Unlocking Insights and Visibility Into TIBCO With APM Software

TIBCO Software is a global leader in integration, API management and analytics. The company recently was named a leader in the Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management report for the fourth consecutive time. TIBCO’s traditional strength in application integration is based on its enterprise service bus (ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks), message-oriented middleware (Enterprise Message Service and FTL), and off-the-shelf adapters for applications and other platforms.

TIBCO offers real-time analytics and operational intelligence, including process-intelligence Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) (in AMX BPM); business intelligence BAM, visual data discovery and predictive analytics (in Spotfire and R); business rule processing (in AMX Decisions); two stream analytics CEP platforms (BusinessEvents and StreamBase); and other capabilities.

Critical Banking and Infrastructure Dependencies Require Reliability

In large financial institutions around the world, critical processes such as online banking, mortgages and payments rely on TIBCO. If TIBCO systems were to go down, banking customers wouldn’t be able to get mortgage information, borrow money, or even pay their bills. Indeed, the importance of keeping TIBCO systems up and running is extremely high. It’s equally important for TIBCO users to identify issues, provide solutions, and respond immediately to potential problems as quickly as possible.

More Insights, Please

TIBCO’s product line is extremely powerful, but it can be complicated and expensive for many small and midsize business process management (BPM) projects. As I’ve seen quite a few times throughout my career, TIBCO can be a black box for companies, which usually lack the ability to see inside the code. The reason is that TIBCO users are not exposed to code, but instead use a GUI called TIBCO Designer to create integration projects for their enterprise environments. The good news is that application performance management (APM) software can provide insights into how TIBCO is working under the hood.

When you intend to monitor something as immensely complex as TIBCO, you need a good plan. The first step is to identify what is important and what is not. Therefore, your initial focus should be on identifying the most important business flows on the TIBCO side, and defining the most important business transactions on the APM side. Mapping the relationship between TIBCO workflows (customer/business journeys) and AppDynamics Business Transactions—a key monitoring component consisting of all required services in your environment—is the next logical step. (For a deeper dive into the philosophy of configuring BTs, read How to Identify Impactful Business Transactions in AppDynamics.)

Once mapping has been established, TIBCO users should be able to understand and ultimately resolve performance issues, as well as optimize infrastructure and application setup. But that’s just the beginning.

Dashboards for Real-Time Metrics

AppDynamics can enrich TIBCO monitoring by comparing real-time EMS metrics side-by-side with metrics measured by our Java agent in handy dashboards, providing useful insights into TIBCO’s performance. This is achieved by configuring the AppDynamics TIBCO EMS Monitoring Extension. You will need to give this extension access to your TIBCO EMS server. Our machine agent then uses the extension and feeds the data directly from the EMS server to AppDynamics, where we can display it side-by-side next to real-time metrics provided by our Java agents.

How About Some Alerts?

Of course, users also need to know when something is wrong—and not only by looking at a nice dashboard! This is why you should utilize the power of AppDynamics Health Rules, which leverage dynamic baselines to establish performance thresholds and configure them for Business Transactions. Once these rules are defined and configured, you’re all set: When AppDynamics detects a potential issue, it triggers a Health Rule and sends out a notification. This enables the user, with just a few clicks, to examine the Business Transaction snapshot and get code-level details for every anomaly, even under extreme load. Therefore, AppDynamics’ three-click drill down allows TIBCO customers to pinpoint issues in a very short amount of time.

In many respects, TIBCO is still a grey area for companies, as it is difficult, if not impossible to see its inner workings. (As mentioned above, TIBCO users never see the internal code, but instead rely on the GUI-based TIBCO Designer.) AppDynamics’ monitoring brings more insight into how TIBCO works behind scenes, and gives users a better understanding of how their configuration is tied to TIBCO code. Although it might not be meaningful to the user to see TIBCO code errors, this information could prove valuable to TIBCO support and lead to faster mean time to resolve.

A High-Level Overview

For companies using TIBCO as a backbone for their services, a cross-application flow view is exceptionally useful for seeing which applications are communicating with TIBCO. The screenshot below shows a practical, graphic representation of a TIBCO user’s environment in AppDynamics.*

AppDynamics can create an intuitive diagram of TIBCO workflows, such as one showing the health of each TIBCO operation translated into one or more Business Transactions.

Above you see a slightly different view, one more business-focused and based on normal APM data. However, if you need more detailed business-focused dashboards with funnel graphs, a number of unique transactions, or full end-to-end duration of each transaction, there is a way! All this and much more can be achieved by using AppDynamics Business iQ. (Read how AppDynamics Business Journeys provide a unified, end-to-end application view and help solve complex business problems.)

Global financial institutions depend on TIBCO’s real-time analytics and operational intelligence to keep their operations running efficiently. But TIBCO can be a black box for companies, which need a powerful APM solution to gain code-level insights into their environments and to resolve issues quickly.

*All screenshots shown in this article are not actual representations of TIBCO’s environment.

AppDynamics Transaction Analytics Raises the Bar for Business Metrics

Last year, we announced our Real-Time Business Metrics (RTBM) capabilities to the world. The response from our existing and new customers has been amazing. We’ve seen business and IT dashboards created and used by business and technology executives alike.

We’ve seen major hotel chains collect metrics like searches and bookings per brand, incoming partner search and booking volumes, and detailed revenue reports by property location and booking channel. We’ve seen some of the largest car rental agencies in the world track revenue per region in real time to proactively identify business impact. We’ve also seen major footwear retailers track revenue per shoe type, checkout total and discount percentages to make better business decisions. These are just a small sample of the industries and use cases where RTBM has been successfully used.

When we introduced RTBM, it was a meaningful first step on the path to create a real-time analytics platform to serve both business and technology stakeholders equally well. After all, the most successful businesses today are transforming themselves into digital enterprises to deliver products and services through the channels consumers use most often. Mobile and internet-based consumption have taken center stage and most enterprises are investing heavily to meet that consumption model.

However, RTBM isn’t the only way we allow customers to better understand  their business problems.  AppDynamics’ overall analytics capabilities encompass three main focus areas:

Business Analytics harnesses the power of RTBM to provide meaningful business information and alerts.

analytics page - real-time business metrics graphic2

Business Analytics is used to answer the following types of questions:

  • What is our total revenue for the day?
  • How many checkout transactions failed today?
  • How many trades completed successfully today?
  • How many car rental reservations were made today?

The second type of analytics we offer is Operational Analytics, which collects all of the infrastructure data (OS metrics, JMX metrics, WMI or perfmon metrics, log data, etc.) from your devices and application components.

scalability analysis

Operational Analytics is used to answer the following types of questions:

  • What is the breakdown of failed transactions between 3G and 4G mobile networks?
  • How many connection pool errors led to failed transactions today?
  • Which application components are throwing errors that caused failed transactions?

Today, we announced the future availability of AppDynamics’ third type of analytics, Transaction Analytics, an integral component of the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform, which was also announced today.

Transaction Analytics captures raw business data from all layers of an application and across every single node without altering any code.  Gathering this data, correlating it with operational intelligence, and presenting it in a way that makes it easy for customers to answer important business questions is a capability we are extremely excited about.

analytics

For example, capturing the specific details of each transaction enables businesses to answer the following questions:

  • Which Android users experienced failed checkout transactions in the last 24 hours and what was in their cart at the time?
  • How many customers experienced a slow ‘submit reservation’ transaction in the last hour from a Chrome browser in New York and what was the total dollar amount of those reservations?
  • What was the revenue impact by product category associated with the two marketing campaigns we ran on Black Friday?
  • How many transactions originated from Tier 1 partners over the last 90 days and what was the resource utilization and revenue associated with those requests?
  • How many car rental reservations were made for each category of vehicle and what is the associated breakdown of revenue by region?
  • What are the total bookings from California broken down between iOS and Android, and what is the associated breakdown between wireless carriers.

The answers to the questions above help make better business decisions like:

  • Immediately fixing a business mistake that is negatively impacting revenue
  • Investing in a “mobile first” strategy
  • Choosing what marketing campaigns to run again and which to stop
  • Selecting what product types to buy more of for increased revenue growth and determining which regions to market them
  • What mobile platform should we invest more time and effort into?
  • Do we need to make our mobile application more resilient to poor network performance?
  • Do we have technology problems related to specific products, regions, or consumption models?

One of the unique differentiators of all of our analytics capabilities is that it does not require any change to existing code. AppDynamics will gather all of the requisite data from your servers without the use of special compiled API calls or extra logging statements.

If you’d like to get started using AppDynamics to try business & operational analytics out for yourself, you can create a free account and start monitoring and analyzing your applications today.  If you are interested in being a part of our upcoming Transaction Analytics beta program, you can find more information here.