SharePath for SOA and Shared Services Environments

Many IT organizations today are deploying applications that rely on Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) and shared services models, often coupled with a private cloud infrastructure. While these architectures help you become more agile, they also introduce new challenges from operations, application support and development perspectives including:

  1. Understanding how individual components affect application response times - In these highly distributed environments, each user request can flow through a large number of components (frequently over 50 different servers, application containers and databases).  This makes it extremely difficult to understand how individual elements affect performance
  2. Visibility gaps across platforms, layers and tiers - Exposing legacy applications as services and combining them with other platforms running Java, .Net, C/C++ and ESBs increases the complexity and heterogeneity of environments. You can use standard management tools to monitor each of these technologies, but this often leaves visibility gaps and a limited ability to understand the flows and parameters that can affect the way an application performs.
  3. No single owner - In many organizations, distributed teams manage the operation, delivery and development of different parts of applications.  As a result, there is no single person with complete knowledge of how an application works when there is a slowdown or service degradation.

These challenges are becoming more prevalent as new services and applications are frequently introduced in an increasingly agile IT world.

Example environments and layers:

Transaction Flows Across Layers of Architecture

THE EFFECTS ON IT

For Operations and Application Support:  The real flow and dependencies of each user request and application are difficult to track in these new architectures. Visibility gaps make it difficult to identify the source of a performance issue early in the support escalation process, preventing rapid response and putting business and productivity at risk.

For Developers: Since composite applications are unaware of the inner workings of a shared service or back-end application, it can be challenging for developers to know how their code and use of shared services affects performance. Diagnosing performance issues in pre-production and production environments requires significant efforts from different teams and can result in delays in rollouts and the delivery of new projects.

THE SOLUTION: SHAREPATH

The complexity of SOA environments, both technical and organizational, requires a different type of approach to manage application performance, optimize user experience and infrastructure utilization, and reduce risk with rollouts. SharePath is a transaction management solution that provides a single, coherent platform to address these challenges by providing:

  1. Transaction Tracking - SharePath can track each and every individual user request and meter them hop by hop, through all components of the composite, legacy and packaged applications and their shared services without any code changes. With SharePath Transaction Tracking you can:
    • Quickly and effectively isolate performance problems down to the relevant layer, server and executable process, regardless of platform or type.
    • Provide common terminology and views to the disparate teams that manage applications across groups and divisions as well as across operations, application support and engineering.
    • Eliminate visibility gaps and reduce time-to-isolation and resolution from weeks or days to minutes.
  2. Auto Detection and Dependency Mapping - SharePath automatically detects all business transactions and their flows, providing all constituents with real-time, always up-to-date topology and dependency maps of each application and each type of user activity. These auto-detection capabilities make SharePath resistant to infrastructure, architecture and application changes. With SharePath auto-detection and dependency mapping you can:
    • Understand which composite applications and user transactions use which shared services, packaged and legacy applications.
    • Understand real-time dependencies between composite applications and the infrastructure that serves them through all layers.

The following figure illustrates how two individual user requests from the same composite application may have different flows across the layers of the architecture. It also illustrates the dependencies of the composite application across the layers which are derived from the individual transaction flows:

Environments and Layers

  1. Code Level Visibility - Allows Operations and Application Support to provide developers with granular information which is enough to fix an application issue without reproducing it in the lab.
    • Get root cause analysis with full code stack for application errors, exceptions and performance issues.
    • Understand how application code interacts with external components using JDBC, JMS, RMI, HTTP, MQ, LDAP and other protocols/packages.
    • Understand how application utilizes EJBs, servlets, JSFs, Quartz and portlets.
  2. Advanced Analytics - SharePath’s unique analytics provides unmatched views of application and transaction behavior models, as well as shared service utilization. With SharePath Analytics, you can:
    • Understand both infrastructure and shared services usage by composite application or transaction type.
    • Get accurate charge-back information.
    • Highlight and eliminate bottlenecks across all layers to optimize applications and user experience and reduce current and future performance issues.
  3. Real User Monitoring - Helps Operations and Application Owners monitor and manage the real-user experience and the service levels your users get when using business applications. With SharePath Real User Monitoring you can:
    • Provide stakeholders with real-time monitoring and alerting of service levels – Service levels can be defined to match internal goals and then used to alert you before end users are affected.
    • Observe service levels by geography, user, activity or application – This helps you better understand the scope of a network slowdown or outage.
    • Create daily, weekly and monthly reports – Gives you intuitive reports to track performance and service level trends.

WHAT MAKES SHAREPATH IDEAL FOR SOA ENVIRONMENTS

  • Provides the broadest transaction tracking coverage - Recent studies indicate that over 50% of all enterprises use technologies beyond .Net or Java. SharePath is the only tool that can track individual transactions regardless of platform or type, beyond Java and .Net. It can follow transactions through your ESBs messaging mechanisms, C/C++ components, legacy and packaged applications.
  • Self maintaining - SharePath auto-detects changes in your infrastructure and application dependencies, making it resistant to application, technology and infrastructure changes.
  • Deploys fast, requires no prior knowledge of the applications - Whether shared services, packaged or legacy applications, SharePath can be installed and configured by your Operations team so they can independently monitor and manage application performance.
  • Single product platform - Unlike competing products, which require deep integration of disparate components, SharePath is a single platform that uses one collector technology, one repository and one user interface.  As a result, your users get a complete solution that provides clean, coherent views of your application.
  • Enterprise Class - SharePath was designed for high volume, complex production environments. It tracks all transactions, 24×7, while using lightweight collectors that add virtually no overhead.
  • Accurate and Efficient - The complexity of SOA environments increases the amount of elements that could impact application performance. Designed for highly complex architectures, SharePath helps you to make decisions based on real data facts, not samples, averages or synthetics, 100% of the time. You can get your answers fast from a single platform without the need to drill down into multiple systems and piles of data.

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