Monitoring Message Flow - Middleware transactions (Fifth of a six-part blog series that describes how a team of IT pros and managers at one of the world’s largest global banks accommodated a bank acquisition and mastered a complex messaging environment.)

Messaging Middleware and the Importance of Message Tracking

Regardless of vendor, today’s messaging middleware has transformed the way applications communicate and exchange information. Application integration has brought about significant advantages to the development of composite applications; however, it has also brought about a need to track messages end-to-end through JMS, WebSphere MQ, DataPower, message brokers and other middleware.

As IT complexity has grown, compliance and integration needs have evolved, creating a critical need to track underlying message exchanges between IT services and their corresponding business services. IT professionals who support critical business applications must deal with the problematic consequences of performance degradation or messages that fail to make it to their respective destinations. When messaging failures occur, they can be quite difficult to resolve and take countless hours to troubleshoot.

Real-time message tracking provides visibility into message flows enabling organizations to prioritize problems appropriately and work on the issues that have the most impact to the business, such as:

  • Where is my message?
  • Where is my order?
  • Are orders flowing as expected?

Many problems turn out to be false alerts. The sophisticated rule-based processing capabilities available in AutoPilot’s CEP (Complex Event Processing) engine can suppress most if not all of these false alerts while simultaneously providing IT teams with information they’re interested in most: pro-active notification about pending disruptions in message flows and stuck or hung messages.

Benefits from Message Tracking Capability

MegaBank’s middleware team now had the troubleshooting capabilities they needed to quickly resolve issues their newer applications were facing in a more complex, combined IT infrastructure. With AutoPilot’s built-in message tracking facility, the team was able to extend the unified “Big Picture” management approach they had pursued for general middleware monitoring and administration.

AutoPilot provided the following benefits:

  • Real-time tracking of JMS, WMQ and DataPower middleware message flows (transactions)
  • Instant detection of delayed, compromised or incomplete JMS, WMQ and DataPower middleware message flows (transactions)
  • “Dope and Trace” and “Recognize and Trace” technologies in conjunction with unique Transaction IDs enabled stitching and inferencing of the message stream
  • Notification and automated actions based on user-defined criteria
  • Middleware payload data could be used to stitch messages together based on business policy
  • WMQ transaction throughput and message volume analysis performed in real-time
  • Storage of all performance-related information in an easily accessible SQL database
  • Audit trail for all transactions and messages
  • WMQ transaction activity reports on a daily, weekly, monthly basis
  • Policy-driven monitoring and automated notification
  • Identifies the root cause of performance bottlenecks

In the next and last installment of Making a Happy Marriage of WebSphere & TIBCO Infrastructures – Part 6, I discuss scaling and performance aspects related to AutoPilot, and why it is the product of choice to monitor and manage middleware and messaging processes in the largest and most demanding of infrastructure environments.