Photo: Zemlinki

If you’ve been reading this blog, you probably know that BMC ProactiveNet Performance Manager (BPPM) is a centralized event management system that acts as a single-pane-of-glass for many IT Operations teams as well as other functional groups within IT organizations.  BPPM attempts to bring together as much information as possible about the health of an IT organization from external tools to get an overall view of the environment.

One good way to measure the overall health of a complex system with many moving parts is by injecting synthetic transactions and measuring their response time.  BMC Transaction Management Application Response Time (TM ART) is a tool that does just that.  It runs scheduled synthetic transactions from remote locations against business applications and tracks the availability, accuracy and response time of those transactions.  

Wouldn’t it be nice to see TM ART measurements in BPPM?

Fortunately, the TM ART integration to BPPM is native to both products – no customization needed.  The integration works by way of a data adapter that connects from a BPPM Agent to the TM ART Central Server using HTTP(S).  Data is retrieved on a scheduled basis for all of the TM ART projects that are configured and accessible in TM ART.  The data is stored in BPPM, so Intelligent thresholds can be defined to trigger events against it, just like any other data source.  

Analysis with TrueLog

Besides sending data to BPPM, the TM ART application also runs diagnostics during failures (availability and accuracy only) and captures those as TrueLogs in TM ART.  Reviewing the TrueLog can go a long way toward identifying the cause of an event that was generated in BPPM.  Typically, events have an associated TrueLog that demonstrates the transaction output errors or discrepancies.  Since the TrueLog is such a powerful tool for analyzing  transactions, here is how you can incorporate them into your events.

First, you need to take advantage of TM ART’s ability to execute actions in response to errors to generate a TrueLog of the transaction.  This action is optional and must be enabled when creating or configuring the monitor.  There are three options, as you can see below.

Generate TrueLog: On Error, Always or Never

Once the Generate TrueLog option is enabled in TM ART, you can take advantage of the built-in context Diagnostic in BPPM for all TMART Intelligent Events, shown below:

TM ART Diagnostic options available in BPPM

Notice the name of the action called ‘Run Now + TrueLog’; it does exactly what it states.  It makes a connection to TMART, Logs into the UI and generates a brand new True Log for the monitor in question.  Since this is a manual action, the end user could be creating a new TrueLog at a different time than the event, which may or may not be very helpful.  To get a more timely TrueLog from the Diagnostic, you may want to convert it into an Event Rule to run automatically whenever an event arrives from TM ART.  From our testing, the automated diagnostic seems to run between 6-12 seconds after the original event in TMART.

Cross Launching TrueLog

If you follow the steps above, in the resulting TMART Execution Log area, you would see two TrueLogs – the one created by TMART and the one created by the BPPM Event Rule a number of seconds later.  You may wonder if this duplication is necessary.  So did we.

Although it might seem intuitive to turn off the TrueLog creation in TM ART and just enable the manual diagnostic or the Event Rule in BPPM, this will fail because the BPPM actions rely on the Generate TrueLog option.  Therefore, the ‘Generate TrueLog’ flag can’t be set to ‘Never’. 

A more effective approach is to add a context-sensitive link from the event in BPPM directly to the existing TrueLog in TM ART.   This allows you to cross-launch from the event in BPPM to a very specific page in the Projects Execution Logs:

Example: http://< TMART Server >:< port >/bmc/DEF/Monitoring/Monitoring?pId=8&mainTab=4

The key variable in the above URL is the pID number (8 in the example), which you can usually parse from the mc_smc_alias slot using an MRL rule in BPPM.  Once that value is known, the whole URL can be placed in the mc_object_uri slot and will automatically become an active hyperlink in any event with that value.  The end result is a quick way to launch TM ART from an Event in BPPM and get to the TrueLog for analysis.

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