To be honest it’s a wrong question, the answer will depend on various factors. In this article we will try to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of both the products and help you make an informed decision.
What is SCOM?
System Center Operation Manager (SCOM) is an enterprise class monitoring tool from Microsoft that can provide comprehensive monitoring for Windows systems, some UNIX/Linux system and various devices. SCOM is part of System Center Enterprise Suite family of products from Microsoft. SCOM is capable of monitoring your entire data center infrastructure and it’s one of the complex products. One of the main concept in SCOM is management pack (MP). Most of the products that ship from Microsoft like Exchange, SQL, Windows OS, BizTalk Server etc will all come with their own management pack. A management pack is set of rules that determine the things SCOM need to monitor for that particular product. A management pack will have various information like monitoring rules, reports, product knowledge base, etc.
Typically when customers want to monitor a system, say for example in our case we want to monitor our BizTalk servers. The SCOM administrator will deploy the BizTalk Server management pack into the SCOM infrastructure and then he/she will turn off certain rules that’s are not relevant for your implementation.
One of the biggest advantage of SCOM is it’s not just for BizTalk monitoring. It could be used to monitor lot of surrounding infrastructure like SQL, Windows, IIS, SAN, etc making it a powerful end-to-end monitoring solution. The administrators can also write completely custom management packs (MP) specific to their own applications, deploy it and start monitoring as part of the overall monitoring solution.
To use SCOM solely for BizTalk monitoring would be too much of overhead. It will require it’s own infrastructure, an experienced SCOM administrator, training for BizTalk administrators to use the management console and understand the alerts it generates, the overall maintenance of SCOM itself.
When to use SCOM?
If your organization is already using SCOM as the preferred monitoring solution across the company, if you got well defined processes, existing SCOM infrastructure, people trained in SCOM then using SCOM for BizTalk monitoring will make lot of sense.
What is BizTalk360 monitoring?
First of all, BizTalk360 is not just a monitoring solution for BizTalk server and it’s goal is not to replace any enterprise monitoring solution like SCOM or HP Openview. BizTalk360 is a full blown BizTalk administrator, operations, management and monitoring solution for your BizTalk environment, that helps to run your day-to-day operations.
Some of the design goals for BizTalk360 (from monitoring perspective) is
- Designed purely for monitoring BizTalk server solutions. It’s not a general purpose monitoring solution
- Simplicity and Ease of use are the main objectives
- Customers should be able to setup and start using it in minutes/hours.
- Easy maintenance and management, intuitive email alerts and onscreen displays.
When to use BizTalk360?
If your organisation is not using SCOM, then it may be a overkill/costly affair to invest in SCOM purely for BizTalk monitoring. Freshly introducing SCOM into the organisation also introduces various challenges like setting up a dedicated infrastructure, training the resources etc. Due to the complex nature of SCOM (being a general purpose enterprise monitoring tool), it also demands certain level of knowledge/understanding to use the UI consoles on a day to day basis.
BizTalk360 on the other hand is designed exactly to tackle these challenges. Out of the box it supports the following plugin which are very important from a BizTalk monitoring perspective.
- BizTalk Applications including all artifacts (Receive Locations, Send Ports and Orchestrations)
- Advanced BizTalk Applications monitoring, to monitor exact state. Ex: you may wanted to keep a send port in stopped state rather than a healthy running state and that’s your expected state.
- Monitoring Service instances
- NT Services,
- Event Logs,
- System Resources (CPU, Memory),
- SQL Jobs,
- HTTP Endpoints (web/wcf services)
- Message Box Viewer errors
Note: We will update the links when we write more about each monitoring section. BizTalk Monitoring Capability article can be read here
BizTalk360 is designed to monitor only certain areas of a BizTalk solution. It’s not capable of monitoring everything (ex: Windows resources, IIS, etc).
Value of BizTalk360 for existing SCOM customers
Some of our customers use both BizTalk360 and SCOM in the organisation. Since both can complement each other.
Why not download the free version and try it for yourself. Installation and configuration should take only less than 10 minutes, if you got all the prerequisite installed already.