Much More Than a SOAP Monitor

lanir-shachamThis article discusses how SharePath provides immediate visibility into complex SOA transactions–more than just SOAP monitoring.

Imagine the following scenario:

  • An apache server running PHP receives a request for availability of an item.
  • The PHP code uses nusoap to send a SOAP request to a web service hosted on an application server running an IBM WebSphere application server to locate the information.
  • The WebSphere application server receives the SOAP request and sends an SQL statement to an Oracle database.
  • The WebSphere composes a SOAP response and sends it back to the PHP presentation server.
  • The SOAP response is handled and the response page is sent back to the browser.

Using SharePath, you can gain immediate visibility into complex SOA transactions. Only SharePath provides true web services monitoring and SOA monitoring—more than just SOAP monitoring


The pervasive and growing use of services oriented architectures (SOA) and Web services is testimony to its power and versatility. But the loosely-coupled nature of SOA applications and Web services makes it difficult to monitor transactions, creating a tough challenge when trying to isolate and fix performance issues.

SharePath Solves the SOA and Web Services Monitoring Challenge

SharePath provides a clear look inside any SOA system. It provides not only SOAP monitoring and Web services monitoring, but much more—tracking and tracing transactions from end-to-end.

SOA in Business Systems

Services oriented architectures are emerging trends based on the WSDL, SOAP, and Web services standards. As these types of applications become more pervasive, the need for SOA transaction management and Web services monitoring grows. The need for SOA and SOAP monitoring is not just capturing each SOAP request and response, it is primarily the need to understand the context of each

SOAP message and Web service activation across the entire transaction.

Difficulty in Monitoring SOA

The current generation of systems management and monitoring tools lack the ability to track transactions through service oriented architectures composed of heterogeneous platforms (J2EE, .NET framework, PHP, C++). This challenge makes it difficult to detect, isolate, and solve SOA performance problems when using Web services. No matter how you build your SOA, either through a commercial enterprise service bus (ESB) or an open source ESB such as Apache Tuscany, Apache ServiceMix ESB or a roll-your-own ESB, tracking and monitoring transactions is a critical requirement for any SOA-enabled application. Loosely coupled applications are great when it comes to reuse and agility, but make it exponentially more difficult to isolate and fix performance issues.

SOA monitoring and SOAP monitoring includes the following challenges:

  • SOA environments typically include co-dependency between several applications, infrastructure and components.
  • Web services often each have their own log files and monitoring systems.
  • SOA is by nature heterogeneous, so monitoring transactions across several systems is difficult. Furthermore, SOA systems often rely on a variety of libraries and components such as nusoap for PHP, Microsoft SOAP toolkit, and Apache AXIS, each providing its own separate monitoring solution.

A true SOA monitoring, or Web services monitoring, solution is much more than just SOAP monitoring. A SOAP monitor merely captures the SOAP messages flowing between two tiers. However, the SOAP monitor cannot understand the complete path of the transaction. In order to gain true visibility, a SOAP monitor is not enough. To be effective, a SOA monitoring tool needs to monitor individual transactions across multiple components, technologies and environments during both testing and deployment. Business transaction management tools meet this challenge by providing a complete end-to-end view.

SharePath Provides End-to-End Transaction Performance Management

SharePath monitors entire enterprise applications, from the performance in your customer’s browser, to enterprise application performance, the performance of Web services, and the performance of the databases in the backend.

SharePath for Web services monitoring enables you to:

  • Track and monitor every SOAP message and web services call.
  • View the context of each transaction from end-to-end, in real time, as it passes through various Web services and components.