Bringing analytics to APM with the Unified Transaction Model – Part 1

In a recent posting in APMdigest, JP Garbani, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, was asked his opinion on the most significant recent advancement that has transformed application performance management (APM).  He answered, “The ability to trace individual transactions is the biggest progress that has been made…because there is no other way to bring all the components together.”

So what’s next?

According to Garbani, now that APM tools have the ability to collect data from multiple sources and understand the mapping of the transactions, we need more intelligence to interpret the data from different sources in a meaningful way.

To that end, INETCO has introduced the Unified Transaction Model (UTM) – a means to make sense of Big Transaction Data and efficiently bring deeper analytics to APM solutions.

Transactions provide critical information about the end user experience, individual applications and network infrastructure components.  The Unified Transaction Model (UTM) helps IT operations and application service teams to analyze application response times and network behavior in relation to the specific business process or task that the end user is trying to perform.

The Unified Transaction Model is expressed in four distinct aspects:

  • A hierarchical model which defines system infrastructure components, their properties, actors, inter-dependencies, relationships, events (messages and sub-transactions), and the overall business process;
  • A mapping and configuration process whereby the model structure is applied to a specific IT system in terms of the network topology;
  • A real-time correlation process that constructs instances of events (e.g. transactions) at each level of the hierarchy, selecting the events from the lower level (e.g. messages) to aggregate in terms of the topological model
  • An analysis of the events at each level with respect to metrics of performance specific to each level.

The key to the Unified Transaction Model is its structured and hierarchical approach to transactions.  Transaction types are defined according to a series of nested levels.  The entities at a given level are composed of entities from the level below.  For example, an application can be viewed as composed of one or more functional IT services such as a user interface, business logic, and a datastore.  And each IT service is composed of one or more servers inter-connected by network links.  Events at each level are a type of transaction that are similarly composed of transactions from the level below – exchanges of application messages are composed of network-level exchanges of packets.

The basic UTM implementation comprises four levels:

  • Business level – business processes that employ applications
  • Application level – end-to-end applications interacting with users
  • IT services level – inter-operating processes running on nodes
  • Network level – nodes with interfaces connected via a network

The UTM framework transforms the complexity and opacity of modern applications into ordered and visible meaning.  It maps physical and virtual IT infrastructure into well-defined entities that have explicit relationships with one another within a hierarchical framework.   Further it defines the functional nature of applications that run on the infrastructure and the types of events that take place within the framework.  The events are kinds of transactions that take place at different degrees of granularity, with higher-level transactions composed of lower-level transactions.

Be sure to check out Part 2 of this blog next week.

If you are interested in learning more about the Unified Transaction Model (UTM) , you can watch the video below, read the whitepaper, or sign up for our thought leadership webinar being held Thursday, March 8th at 9am PST.