InterSystems Announces Ensemble Business Activity Monitoring Framework

Prebuilt BAM Components Enhance Rapid Integration Platform

27 February 2004: InterSystems Corporation has introduced a Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) framework that provides prebuilt components for automating real-time activity monitoring and reporting for integration projects. The BAM framework is a major enhancement to InterSystems’ recently launched Ensemble rapid integration platform.

"Ensemble entered the market a few months ago with full support for building BAM solutions," says InterSystems vice president of strategic planning Paul Grabscheid. "It includes a high-performance, extremely scalable object database that stores metadata, messages and process state information, and provides real-time access for auditing and BAM. With the new framework, we’ve taken BAM further with visual dashboards and Business Metric Services that dramatically reduce the time needed to build and deploy BAM for even extremely complex integration projects.

"We’re seeing a trend among large organisations to fully leverage core information assets enterprise-wide," says Grabscheid. "This often leads to projects that integrate information stored on a variety of platforms, as well as applications that run on multiple platforms. Ensemble is targeted to meet these integration requirements, and the new framework offers the components needed to make BAM easy to implement and efficient to operate."

Prebuilt components for Rapid Development, Deployment

Ensemble’s BAM framework features prebuilt components for Business Metric Services and Executive Dashboards. As a result, BAM facilities can be built and deployed in a highly automated way to dramatically speed up integration project implementation.

Using Ensemble Business Metric Services, developers specify time intervals for calculating one or more metric values in a variety of ways, including calls to external applications, aggregating and analysing data from multiple external databases and querying the message warehouse and business processes status information stored within Ensemble.

The metric values provided by a Business Metric Service are placed within high-performance, persistent cache for efficient retrieval. As a result, multiple users can make use of calculated metric values without the expense of recalculation, which occurs only as specified by the developer.

Ensemble’s BAM framework also features Executive Dashboards, each of which is a specialised Web page that provides a real-time, graphical display of the current value of a metric. Each graphical meter is associated with a specific metric property within a Business Metric Service class.

Dashboard meters include prebuilt speedometers, odometers, fuel gauges, light bars, traffic lights, indicator lights, line charts and bar charts. Ensemble also supports development of customised meters, ensuring that information users can receive BAM data in whatever manner is most convenient and easy to interpret. Ensemble dashboards are implemented using standard HTML and structured vector graphics, eliminating lock-in to J2EE or .Net products, and delivering maximum flexibility.

Architected for Real-time Monitoring, Reporting

Ensemble’s BAM architecture is implemented via three logical layers:
- Event Absorption Layer—Handling event collection on an ongoing basis, this architectural layer is implemented with Ensemble’s transactional message warehouse. Transactional bit-map indexing technology and the fusion of Ensemble’s data and application server enable continuous real-time analysis of the message warehouse.
- Event Processing Layer—A set of business metrics, running at scheduled intervals, filtering and analysing real-time data in the message warehouse in order to calculate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). The KPIs can be calculated using pre-built models and templates that include real-time integration with an unlimited number of backend operational systems. Once the KPIs have been calculated, the BAM cache is updated and immediately available to the event delivery and display layer.
- Event Delivery and Display Layer—Provides information recipients with device-independent delivery of critical information after the severity and impact of events have been evaluated. Ensemble’s BAM dashboards display customisable metrics using real-time standard, Web-based visual components. They work in tandem with all of Ensemble’s notification and alert mechanisms (email and pagers, for example) to notify recipients whenever a KPI goes out of range.

Real-time Feedback Critical

"BAM will have the most benefit where real-time analysis and immediate feedback give new power to the management-by-exception models of the past," says InterSystems managing director of enterprise application integration Trevor Matz. "Much of today’s BAM provides managers with insight into transactions and operations, but lacks the ability to close the process feedback loop and enable dynamic changes to the processes that determine business goals.

"Ensemble’s BAM implementation, in contrast, is integrated with the Ensemble business process automation engine," Matz explains. "This completes the feedback loop by funnelling KPIs back into the business processes, making it possible to react dynamically to changing events in the enterprise."

"There is almost no limit to the potential for positive results from developing and deploying real-time BAM in virtually every industry sector," says Matz. "We are looking forward to working with our partners and user organisations as they leverage this technology in successful integration initiatives."

Pricing and Availability

Ensemble, including the new BAM framework, is available now on the HP Alpha OpenVMS, HP Alpha Tru64, Unix, HP-UX, IBM AIX, Linux, SunSolaris and Microsoft Windows operating platforms. Ensemble Enterprise license pricing starts at €151,250 per CPU.

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