BizTalk Server: Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) Concepts

What is BAM used for?

BAM is used to monitor business milestones and key metrics in near real-time throughout a process in BizTalk.

Description

Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) provides visibility on business processes by tracking process milestones and business data (KPIs). BAM allows business users and decision makers to gain insight into the current health of in-flight processes they are responsible for. Up-to-date information is accessible to users via Microsoft Office BI tools or a designated portal and through automatic business alerts. This allows users to streamline and improve daily business operations by proactively escalating issues and mitigating problems sooner.

BAM is composed of a collection of tools and runtime components to layer business tracking without having to write any code. A set of runtime interceptors capture interesting business events inside of BizTalk Application or other applications and publish those events into the BAM infrastructure.

It also provides a set of tools for managing this infrastructure, tools for aggregating and viewing the data as well as APIs to optionally publish data to through custom code.

BAM is tied directly to the central BizTalk engine (that is, processes and databases) through OLAP cubes. These cubes are created automatically when a developer deploys a BAM report and profile, typically by using a combination of Microsoft Excel pivot tables and the BizTalk Tracking Profile Editor.

BAM Activities

BAM activities identify the milestones and tracking data an individual is interested in tracking. Milestones are the steps in an activity that are measured in time, and tracking data is the key data points in a process you are interested in tracking (such as a customer ID or name).

BAM View

A BAM view is a representation of the milestones and business data tracked in one or more activities.

  • The Group milestone allows related milestones to be treated as a single milestone. For example, grouping the EndSuccess and Exception milestones is useful to indicate the completion of the process regardless of whether it completed successfully or failed.
  • A duration calculates the time between two business milestones and is useful when reporting the time elapsed between two milestones is important.
  • A progress dimension defines milestones and stages for a process. A progress dimension allows you to display how many processes are in an existing status at a given time. For example, a progress dimension will display how many processes are in the middle of execution, how many encountered an exception, or how many processed without an exception.
  • Alias Allows the referencing of a previously created milestone

BAM alerts

BAM alerts allow you to configure and receive alerts related to specific changes in business data. Alerts are set up per BAM view.

BAM is based on SQL Server Reporting Services, and events are fundamentally triggered via SQL Server Notification Services.

Deployment

Use the deploy-all command to deploy the BAM activity and view defined in your BAM Excel workbook:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft BizTalk Server 2006\Tracking\BM.exe deploy-all -DefinitionFile:"MyBAMWorkbook.xls"

This command reads the BAM Excel workbook specified in the DefinitionFile parameter and creates SQL Server database artifacts based on the activities and view defined in the spreadsheet.

Related links

Tags: BizTalk | BAM

Author: Sandro Pereira

Sandro Pereira lives in Portugal and works as a consultant at DevScope. In the past years, he has been working on implementing Integration scenarios both on-premises and cloud for various clients, each with different scenarios from a technical point of view, size, and criticality, using Microsoft Azure, Microsoft BizTalk Server and different technologies like AS2, EDI, RosettaNet, SAP, TIBCO etc. He is a regular blogger, international speaker, and technical reviewer of several BizTalk books all focused on Integration. He is also the author of the book “BizTalk Mapping Patterns & Best Practices”. He has been awarded MVP since 2011 for his contributions to the integration community.

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