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How does the Business Process sensor calculate summarized sensor states?

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I use the Business Process sensor to get a summarized sensor status for a whole business process that involves several business components.

I wonder how this overall sensor status is calculated from the single process components that I monitor.

business-process business-process-sensor factory-sensor prtg sensor-status

Created on Oct 20, 2015 8:01:12 AM by  Martina Wittmann [Paessler Support]



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This article applies to PRTG Network Monitor 15.4.20 or later

Summarized Sensor and Channel States in the Business Process Sensor

The Business Process sensor allows you to get an overall status of a whole business process while monitoring several involved process components. This makes the Business Process sensor a powerful and also very flexible tool because you can create one overall status based on your individual network components and business processes.

While admins are generally interested in the states and data of every process component, less technical employees of a company often do not need to see more than the summarized status of a process to know if it works or not. For example, an accounting manager is okay with the information “Our website works fine”, whereas a business infrastructure manager prefers to get exact information about the involved web servers, databases and other hardware and applications.

To get a cumulated sensor status for several network components, you can use the Business Process sensor.


This article describes how the Business Process sensor calculates summarized sensor and channel states from the states of single monitored objects.


1. States of Monitored Objects

With the Business Process sensor you can create individual sensor channels from the monitoring objects that you have in your network. You can select single sensors or whole devices, groups, or probes for a specific business process channel.

Every object in a channel has its own status that contributes to the overall status of this channel.

The Business Process sensor decides for every monitoring object if it is in an up or down condition.

Note: The Business Process up and down conditions are different from the “normal” up and down states of a sensor. This is necessary for the Business Process sensor to be able to calculate summarized states. Have a look at the following table to see which sensor status leads to which Business Process condition (BP condition).

Channel Object StatusBusiness Process (BP) ConditionReason: Why does a given sensor status correspond to a given BP condition?
UpUpThe monitored object works.
WarningUpThe sensor may show a warning, but the monitored object works.
Partial DownUpThis status is available in a cluster setup and is displayed if at least one cluster node reports the sensor as up and at least one cluster node reports it as down. With at least one up report, the monitored object is supposed to be working.
UnusualUpThe sensor may show unusual values, but the monitored object works.
CollectingUpThe sensor still waits for more monitoring data to definitely decide about the sensor status, but so far the monitored object works. This PRTG internal status is visualized as Unknown in the GUI.
DownDownThe monitored object does not work.
UnknownDownThe sensor does not know if the monitored object works, for example because it has not yet received any data or because it has not received any data for a certain amount of time.
NoneDownThe sensor has not received any monitoring data from the monitored object yet. This PRTG internal status is visualized as Unknown in the GUI.
PausedDownThe monitored object does not work and monitoring has been paused, for example actively by the user, by inheritance or by executed schedules.
AcknowledgedDownThe monitored object does not work and someone already knows.


2. Summarized Channel States

The Business Process sensor calculates the percentage of the up and down proportion per channel.

Business Process Sensor Settings Enlarge here.

For example, the channel Core Server Security contains 75 % of up sensors... 25 % Up Status + 25 % Warning Status + 25 % Warning Status = 75 % BP Up Condition ...and 25 % of down sensors. 25 % Down Status = 25 % BP Down Condition


With individual error and warning thresholds, you can define the limits for the up, warning, and down states for every channel.

Define the threshold in %.


This is what the sensor does to check which overall channel status it has to display:

Step 1

Calculate the up percentage of a channel based on the objects it contains. As a result, you could translate this into the statement: “x % of the monitored objects work fine.”

Step 2

Compare the calculated channel up value to the error threshold.

  1. Set the channel status to down if the calculated up percentage of a channel is below the indicated error limit. The question to answer is: “Do x % of the monitored objects work fine?” If the answer is no, then the channel will be in a down condition.
  2. If 2.1 does not result in a down status and the answer is yes, then go on with step 3 and check the warning threshold.

Step 3

Compare the calculated channel up value to the warning threshold.

  1. Set the channel status to warning if the calculated percentage of the channel is lower than the indicated warning limit. The question to answer is: “Do x % of the monitored objects work fine?” If the answer is no, then the channel will be in a warning condition.
  2. If 3.1 does not result in a warning status and the answer is yes, then set the channel status to up.

Note: If the indicated threshold points exactly to the borderline between two states, then the sensor displays the more positive status. For example, if you enter 75 as a warning limit and if you have 3 up sensors (75%) and 1 down sensor (25%), the sensor channel will display an up status, not a warning status because 75 % of the monitored objects work fine.

Example A:

If these are your settings…

Business Process Sensor Settings Down Enlarge here.

... this is your result:

Business Process Sensor Result Down Enlarge here.

Why?

Because you have 50 % of object up states and 50 % of down states in your channel and an error limit of 51 %. The sensor checks “Do 51 % of the objects work fine?” and the answer is no. Because of this, the Core Server Security channel displays a down status.

If you set an error threshold of 50%, the sensor would check if 50% of the monitoring objects work fine. The answer is yes and consequently, the sensor would display an up status.

Example B

If these are your settings…

Business Process Sensor Settings Warning Enlarge here.

... this is your result:

Business Process Sensor Result Warning Enlarge here.

Why?

Because you have 75 % of object up states and 25 % of down states in your channel and a warning limit of 76 %. The sensor checks “Do 76 % of the objects work fine?” and the answer is no. Because of this, the Core Server Security channel displays a warning status, but not a down status because 50 % of the sensors work fine.


Channel Weight of Monitoring Objects

Note: Every object in a channel has equal weight or importance, no matter if it is a sensor, device, group or probe. If you want to give double weight or importance to an object, add it twice to the channel. If you want to give triple weight to it, add it three times.

In the following example, the SSL Security Check (Port 443) 16 sensor is added twice and has double weight.

Business Process Sensor Channel Weights Enlarge here.

The Core Server Security channel contains 80 % of up sensors... 2 * 20 % Up Status + 2 * 20 % Warning Status = 80 % BP Up Condition ... and 20 % of unknown sensors. 20 % Unknown Status = 20 % BP Down Condition

Consequently, the overall Core Server Security channel state is up, because 80 % of it work fine and at least 61 % have to work fine to not trigger a warning status.


3. The Global Business Process Status

The Global State channel is the default primary channel of the Business Process sensor and summarizes the states of the individual channels. It always shows the status that all channels have or, if not all of the channels are in the same status condition, the “most alarming” status that one of the individual channels has.

For example, the Global State in Example B above shows a warning status because one of the individual channels, the Core Server Security channel, is in a warning status, too. Example A displays a down status because one of the channels, the Core Server Security channel again, is in a down status.

Generally, the Business Process can have the following sensor states:

  • Unknown (gray)
  • Up (green)
  • Warning (yellow)
  • Down (red)

Business Process Sensor Global State

The order from the least alarming to the most alarming sensor status is the following:

(Unknown Status) < Up Status < Warning Status < Down Status


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Created on Oct 20, 2015 12:26:06 PM by  Martina Wittmann [Paessler Support]

Last change on Nov 18, 2015 1:36:33 PM by  Martina Wittmann [Paessler Support]



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Hello. Why The Business Process (BP) Condition is in "Down" state when the Channel Object Status is "Paused" or "Acknowledged". How I can change this condition? Use case: I need to know about BP "Down" states when only the specific sensors are in "Down" states, not for the device down. To do that, I set up Threshold of the BP channel to 99% error. But actually when one of the Channel Object status is becoming "Paused" by depensy settings of devices (for example - one host reboot), the BP Global State is becoming "Down" to.

Created on Mar 4, 2016 12:23:34 PM by  DmitriyS (20)



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Hi Dimitry,

The sensor will indeed only ignore all other states except for the down status if you add the complete device to the channel definition of the business process sensors. Other states of sensors and channels will count into the down percentage, this cannot be changed. If you really are in need to define the down condition only for a certain sensor, the only workaround I see at this point would be to add a new device with this particular sensor and add it to the channel definition of the business process sensor.

Best regards, Felix

Created on Mar 7, 2016 12:59:17 PM by  Felix Saure [Paessler Support]



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Hi Felix, We don't think your statement 'The sensor will indeed only ignore all other states except for the down status if you add the complete device to the channel definition of the business process sensors' is correct. We'd definitely like it to be, but when we pause a single sensor on a device that has been added to a Bus Process sensor, the whole Bus Process sensor reports 'Down'. This is clearly not ideal. So we have to delete sensors instead of pausing them on such Devices.

Would it be possible to have an option on the Bus Process Sensor to make it work the way you describe? Mark

Created on Mar 6, 2017 4:42:08 PM by  Mark Underhill (0)



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Hey Mark,

Please excuse the confusion. I just tested it and I can confirm that the paused status is counted into the error condition of the sensor. Due to the complex internal structure of the sensor's code, this will not be changed I'm afraid. We will change the manual accordingly.

Best regards, Felix

Created on Mar 7, 2017 6:12:30 AM by  Felix Saure [Paessler Support]

Last change on Mar 7, 2017 6:43:15 AM by  Felix Saure [Paessler Support]



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