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First Look – Vitria M3O


I got an update on Vitria for the first time in a few years a little while back. Vitria started back in 1994 with Enterprise Application Integration capabilities and has added Business Process Management, Business Activity Monitoring and ultimately Business Event Management/Complex Event Processing functionality over the last few years. They are using “Operational Intelligence” as a label for this collection of functionality and their product is M3O, a strong integration-centric Business Process Management Suite with a broad customer base, multiple awards etc

They, like me, see time to act as a critical measure. Accelerating timely and appropriate action in response – how long it takes you from a touch point event to the correct response – should therefore be a focus for companies. Operational Intelligence is their approach to reducing this time and involves visibility (events from many sources, KPIs, dashboards), insight (correlate events, detect patterns, analyze trends) and action (business event management, process management). They see this as particularly important in areas where a real-time response makes a real difference like SLA management, compliance monitoring, call centers, fraud detection, sensor networks etc. Taking these one at a time:

Visibility – users must be able to go get the data. Vitria has a long history of integration work and is able to pull data from lots of different databases and applications. They have added event feeds like JMS, RSS feeds and more. Everything is treated like an event source and their active connectors turn data changes in data sources into events. A web-based environment for monitoring and displaying is provided and this is aimed at a business user/analyst. The UI allows users to define KPIs, SLAs, use various visualizations etc.

Insight – a Complex Event Processing engine supporting correlation, time series and trending, analysis. The engine is XQuery based so it can handle complex XML packets natively, important given the growth in XML based messages. Some simulation/what-if analysis. A pretty typical set of functions for correlation and analysis over various dimensions/moving windows/trending.

Act – policies or business rules are defined to determine what to do in response. Significant events are evaluated against policies and these trigger actions such as initiating a business process. Audit trails etc. are provided because everything is in M3O and can be stored and analyzed.

From a usage point of view users define the interface using a Yahoo Pipes-like approach where things are hooked up to each other. Modeling involves processes defined using BPMN and executing on the Vitria process engine. A typical BPMN editor is provided for process definitions while Event Policies (which allow large numbers of conditions against any part of the event) specify the conditions against an event that can be used to take actions, trigger processes etc. This allows a more dynamic matching of the events and processes. The event correlation engine can embed data, trends etc in messages that can be used by event policies and these can feed back into the event processing engine to close the loop. Monitoring and managing of these processes and events is supported also. I was pleasantly surprised with the direction Vitria has taken.  The product had a nice simple UI designed to empower business users so they can turn the knobs of the company right from their chairs.


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