Tracing Transactions from Mobile to Mainframe (Part 1): How to See the Dark Side of the Moon
In this two-part blog series, Syncsort’s Ian Hartley “geeks out” with details about our latest product, which allows for tracing transactions across your infrastructure from mobile to mainframe, shedding light on the blind spots.
I’ll admit it. I’m a geek. OK, I’m a really geeky geek. I “geek out” on many things that some would find very strange indeed. Like a beautifully written piece of program code, or the inner workings of a new piece of hardware. I keep telling my teenage daughter that beauty can be found in many places. Coding, for example, can be art form – creating something that is perfectly formed, efficient, elegant, sufficient to get the job done and also useful (hopefully!). This stuff makes me smile.
One geeky thing that I really enthuse about is airliners. Every time I fly – which I love to do – I am so impressed by the engineering involved in getting these gravity-defying machines into the air, and safely back to earth, with their payloads of people and cargo. They are intrinsically complex and incredibly valuable pieces of equipment. So much so, airlines monitor their position, progress and health as they travel around the globe, every hour of every day of the year. They can determine whether an individual plane is on or off schedule, if its systems are running OK or something needs attention when the plane is next on the ground. Issues can be detected before they become a major, costly problem with a disruptive service outage.
If like me, you are a plane enthusiast, you’ll know you too can track information about aircraft with mobile and browser apps such as FlightRadar24. You can follow a loved-one’s journey across the Atlantic Ocean, in real time, as they head home from a business trip. Check if they will land on time… or not… and save wasted hours waiting at the airport.
You can also see the global network of routes taken by planes currently or previously in the air. Where they have been and where they are right now. However, sometimes there are blind spots. There are areas of the globe where planes appear to “drop off the radar” due to lack of monitoring. It is anyone’s guess where they are or what they are doing in those “dotted line” periods.
Figure 1 Tracked flight with a blind spot – Copyright © FlightRadar24
From discussions we’ve had with customers, this can happen to transactions that travel across an IT infrastructure. Without suitable monitoring in place, there can be blind spots. For example, when a transaction enters the mainframe. It has travelled from a mobile device, via a load balancer, to a web server and has been routed to the mainframe. Its journey is tracked. The organization can see all the hops, until it hit Big Iron… dotted line… off the radar… and then it reappears from the dark side of the moon. But what happened? Did it go slow during it’s time on the mainframe? Did it encounter aliens on the dark side?
Tracing Transactions from Mobile to Mainframe
Wouldn’t it be cool if organizations could easily track transactions for critical systems across their infrastructure and see that dark side? Track from an external mobile device through to the mainframe components and back? The geek in me needs to get to this detail. The detail that customers tell us is so hard to see, and they need to know the full end-to-end story.
Our discussions have also told us that many customers have tried to solve this end-to-end visibility. Some have tried, and rejected, costly solutions that pepper the infrastructure with agents. Others have had some home-grown success, but still do not have a satisfactory solution.
Syncsort’s New Ironstream® Transaction Tracing product enables organizations to get deep insight into the impact of web-based and mobile transactions on the mainframe, with unprecedented granularity that allows them to monitor and improve IT operations and application performance.
What if you could leverage a low-impact, simple solution to track individual transactions across your infrastructure components and get information about their response times and health?
What if you could monitor a specific system and/or action to see if that multi-tiered environment, including mainframe, is delivering good service to your customers?
What if you could see when a critical service starts to underperform and could take corrective action before your user community becomes aware? …Just like tending to that plane before having to take it out of service.
To learn more about Ironstream Transaction Tracing, watch our recorded webcast: End-to-End Transaction Visibility from Mobile Devices to Your Mainframe