IBM Introduces Availability Monitoring Toolkit

IBM recently introduced the Availability Monitoring Toolkit, which would help developers determine—in an ad hoc manner—the status of a variety of services.

Enterprise applications interact with several services, including authentication and asynchronous operations, on database servers, naming and directory services, application servers and message-oriented middleware. These systems exist in many environments, including development, testing and staging. If one or more of these services are missing during development, the application’s behavior will be affected.

The Availability Monitoring Toolkit identifies availability only; it doesn’t detect performance or any other aspect of monitoring, according to IBM.

The toolkit was developed using Eclipse API, SAX parsing and Java sockets; its configuration is externalized in an XML file. Depending on the project, other systems and environments can be added to the configuration file.

Users must configure three attributes per system: the name of the system, the default port number used by the service and a list of environments hosting the system. Environment entries will have the IP address or host name of the system, as well as an optional port number for overriding the default port number specified at the system level. The host name parameter is used only when no IP address is specified for the environment, so it’s optional. Many systems are used by the application, so the configuration file will have a corresponding number of entries.

The distribution pack for Eclipse 2.x-based IDEs, such as WebSphere Studio, uses the Xerces library from the Eclipse installation to parse the configuration files in XML format. The distribution pack for Eclipse 3.x-based IDEs, including Rational Application Developer, uses the XML parser from J2SE.

Developers would have the option of choosing what system they want to monitor; Java sockets will find the status of the systems to be monitored. If network problems occur or the system shuts down, the tool displays an error message, “System is not reachable.” If the service isn’t listening on the expected port, the tool displays this error message, “Service is down.” When the IP address can’t be resolved on the network, this error message is displayed, “Unknown host.”

About the Author

Kathleen Ohlson is senior editor at Application Development Trends magazine.