Transaction Management and the End-User Experience
April 15, 2011
Nir Livni
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Business Service Management (BSM) tools link IT components and the business services they support. BSM has changed both the way IT is managed and the conversation between IT and the business, putting focus on service levels of key business processes rather than on service level agreement (SLA) management of specific IT components.

Ensuring service levels and end-user satisfaction in today’s dynamic IT environment needs more than that; users don’t care whether IT is providing 99.9 percent uptime for a business service. They want the service available when they need it, and they want efficient processing of their personal requests and transactions. They care about how they are served, not about general service levels.

Standard BSM tools do a good job of providing aggregate service information in a steady state IT environment, but can’t provide insight into how specific user transactions perform or keep up with a constantly changing IT environment. That is where transaction management comes in. It provides detailed transaction information for dynamic IT environments. Whether you want to ensure customers in Berlin are receiving the same level of service as those in New York, or that end-user response time isn’t being affected by the constant day-to-day changes in your IT environment, transaction management is a critical tool in your BSM arsenal.

“Change” is a major issue for today’s dynamic IT environments, which means making sure that service levels (and especially the end-user experience) are not impacted by the daily shifts occurring in your IT environment. Whether you are going through a significant initiative like implementing a private cloud, rolling out a new application, moving to a public cloud or just managing the daily routine of provisioning new virtual machines, code-pushes, patches or configuration changes, you’re likely generating change in your IT environment. Any one of those changes could negatively impact your end-user’s productivity and user experience, along with your bottom line revenue.

Augmenting BSM with Transaction Management

Your BSM needs to provide insight into how changes could affect your end-users’ experiences so that you know about potential problems before your customers start calling. If service levels have degraded, your BSM needs to pinpoint which changes are causing the problem. Augmenting your BSM with transaction management capabilities is the only way to do that.

In today’s modern data center, components, applications and topologies are in a constant state of change, which is even more pronounced in a cloud or virtualized environment. When everything is in flux, transactions are the only way to link underlying infrastructure and network components to actual user experience and business services. Tracking and metering each and every transaction through all its hops provides the data needed to model cross-tier transaction behavior and analyze transaction behavior changes, providing the visibility and context needed to really understand what is going on in today’s complex, hybrid IT environments. Without these two key capabilities, BSM tools can’t link the end-user experience of a business service to the dynamic, constantly changing IT environment used to support it, and realize what truly impacts your end-users.

Incorporating transaction management with your BSM enables you to go beyond just real-time aggregate view of end-user experience, availability, response times and service levels. By tracking and metering transactions across every element, transaction management identifies the exact impact of each element on the end-user experience and how that impact changes over time. This provides a fast and effective way to isolate problems and pinpoint bottlenecks in the data center, network or online application. Capturing 100 percent of real user interactions 24x7, transaction management enables IT to know immediately if there are any problems. By monitoring transactions and capturing the information from every point on the transaction’s path, you’ll be able to see exactly how transactions are performing every step of the way, through all the IT components in their path.

Transaction management enables BSM to accurately relate components, end-user performance and SLAs, providing the end-user context of a component malfunction even in an ever-changing IT environment. Not only will you know that a component malfunctioned, but you will also understand the ramifications of that malfunction. It provides insight into your users’ experiences worldwide, pinpointing the root cause of any service issue, even those hard-to-diagnose intermittent service degradation problems.

So no matter whether you already have BSM or are thinking about implementing it, make sure comprehensive transaction management is part of the package. Your end users will thank you for it.

About Nir Livni

Nir Livni is Vice President of Products at Correlsense and has more than 16 years of experience in the software industry with a background in product and R&D management. Nir is a graduate of the MAMRAM IDF computer academy and holds a degree in economics and computer science from Bar Ilan University along with a Master of Business Administration from Tel Aviv University.

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