzes how your BizTalk is actually used. It creates normal behavior patterns / dynamic thresholds for all performance parameters you mention and even more: everything from CPU, memory, disk, throttling, suspended, latency etc all the way down to individual ports and orchestrations behavior.
Based on this "high resolution image" AIMS creates of your BizTalk's behavior, it detects small deviations and potential impact and sends warnings. For instance, AIMS will know that on 10:30 AM Tuesday your BizTalk is supposed to have a high throughput of logistics messages, CPU should be high, memory will usually be around 70-80%, no throttling should occur etc. If this situation should suddenly change and you have high latency and throttling, AIMS sends you a warning.
- In short, there is no need to set your own thresholds. Looking at conventional monitoring tools like SCOM, you can set static thresholds that will very often generate false positive alerts (for instance you set a static threshold on CPU at 90%). This is avoided with AIMS as it knows exactly how the CPU should be at any given time (idle, high, medium etc etc). AIMS also correlates deviations to see if the initial breach of a threshold impacts any other components or performance data.
Lets say you one day suddenly start processing 2x the amount of messages compared to normal, how will this impact your BizTalk?
AIMS will automatically detect the increased amount of messages processed and start to correlate this to other performance data like latency, disk I/O, network, DB size, throttling, CPU, memory, process memory usage and more.
This specific situation is typically something that other monitoring tools will not be able to detect – they will just continue to show "green lights" since all components are running properly.
When it comes to components changing status (stop/start/enlist etc) this is something AIMS will warn about. It will also inform you of how long the component was in its previous state before changing (for instance a port was running for 90 days before being stopped).
- AIMS has ZERO admin functionality; it's a pure monitoring tool. This is due to security reasons and that AIMS should have as low impact as possible on you BizTalk environment. Other monitoring solutions market themselves as agentless and also provide admin capabilities. However, they are very intrusive on access and DB queries (which very often causes latency issues in BizTalk) which is a major issue for most enterprises.
- The AIMS dashboard gives you a complete overview of the health of your BizTalk. It can show you a complete overview or be customized to focus on specific hosts, parameters, orchestrations, ports, business processes and more.
- AIMS is also the only monitoring tool for BizTalk that focuses on the actual business processes supported, allowing AIMS to report metrics directly on the business processes for LOB owners and system owners.
- Finally, AIMS has the most extensive analytics and reporting capabilities available for Microsoft BizTalk. Reports can be completely customized, and the user can select to set these reports as live dashboard components or have them delivered on a daily / weekly / monthly interval. Reports can be generated for automated healthchecks, scaling reports, performance reports, process reporting and more.