Overview and How it Helps with Visibility
The PeopleSoft Usage Monitor tool is provided by PeopleSoft to collect the aggregate activation occurrence of definitions in your PeopleSoft application. When enabled it captures event activation on the app server, including anything from what Fluid structure was loaded to what FieldChange event was activated during sessions. The metadata collected can be used in PeopleSoft Test Framework (PTF) to generate test coverage reports showing Gaps in current test scripts. In this blog, we will focus on what has changed in PeopleTools 8.60 for the improved Usage Monitor and explore how it helps with visibility in testing scope.
What Has Changed in PeopleTools 8.60?
Usage Monitor has been around for quite a while, yet difficult to stand up as a separate monitoring environment. However, in the PeopleTools 8.60 release, the PeopleSoft development team introduced this feature natively within the Lifecycle Tools itself. Activation is controlled by a new component called Lifecycle Tools Options under the PeopleTools menu. Users are able to set the buffer size, select the data collection method, and there is the option to purge data after a specified amount of time should tables get too large. The changes in 8.60 make taking advantage of Usage Monitor easier and more straightforward.
The Usage Monitor tracks anything that happens on a particular page, as well as anything that a user interacts with. Information is then added to the PSPTUMPMTAGR table with timestamps. Usage Monitor offers an excellent analysis of which customizations users may or may not be interacting with. The data produced with Usage Monitor can provide insights to your organization regarding which customizations are heavily used, and which receive less traffic.
By leveraging OpenSearch (formerly known as ElasticSearch) and OpenSearch Dashboards (formerly Kibana) data analytics tools, the data from the Usage Monitor can then be used to create data visualizations, allowing for better decision-making regarding which customizations to prioritize or reevaluate. These tools are horizontally scalable with capabilities to handle massive amounts of data with fast returns of data and offer highly customizable dashboards and visualizations.
Using OpenSearch and Usage Monitor
OpenSearch is seamlessly deployed using DPKs and configuration in the Search Framework, and has the ability to deploy highly available nodes, with fail over that is scalable as demand grows. There is excellent crawl and search speed performance capabilities as well. Data from PSFT is direct transferred via JSON into the document-based OpenSearch cluster. Clusters hold nodes spread across multiple machines and indexes that transverse the nodes called Shards holding Lucene segments are stored on each node. The Index is based on Inverted Index and TF (Term Frequency). OpenSearch is truly an efficient data collection engine and analytic and visualization platform.
Usage Monitor and PTF
You can call and enable Usage Monitor to start and stop for tagged PTF tests, enabling coverage analysis. This analysis allows for decisions around what PTF scripts to build so that functional testing can be completed faster with increased accuracy. Any issues that arise during PTF execution are logged, and Usage Monitor data correlating can then give a glimpse on the Object Event at the Failed Script event timestamp. The data/results from the Usage Monitor can be stored from various environments into one elastic server. Analysis is fast and reliable due to the OpenSearch Lucine architecture.
New features like the Usage Monitor allow a glimpse into how you leverage your PeopleSoft Environment. Empowering decisions on what prioritization of features by utilization numbers, what customizations can be removed and where users find problems. If you and your organization are already using Performance Monitor, enable Usage Monitor to start leveraging PTF and Usage Monitor with its full capabilities.
A key tip is to plan your testing scope based on real counts from production and use those to plan what automation to build and run. If your organization is not yet using PeopleTools 8.60 but heading that way, Usage Monitor is worthwhile to implement. Ensure you have a plan for data analysis as the table grows quickly. This can be addressed by using OpenSearch Dashboards (Kibana) for fast data analysis and offers a great data store independent of your PeopleSoft stack.
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