Operation sequence overview

Applies to NAM 2018

The Operation sequences monitoring tool in the Dynatrace NAM Console enables you to monitor a sequence of transactions step by step.

Note: To configure operation sequences, you need to have at least one of the following roles:

  • Monitoring administrator
  • System administrator
  • System administrator without packet capture

There are two operation modes:

Web application mode

Suppose we have an online store selling products online, and that the sales process consists of these clearly defined steps:

  1. Add to basket
  2. Confirm purchase
  3. Make payment

It would be interesting to know when (how often) any of the following happens:

  • Customer completes the expected sequence within the expected time.
    Operation sequence overview: web mode, good sequence

  • Customer quits earlier than expected (abandons the expected sequence during one step).
    Operation sequence overview: web mode, abandoned

  • Customer takes an unexpected route rather than completing the expected sequence (took an unexpected step).
    Operation sequence overview: web mode, unexpected path

  • Customer completes the expected sequence but a step in that sequence is slow.
    Operation sequence overview: web mode, slow step

  • Customer completes the expected sequence but the sequence is slow.
    Operation sequence overview: web mode, slow sequence

In this mode, operation sequences are measured for each client (browser session) separately.

The definition of such sequences has been simplified by introducing the Operation sequence wizard in Dynatrace NAM 2018. In this example:

  1. In the NAM Console, open Monitoring ► Operation sequences and click Add operation sequence to open the Operation sequence wizard.
    Note: you must have a NAM role with sufficient privileges to access this tool.
  2. On the Select operation sequence page, identify the sequence of three operations (in this example) from the monitored traffic by device, time range, user name, etc.
  3. On the Configure operation sequence page, name and describe the sequence. Edit parameters to define slow and timeout thresholds for the sequence. These thresholds are how you specify the performance level you want for the sequence.
  4. On the Test operation sequence page, see how the sequence performs compared to the thresholds you have set. This page will show you how your sequence matches against the data, with colors indicating how it performed. You can quickly identify where and when it is performing as desired and where it is not.

Correlation ID mode

Suppose we have a web service for a banking system that implements loan agreement processing by which the broker connects through the SOAP/XML protocol. It offers loans from the bank (M2M client) by sending a request to reprocess the loan application. We want to use the application ID to track the operations in the sequence something like this:

  1. The server responds that it accepted the request for execution by returning the request ID in a response.
    Operation sequence overview: correlation ID, 1 of 3

  2. Then the broker periodically inquires about the server whether the request for a specific identifier has been resolved and for a while gets the answer "wait a bit".
    Operation sequence overview: correlation ID, 2 of 3

  3. Eventually, the server responds with the appropriate status.
    Operation sequence overview: correlation ID, 3 of 3

As in the web application mode example, we can analyze the duration of a sequence, the number of operations taking too long, failed operations, and so on. In correlation ID mode, however, we use a correlator (which may come from a request or response). A similar mechanism can be used in other decoders (for example, based on the Universal Decode).

In this mode, you add a correlation ID to your traffic and then track your sequence by the correlation ID's presence in the traffic data. Following our example, we would define a search or transformation that matches Application 4232 or whatever the exact string is that identifies all the operations in this specific loan transaction.

Using a correlation ID to define an operation sequence

If you have defined a correlation ID, it will be selectable in the Operation sequence wizard:

  1. In the NAM Console, open Monitoring ► Operation sequences and click Add operation sequence to open the Operation sequence wizard.

  2. On the Select operation sequence page, identify the sequence of three operations from the monitored traffic (device, time range, user name, etc.).

    You can click the data browser link to search operations:

    1. If there are correlation IDs in your data, you will see them listed in the Correlation ID column.
      • You can click a listed correlation ID
      • You can click any operation to view details with other selectable data such as client IP.
    2. Click your correlation ID to return to the Operation sequence wizard with that correlation ID added to your operation filter.
  3. Click the + sign for each operation you want to add to your sequence.
    Don't worry about the details yet. You can fine-tune the sequence on the next page.

  4. Click Next.

  5. On the Configure operation sequence page, name and describe the sequence.

    • Edit parameters to define slow and timeout thresholds for the sequence. These thresholds are how you specify the performance level you want for the sequence.
    • Click Add operation manually to insert an operation into your sequence. The Add any operation button will add a dummy operation.
    • Drag operations if you need to reorder them.
  6. On the Test operation sequence page, see how the sequence performs compared to the thresholds you have set.

    • This page shows you how your sequence matches against the data matching your filter (devices, time range, etc.).
    • Colors indicate how the sequence performed compared to the thresholds you set (see the legend at the bottom of the list of operations). You can quickly identify where and when the sequence is performing as desired and where it is not.