Transaction monitoring, also known as business transaction management, is the supervision of critical business applications and services by auditing the individual transactions that flow across the application infrastructure.
Transaction monitoring tools measure the response time performance of each component, as well as the links between any of the components. This information gives the operations team the precise data they need to see where a performance slowdown is occurring. It also provides the team with a view of the flow and performance of individual transactions as each makes its way across the data center. Development and test organizations may also use transaction monitoring during the pre-production phase to identify potential bottlenecks.
By following each transaction, hop-by-hop across the data center and the cloud, an information technology (IT) operations team can immediately see where performance slowdowns are occurring. There are several ways to monitor transactions. Some systems attempt to track transactions by inserting a unique identifier into each discrete system request – this is called tag and follow. Others use the unique information within each system request to piece the transaction together.
Most operations tools manage infrastructure by monitoring resources such as CPU or disk space. Infrastructure availability is important, but it misses the larger point -- which is that the infrastructure exists to deliver business services. When there is a good transaction monitoring system in place, an IT department can become more proactive about how specific systems execute service delivery. This is especially important now that the cloud has become an accepted part of the IT infrastructure in many organizations. Transaction monitoring provides the operations team with the ability to map specific business systems – for example, all of the components that make up a website, an online banking system, an inventory management application or an http-based distributed application.