What’s the state of operationalizing Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) monitoring and management tools? Are the typical network, systems, enterprise operations/management centers (NOC/SOC/EOC/EMC) up to speed on how to manage, monitor, triage, troubleshoot and in general understand how SOA is being used in companies that are adopting it? Should the operations center care that they have an event from something related to SOA infrastructure and respond differently than they would for a non-SOA event? Have SOA events, incidents, problems, process and workflow been thoroughly implemented in such a way that “it just works” like traditional enterprise monitoring and management? Or, are these fancy SOA monitoring and management solutions really reserved for those applications experts responsible for complex application support and development?

If a client continues to struggle with fundamental e2e service monitoring and management, transaction monitoring and management or even batch job monitoring and management, what will their chances of success be for SOA monitoring and management? Could SOA and associated “service or transaction oriented monitoring” be a catalyst to shore up these other areas? Should one be tackled/improved before starting on another? At a minimum, instituting a “service oriented” organizational structure and mentality is certainly something I’d recommend for anyone adopting broad based SOA principles.

Eric Roch offers some solid advice on SOA Monitoring and Management which highlights that there’s more need for doing the fundamentals of systems, application and service management and monitoring really well as a foundation for SOA Monitoring and Management.

Others (and my preferred focus area) feel that monitoring SOA should really be more closely related to monitoring what this SOA initiative and deployment’s all about – the business. Business Service Management (BSM), Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) and Business Process Management (BPM) all play a key role in helping understand how IT infrastructure, systems, applications, etc. support and impact the business’s goals and objectives. The fairly new buzzword Business Transaction Management (BTM) spearheaded by Correlsense and OpTier really speaks to the desired need here.

I feel that it’s got to be a focus on both of these areas, but with a strong preference to the “B” buzzword set since most IT organizations are likely using the “improve/standardize/reuse/efficiency/time-to-market” spin to aide in business support and justification for their SOA initiatives. That said, you’d BETTER focus on the things that the business cares about and show them tangible evidence that your SOA initiative is making things better for them. This is very possible by adopting a BSM, BAM, BPM, BTM (or a preferred combination) strategy that focuses on providing the right level of business visibility into the SOA environment and more importantly the e2e business services, applications, transactions, processes and activities. It ultimately all ties back to the service level agreements delivered to the business anyway right?

What’s on the market these days for SOA Monitoring and Management? Should you get your monitoring and management tooling from your core SOA platform vendor or should you take a third party, “best of breed” approach? Are there true “vendor neutral” solutions out there? Are clients implementing SOA architectures based on multiple vendor’s technology, solutions and products?

Some additional content on some of these vendor solutions is available here.

Who might the “market leader” be of these SOA specific solutions? What makes them a leader? What capabilities, features, functions would be considered “best of breed”, differentiator, must have, core, desired, nice to have, etc.?

What’s “really” needed for SOA monitoring and management?

  1. Web Services
  2. ESB
  3. Transaction Performance
  4. Transaction Availability
  5. Transaction State/Status
  6. SOA Registry
  7. SOA Security
  8. Service Discovery and Relationship/Dependency Mapping
  9. Transaction Discovery and Mapping

Anything else missing here? What here needs to be specialized in its own product versus just extending the investments clients have already made?

Please do share your thoughts here. There are folks lurking who really need help in figuring this stuff out and/or improving products and capabilities on the market today!


  1. Frank Strong August 7, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    “the more important question that should be explored deals with dependency. What impact will this new architecture have on projects such as configuration management – as in the CMDB (also referred to as the configuration management system or CMS)? If IT operations thinks current CMDB projects are challenging – consider for a moment “decomposing” those legacy applications into many smaller pieces like Lego blocks: the complexity of the CMDB just exploded in scale and in the sheer volume of CI’s and relationships.”

  2. Steve Henning August 18, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    To me, SOA is all about additional complexity and the truth is, most enterprises I speak with are still attempting to deal with complexity using the same processes and procedures they have always used. By using the same processes and procedures, they are forced to add more bodies and silos to deal with the new complexity. Thus, most likely, we’ll see an additional IT silo of SOA monitoring and management using SOA specific monitoring tools. Sigh… I can’t see how enterprises keep going down this same unscalable approach when they could be using analytics to significantly reduce the manual efforts required to manage their mission critical applications and services. Without unifying the data from all silos and analyzing it holistically, the wiz-bang SOA monitoring and management tools these enterprises implement are unlikely to reduce the significant brownouts and blackouts their customers are dealing with. Eric is on the right path when he says to improve your current performance management approach as a foundation to taking on SOA management.

  3. […] started with a checkpoint on “the state of SOA monitoring and management” by Doug McClure. A good set of questions and a good list of “usual suspects” (but how […]

  4. John Sten May 24, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Check out JaxView. By far the most comprehensive yet cost-effective SOA managment tool on the market. We use it and are very happy with it.

  5. dlskannangara September 17, 2014 at 7:21 am

    For people who are looking for a open source solution for business monitoring system, check out wso2 Business Activity Monitor.
    This system provides high performance, low latency API for receiving large volumes of business events over various transports including Apache Thrift, REST, HTTP and Web services.

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