Start anywhere application modeling
Start anywhere application modeling (SAAM) is a powerful and rapid approach to application modeling, which enables you to choose any entry point, or points into an application, and begin modeling from there. For robust applications, logical entry points differ depending on the view of the user. For example, an application owner might choose where the data is stored as the best entry point, and a user of the application might choose the server to which they connect to access the application. The start anywhere approach also prevents parts of applications from being missed if they are not currently connected to an entry point, such as a URL, which may lead to a load balanced service or web server. You might also choose multiple entry points to model the application.
The following topics are covered in this section:
Where to start?
You should start application modeling from anywhere that is interesting in the context of the application you are modeling. The best way of doing this is the search box in the top right of the UI. Enter the name or other detail of something you know to be in the application, and explore the data from there. Make sure you are using the Software-Connected focus. When you see what you are looking for, click Model.
Although you can start anywhere, some kinds of nodes are easier to start from than others. It is common to find parts of an application based on the Hosts upon which they are running. However, hosts generally run other Software Instances than the ones that are part of the application. Rather than manually selecting those Software Instances and removing them, it is often more effective to click through to a Software Instance that is part of the model, because that shows only the Software Instances (and other node kinds) that are related to each other in some way, and does not show all the irrelevant items that are sharing the starting Host.
The modeling process
For the user exploring the data of BMC Discovery and creating a model, start anywhere application modeling (SAAM) is based around the software visualization. The software visualization enables you to explore the nodes connected to the entry point or points, and select those that are interesting in the context of the application. You then save the view as a model definition that you can access through the application modeling home page, for later use, or you can continue to model. When you are satisfied that the definition represents the application, you can publish the model, which creates the BAI.
Essentially, the modeling process is this:
- Search for something in your application.
- View it in the Visualize - Software - Connected window.
- Add or remove components as required (usually remove).
- Save the definition.
- Publish, and view the BAI.
For a more detailed procedure about how to create a model, see Creating an application model.
Versions and instances
Invariably a business application has a number of versions and a number of instances. Start anywhere application mapping aims to be so quick to complete models that you should model each instance and version separately. Once the general structure of the application is understood, it is simple to repeat the steps of searching for content, viewing, and removing unimportant items; the actual process of modeling and publishing is very rapid.
The models produced with start anywhere application modeling (SAAM) are simple to create and work on the basis of data that has already been discovered from you network, data that is held in the BMC Discovery datastore. This does not mean that the models are static, rather, they update automatically to reflect the current data. So, if you scan the application and a new component of the application is discovered, it is automatically linked in to the existing components, and reflected when you view the model again. If the new component is one that you have excluded from the model, it is still in the datastore, but not included in the application model.
The way to consider the automatic updates is to imagine how visualizations would behave as the environment changes. When you view a Software-Connected visualization starting from one or more nodes such as SoftwareInstances or LoadBalancerServices, you see the automatically-generated data model including relationships between nodes. The system automatically follows relationships that are likely to be pertinent to an application.
Later, after the environment has changed, if you view a visualization again starting from the same nodes, you will see a changed visualization, taking into account the changes in the environment.
Start-Anywhere Application Models behave just like that. When you model the application in the first place, it is as if you are making a snapshot of the visualization at that time. As the environment changes, the model is updated to include all the nodes that would be in the visualization if you were to freshly view it again. The only exception is that if you remove nodes from the model, the system remembers that they are removed, so it does not add them back.
Where is the TPL?
CAM (Collaborative Application Mapping) provides a workflow and collaboration tools for creating self-maintaining application maps. The end product from CAM is a BAI pattern which builds and maintains the application map. Start anywhere application mapping does not produce BAI patterns, it builds BAIs themselves due to the "Publish" user action; it maintains the contents of the application models using built-in logic within BMC Discovery. So, you won't see any TPL. What you will see are model definitions, which are the template for creating BAIs. These can be easily exported and imported into other appliances.
What about CAM?
CAM is still supported, and still a part of BMC Discovery version 11.1. We will no longer actively develop CAM, as our resources will be devoted to start anywhere application modeling (SAAM). BMC Discovery 11 was the first release of start anywhere application modeling (SAAM), and version 11.1 builds on it. That does not mean that work done in CAM is wasted, far from it. Using the Application modeling home page, you can import CAM application mapping definitions into BMC Discovery 11.1, and in BMC Discovery 11.1, you can view CAM models in the application model view.
Candidate software instances
Where some processes are not identified by patterns, but BMC Discovery has determined that the process is involved in interesting communication, it creates a Candidate Software Instance to represent the process. A good rule of thumb is that if a process is not identified by a pattern then it is, in the vast majority of cases, not very interesting. A list of candidate software instances should not be viewed as a to-do list. However, if a candidate software instance is involved in your application, perhaps it links parts of the application, then it may be worth creating a software instance.
When you create an SI from a candidate SI, all matching candidate SIs in the current view are converted, and the system creates and activates a pattern to do the same. After the pattern is activated, it converts all matching candidate SIs in the datastore.
For more information on creating SIs from candidate SIs, see Candidate software instances.