Tracing the Transaction into 2011
November 27, 2010
Byrne Chapman
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Believe it or not, 2010 is almost over and IT organizations are starting to allocate their 2011 budgets and decide how they will cope with the continued pressures to reduce spending while improving the availability and performance of business transactions. High on the priority list is improving the quality of service of their applications, infrastructure and web presence. However, managing the costs associated with ensuring high availability and reliability is challenging IT managers to think in different directions and dimensions.

In 2010, enterprises increased their adoption of transaction management solutions to improve the quality of service while maintaining, or even reducing, costs. Transaction management is the tracking and reporting of reliability and performance data for business transactions. By tracing these transactions and stitching the information together into a cohesive reporting structure, IT may determine where and when issues arise before there are any service outages or concerns.

The adoption of transaction management integrates the performance of IT systems with the performance of business transactions to create transparency between the impact that IT systems have on the success of the business and the key part it plays in improving business service quality.

Looking ahead into 2011, the increased use of transaction management in the enterprises will be driven by three items: the need to link business and IT goals, effective capacity planning and management, and virtualization.

The first of the trends will be a strong adoption of transaction management practices to improve service and reduce costs. Successful enterprises will realize closer communications between business and IT functions. IT will be able to clearly see the impact of IT systems on business users. Business and IT will have a common understanding where services may be improved based on the in-depth data from the performance of business transactions.

As an example, think about your interaction with an ATM machine. When you use an ATM, you want to complete a business transaction as quickly as possible, without any service flaws or interruptions. You aren’t thinking about the technical aspects of the transaction such as network utilization, processor performance and storage configurations as would concern IT managers. Transaction management processes and technology create the strong relationship between business transactions and technical transactions. The creation of these relationships provides an opportunity for IT to monitor the health of business transactions. It also offers the opportunity for IT and business personnel to have meaningful discussions on service levels, availability management and transaction costs. Transaction management is a new opportunity to strengthen the relationships with business personnel.

Formal capacity planning for processors, storage and networks is the second 2011 trend. IT is tasked with carefully balancing the service delivery with operational costs. Accurately understanding business trends and modeling resource demands allows IT to ensure that processor, storage and network resources needed are available. By tracking business transaction trends and understanding the resources consumed, you can build a knowledge base for estimating how changes will impact the IT infrastructure. Transaction management is a key element in this equation as it offers a looking glass into the technical transactions that comprise a business transaction.

Clearly understanding this relationship is important in the capacity planning process. Once the changes for business transactions have been projected, the transaction management processes can be used to identify the changes in IT transaction volumes and the associated changes in resource consumption patterns. Capacity planning is also an important planning element in the movement to virtualized platforms.

Finally, virtualized environments will continue to rise in 2011 as enterprises look for cost efficient methods to consume more of the processor and storage capacity in their data centers. Virtualization adds a new level to the IT infrastructure. Enterprises will need to carefully manage these new computing and storage solutions in order to ensure that the economic benefits are realized and the business value is delivered. Transaction management offers a management solution in the virtualized processor and storage environment to ensure that the service provided to business transactions is accurately reported and meets the service level agreements (SLAs) established by the business users.

In summary, transaction management is a key component in the success of IT organizations. Understanding the level of service being delivered for critical business transactions is invaluable in building customer relationships and goodwill with business partners. Capacity planning is critical to ensure that sufficient resources are available to meet workload demands and agreed upon SLAs and virtualization offers opportunities to reduce capital and operational costs while meeting agreed upon service levels.

About Byrne Chapman

Byrne Chapman has spent most of his professional career as an IT executive in the insurance industry. He is a technology consultant for Correlsense, which offers SharePath, software for managing business transactions throughout the data center.

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