Heat map analytics in IBM Rational System Architect: Part 1. Concepts and configuration

Analytics are an important part of any enterprise architecture, because they help developers and managers identify highs and lows of the business and take necessary action. Any kind of analytics help decision-makers get important information at a very high level. This article walks you through the steps to create analytics in IBM® Rational® System Architect and explains how to use the Heat Map Manager feature to manage them.

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Vatsala Ramachandran (vatsala.ramachandran@in.ibm.com), Senior Software Developer, IBM

Vatsala Ramachandran holds a master’s degree in computer systems. She has been in the software industry close to 12 years and on the IBM Rational System Architect development team for the past five years, where she has been involved in the design and development of various features.



18 January 2011

Also available in Chinese

The value of heat maps

An important aspect of enterprise architecture is the ability to enable higher management to make informed decisions and to eliminate inefficient and redundant processes.

According to a WhatIs definition:

Purported advantages of having enterprise architecture include improved decision making, improved adaptability to changing demands or market conditions, elimination of inefficient and redundant processes, optimization of the use of organizational assets, and minimization of employee turnover.

Heat maps in IBM Rational System Architect help us understand critical points or problematic areas on a model artifact. A model may contain hundreds of artifacts, so we might need ways of grouping them or differentiating a few symbols from the others. Heat maps use colors or icons as a way of doing this.


Situations where heat maps are helpful

Situation 1

A large enterprise has a lot of applications, and your team thinks that there is some redundancy. There are certain properties that you use to help identify redundant applications. So, you can write a report that checks certain properties and, if satisfied, color those symbols. Different colors denote different levels of redundancy, thus helping you decide the action to take for these applications.

Situation 2

Your company has many processes, and some of them are critical for the effective operations of the enterprise. These need to be highlighted so that, at any point in time, you as an Enterprise Architect, know that these processes need attention

Now, let us look at how you can do this.


How to apply heat maps in Rational System Architect

To apply heat maps, you first need to create diagrams or models that use the relevant definitions.

The following shows a System Architecture diagram in Rational System Architect, where a few applications in the enterprise are modeled and their dependencies shown

Figure 1. System architecture diagram
Detailed diagram

Larger view of Figure 1.

In Figure 2, when you select an application the "Perpetual license cost" property for that application can be seen in the properties window. This property is what to use for the heat maps.

Figure 2. Property of the selected symbol
Property editor, property of the selected symbol

Larger view of Figure 2.

  1. With any diagram open, select View > Heat Map Manager (Figure 3) to open the Heat Map Manager.
Figure 3. The Heat Map Manager
Initial view of the Heat Map Manager

Larger view of Figure 3.

The Heat Map Manager displays all collections of analytics that are configured for the type of the currently open diagram. For each collection, all of the analytics are displayed, along with the color to apply to symbols that satisfy that analytic condition. You can also configure analytics to show icons rather than colors. You will see how to do that soon.

  1. Click the Analytic Builder Wizard icon in the Heat Map Manager toolbar.
Figure 4. Analytic Builder Wizard icon in the Heat Map Manager
Icon in the toolbar has a gold star in the corner

This invokes a wizard that you can use to define analytics, analytic collections, and analytic reports. See Resources for a link to the IBM Rational System Architect information center (documentation) to get more information about each of these topics.

  1. In Step 1 of the wizard (Figure 5), type a name for the analytic (for this example, use High License Cost), and then click Next.

In this UI, the existing list will show only report-based analytics that are defined in the encyclopedia.

Figure 5. Step 1 of 4 in the wizard
Step 1 of 4 of the Analytic Wizard
  1. In Step 2 of the wizard (Figure 6), type a name for the analytic report that you need to create (for this example, High License Cost Applications Report).

In this UI, the existing list will show all analytic reports that are defined in the encyclopedia.

Figure 6. Step 2 of 4 in the wizard
Specify the criteria for the report to save
  1. Click the Create button to define the report.
Figure 7. Creating the report
Specify Report Criteria window

Larger view of Figure 7.

  1. Specify your criteria. Because you chose the "Perpetual license cost" property, here is a report that is defined, based on that property.
  2. Click OK to get back to Figure 6, and then click the Next button there.
  3. In Step 3 (Figure 8), select a color or an icon to display for the analytic. If you have "Color" selected, the Select button will be enabled. If you have "Icon" selected, the Browse button will be enabled.
Figure 8. Step 3 of 4 in the wizard
Specify depiction to be applied for symbols
  • Clicking the Select button opens the standard choice dialog window.
  • Clicking the Browse button opens the Encyclopedia File Manager (Figure 9), where we can choose a bitmap file to use as an icon. If the picture that you want to use does not exist there, you can import a file from the file system into the Encyclopedia file manager and use that file.
Figure 9. Encyclopedia File Manager window
Image selected and shown in preview pane
  1. Click OK to use the selected file for the analytic and go back to Figure 8, and click Next button to go to the next step.
  2. In Step 4 (Figure 10), you must decide whether you want to show the analytic on the Heat Map Manager or not.
    • If you select No, don't display in the Heat Map Manager, the analytic definition that you just entered values for gets created in the encyclopedia but does not figure in the Heat Map Manager.
    • If you have an existing collection for the current diagram type, you can put this analytic in that by choosing the second option.
    • Otherwise, you can create a new analytic collection for this diagram type and put the analytic inside of that. For this, choose the first option, type a new name, and click Next.
Figure 10. Step 4 of 4 in the wizard
Step 4 of 4 of the Analytic Builder Wizard

In the Summary window, you can see a record of the information that you entered on each step.

Figure 11. The wizard's summary of your actions
Analytic Builder Wizard, Summary view

Tip:

If you want to change anything, you can click the Back button to edit any information and then come back here to click the Finish button.

You have successfully created an analytic, an analytic collection, and an analytic report. As Figure 12 shows, the collection and the analytic will appear on the Heat Map Manager display now.

Figure 12. Final Heat Map Manager view
New definition appears after changes

The next step is to create two more analytics like this. You can follow the same steps, but with the following changes:

For analytic 2

  1. Name: Type Medium License Cost.
  2. Report Name: Medium License Cost Applications Report

The report content must look like Figure 13.

Figure 13. Report content for second analytic
Report defined for the second of three analytics

Larger view of Figure 13.

  1. Color: Choose a color.
  2. Select Add to an existing collection, and select the new analytic collection that you created previously.
  3. Click Finish on the Summary screen

For analytic 3

  1. Name:Low License Cost
  2. Report Name:Low License Cost Applications Report

The report criteria must look like Figure 14.

Figure 14. Report content for third analytic
Report defined for the third analytic

Larger view of Figure 14.

  1. Color: Choose a color.
  2. Select Add to an existing collection, and then select the new analytic collection that you created.
  3. Click Finish on the Summary screen.

After these steps, the Heat Map Manager should look like Figure 15.

Figure 15. Final Heat Map Manager view
Heat Map Manager after adding the new analytics
  1. Now, check the three analytics that you want to apply on the diagram, and click the Apply icon in the top toolbar, as shown in Figure 16.
Figure 16. Apply icon
The apply button on the Heat Map Manager

The diagram should now look like Figure 17.

Figure 17. Diagram with heat maps applied
Color-coded diagram after applying heat maps

Larger view of Figure 17.

You can build more analytics and analytic reports in a similar fashion, based on your business requirements.

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