IBM Business Monitor and IBM Business Process Manager: Together or Separate?
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The starting point for any architectural decision is the requirements whether functional or non-functional. We focus primarily on solving the client's problem. However, we have a duty to show the client what the implications are of each decision regarding the environment, administration, maintenance, migration, and resources management that are required for each solution so that the client is provided with tools to assist in decision-making. Sometimes, the client has restrictions or preconceived ideas about the product that should be addressed during the requirement mapping, analysis, and architecture definition.
The goal of this article is to discuss the role of IBM Business Monitor to monitor the IBM Business Process Manager and other sources. Thinking about some aspects of the IT infrastructure, we have some important points that we must consider when you install and configure these products. These points should be considered as you move forward so they have minimal impact to your business.
We can include the IBM Business Monitor as a part of IBM Business Process Manager or leave them separated, which means they can be in the same cell or in different cells. The term cell is a concept of distributed computing that means having many servers logically grouped and managed by a central process. This conceptual discussion of what is possible and what is right to do with the product also influences the architecture definition.
Deciding to put IBM Business Process Manager and IBM Business Monitor together implicitly implies that we are somehow more concerned with monitoring business processes from IBM Business Process Manager and no other business activities from other sources. Even though we have to monitor other sources, when the products are placed in the same cell, monitoring other sources can impact the performance of application processes. When they are placed in separate cells, the application processes are not affected by executing monitoring process or stopping monitoring servers, either by overload, maintenance, or other situations. Also, there is no impact to the application processes.
When we talk about IBM Business Monitor, we are concerned with Business Activity Monitoring, which are those activities that are available through various systems and technologies; not only activities that are related to IBM Business Process Manager. The main role of the IBM Business Monitor is to enable continuous improvement of the business processes by giving end-to-end visibility through the key performance indicators that can come from metrics available at different sources, including, but not limited to, IBM Business Process Manager.
A recurring architectural discussion we have with customers is which kind of installation approach is a better fit for them. When you correctly use IBM Business Monitor in a business context, you can get all the best of its functionality and visibility of your processes.
From a management and infrastructure complexity point-of-view, when you consider the deployment of process and monitoring applications together and stopping and starting clusters, it might be easier to have a single, centralized management console for these activities. Managing both products through a single console does not necessarily imply that IBM Business Monitor is dedicated only to IBM Business Process Manager. Both products are managed together. However, when we talk about having a single deployment environment that is shared for both products, we are implicitly saying that the primary function of the IBM Business Monitor might be to monitor process applications from IBM Business Process Manager. This statement might be different if we had separate environments for each deployment environment or different cells.
From a maintenance of the products point-of-view, such as applying patches, the fact that both products are still together implies the maintenance of both. If they were separated, applying corrections can be made without the same impact as if they were together. The same process can be used when you consider stopping a cluster. For example, if we need to stop the application cluster, it would stop the process and monitoring applications as well.
Another point is that the separation of the environments might create more complexity because the number of allocated resources needed to the solution tends to grow.
From a migration point-of-view, the environment can be difficult depending on your previous choices. For example, if you have one cell with both products together and you decide to migrate from one cell (IBM Business Process Manager plus IBM Business Monitor together) to separate cells (a IBM Business Process Manager cell and a IBM Business Monitor cell), how can you migrate process and monitoring instances from the old, combined environment to a new, separated environment?
The planning and mapping of the pros and cons based on your requirements and assumptions are essential to make the correct decision before starting the installation process.
Let's examine several points to pay attention to when determining whether to have one or two cells.
Being together (one cell):
Being separate (cells for each product):
What do you think?
Have you ever had this kind of discussion? Share your experience and your point of view with us by adding comments below this post.
For more information, refer to the IBM Redbooks publication entitled, IBM
This blog was posted on May 08, 2013 by Bill Wentworth on behalf of Victor Paulo Alves De Almeida (pictured above). Victor is a WebSphere IT Specialist and is based out of Brasilia, Brazil.