PRTG Manual: Business Process Sensor

The Business Process sensor is a powerful and very flexible sensor that allows you to give a summary status of whole business processes while monitoring several process components.

This means that you can create your very own and individual sensor with channels based on data from other sensors ("source sensors") that are specific to your network.

The sensor can show the following:

  • The summarized status of the objects contained in each channel according to the individually defined error and warning thresholds
  • The overall and summarized status of all channels in the Global State channel

icon-i-roundThe Business Process sensor does not show values in the "Downtime" channel because they cannot be calculated for this sensor type.

icon-i-roundIf you want to process values from other sensors and you want to perform calculations with these values, for example, use the Sensor Factory Sensor instead.

Which channels the sensor actually shows might depend on the monitored device and the sensor setup.

Business Process Sensor

Business Process Sensor

Sensor in Other Languages

Dutch: Bedrijfs Proces, French: Processus métier, German: Business Process, Japanese: ビジネスプロセス, Portuguese: Processo de Negócio, Russian: Бизнес-процесс, Simplified Chinese: 业务进程, Spanish: Proceso commercial

Remarks

Limited to 50 Sensor Channels

icon-i-bluePRTG does not support more than 50 sensor channels officially. Depending on the data used with this sensor type, you might exceed the maximum number of supported sensor channels. In this case, PRTG will try to display all sensor channels. However, please be aware that you will experience limited usability and performance.

Add Sensor

The Add Sensor dialog appears when you manually add a new sensor to a device. It only shows the setting fields that are required for creating the sensor. Therefore, you will not see all setting fields in this dialog. You can change (nearly) all settings in the sensor's Settings tab later.

Sensor Settings

On the details page of a sensor, click the Settings tab to change its settings.

icon-i-roundUsually, a sensor connects to the IP Address or DNS Name of the parent device where you created this sensor. See the Device Settings for details. For some sensor types, you can define the monitoring target explicitly in the sensor settings. Please see below for details on available settings.

Basic Sensor Settings

Sensor Name

Enter a meaningful name to identify the sensor. By default, PRTG shows this name in the device tree, as well as in alarms, logs, notifications, reports, maps, libraries, and tickets.

Parent Tags

Shows Tags that this sensor inherits from its parent device, group, and probe. This setting is shown for your information only and cannot be changed here.

Tags

Enter one or more Tags, separated by spaces or commas. You can use tags to group sensors and use tag–filtered views later on. Tags are not case sensitive. We recommend that you use the default value.

You can add additional tags to the sensor if you like. Other tags are automatically inherited from objects further up in the device tree. These are visible above as Parent Tags.

icon-i-roundIt is not possible to enter tags with a leading plus (+) or minus (-) sign, nor tags with round parentheses (()) or angle brackets (<>).

Priority

Select a priority for the sensor. This setting determines where the sensor is placed in sensor lists. Top priority is at the top of a list. Choose from one star (low priority) to five stars (top priority).

Business Process Specific Settings

Channel Name

Enter a meaningful name to identify the channel. To add a new channel to the sensor, click the Enter Channel Name field, enter a name for the channel, and confirm with the enter or tab key.

icon-i-roundIt might take several sensor scans until new channel names or changes to existing channel names become visible.

Error Threshold %

Set a percentage limit to define when the sensor channel displays a Down status. Please enter an integer value. Default is 50%.

icon-i-roundThis value depends on how many objects you feed into a business process channel.
 

If a channel contains less source objects in "up" condition than the error threshold defines, this channel and the Global State channel of the Business Process sensor will show a Down.

The Sensor States that allow for the "up" condition icon-arrow-blue-up-full of a Business Process channel are the following:

  • Up
  • Warning
  • Unusual
  • Partial Down

All other sensor states will support the "down" condition icon-arrow-blue-down (see the table below).

For example, if you define 4 source sensors for a channel, an error threshold of 50% means that 3 source sensors have to be in "down" condition to set this channel to a Down status. So, 50% means that more than half of the source sensors must not be in "up" condition to set the sensor to Down.

icon-book-bulbFor more information, an illustration of the business process mechanisms, and some use cases of the Business Process sensor, see the table below and this Knowledge Base article: How can I use the Business Process sensor?

Warning Threshold %

Set a percentage limit to define when the sensor channel displays a Warning status. Please enter an integer value. Default is 75%.

icon-i-roundThis value depends on how many objects you feed into a business process channel.
 

If a channel contains less source objects in "up" condition than the threshold defines, this channel and the Global State channel of the Business Process sensor will show a Warning status (and so the sensor status is Warning).

The Sensor States that allow for the "up" condition icon-arrow-blue-up-full of a Business Process channel are the following:

  • Up
  • Warning
  • Unusual
  • Partial Down

All other sensor states will support the "down" condition icon-arrow-blue-down(see the table below).

For example, if you define 4 source sensors for a channel, a warning threshold of 75% means that all 4 source sensors have to be in "down" condition to set this channel to a Warning status. So, 75% means that more than three out of four of the source sensors must not be in "up" condition to set the sensor to Warning.

icon-book-bulbFor more information, an illustration of the business process mechanisms, and some use cases of the Business Process sensor, see the table below and this Knowledge Base article: How can I use the Business Process sensor?

Objects

Enter the objects you want to have in a channel using the + sign. This way, you can choose the desired objects from the device tree with the Object Selector. You can also start typing the object's ID, name, or a tag. PRTG then suggests the possible objects to be selected.

You can add sensors, devices, groups, and probes to a channel. Each object you add is weighted equally, no matter if it is a single sensor or a whole device with many sensors. To give more weight to a specific object, add it several times. For example, add it twice to give double weight to an object, add it three times to give it triple weight.

icon-i-roundA probe, group, or device is as long in "up" condition icon-arrow-blue-up-full as it does not contain any sensors in "down" condition icon-arrow-blue-down.

Up and Down Conditions

The Business Process Up icon-arrow-blue-up-full and Down icon-arrow-blue-down conditions are different from the normal PRTG up and down Sensor States. This is necessary for the Business Process sensor to be able to calculate summarized states and to show a calculated result for a whole business process. This table illustrates which sensor status leads to which Business Process condition.

The Relation Between Object States And Business Process Conditions

Channel Object Status

Business Process Condition

Reason: Why does a given sensor status correspond to a given Business Process condition?

led_green_big Up

Up

icon-arrow-blue-up-full

The monitored object works, so everything is fine.

led_yellow_big Warning

Up

icon-arrow-blue-up-full

The sensor may show a warning, but the monitored object still works.

icon_green-red Partial Down

Up

icon-arrow-blue-up-full

This 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 and meets the business process up condition.

led_orange_big Unusual

Up

icon-arrow-blue-up-full

The sensor may show unusual values, but the monitored object works.

led_grey_big Collecting

Up

icon-arrow-blue-up-full

The 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 PRTG web interface.

led_red_big Down

Down

icon-arrow-blue-down

The monitored object does not work.

led_grey_big Unknown

Down

icon-arrow-blue-down

The 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.

led_grey_big None

Down

icon-arrow-blue-down

The sensor has not yet received any monitoring data from the monitored object. This PRTG internal status is visualized as Unknown in the PRTG web interface.

led_blue_big Paused

Down

icon-arrow-blue-down

The monitored object does not work and monitoring has been paused, for example actively by the user, by inheritance, or by executed schedules. It might be convenient to exclude regularly or frequently paused objects from your business process monitoring, so you do not give more weight than necessary to a Business Process down status because of issues you already know about.

led_redok_big Down Acknowledged

Down

icon-arrow-blue-down

The monitored object does not work and someone already knows.

icon-i-roundIf you encounter issues with your Business Process sensor and want to contact our support team, please send us your exact configuration. It helps us find the cause more easily and quickly. Click the little clipboard icon in the upper-right of the Business Process Specific Settings table to copy your configuration:

The Business Process Sensor Configuration Clipboard

The Business Process Sensor Configuration Clipboard

You find your configuration in the window that opens. Copy the marked text and paste it into the support form to send it our support team.

Sensor Display

Primary Channel

Select a channel from the list to define it as the primary channel. In the device tree, the last value of the primary channel will always be displayed below the sensor's name. The available options depend on what channels are available for this sensor.

icon-i-roundYou can set another primary channel later by clicking the pin symbol of a channel in the sensor's Overview tab.

Graph Type

Define how different channels will be shown for this sensor.

  • Show channels independently (default): Show an own graph for each channel.
  • Stack channels on top of each other: Stack channels on top of each other to create a multi-channel graph. This will generate an easy-to-read graph that visualizes the different components of your total traffic.
    icon-i-roundThis option cannot be used in combination with manual Vertical Axis Scaling (available in the Sensor Channels Settings settings).

Stack Unit

This setting is only available if stacked graphs are selected above. Choose a unit from the list. All channels with this unit will be stacked on top of each other. By default, you cannot exclude single channels from stacking if they use the selected unit. However, there is an advanced procedure to do so.

Inherited Settings

By default, all following settings are inherited from objects higher in the hierarchy and should be changed there, if necessary. Often, best practice is to change them centrally in the Root group's settings, see section Inheritance of Settings for more information. To change a setting only for this object, disable inheritance by clicking the button next to inherit from under the corresponding setting name. You will then see the options described below.

Scanning Interval

Click inherited_settings_button to disrupt the inheritance. See section Inheritance of Settings for more information.

Scanning Interval

Select a scanning interval (seconds, minutes, or hours) from the list. The scanning interval determines the time the sensor waits between two scans. You can change the available intervals in the system administration on PRTG on premises installations.

If a Sensor Query Fails

Define the number of scanning intervals that a sensor has time to reach and check a device again in case a sensor query fails. The sensor can try to re-reach and check a device several times, depending on the option you select here, before it will be set to a Down status. This helps you avoid false alarms if the monitored device has only temporary issues. For previous scanning intervals with failed requests, the sensor will show a Warning status. Choose between:

  • Set sensor to "down" immediately: The sensor will show an error immediately after the first failed request.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 1 interval, then set to "down" (recommended): After the first failed request, the sensor will show a yellow warning status. If the following request also fails, the sensor will show an error.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 2 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after three consecutively failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 3 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after four consecutively failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 4 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after five consecutively failed requests.
  • Set sensor to "warning" for 5 intervals, then set to "down": Show an error status only after six consecutively failed requests.

icon-i-roundSensors that monitor via Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) always wait at least one scanning interval until they show an error. It is not possible to set a WMI sensor to "down" immediately, so the first option will not apply to these sensor types. All other options can apply.

icon-i-roundIf a sensor has defined error limits for channels, it will always show a Down status immediately, so no "wait" option will apply.
 

icon-i-roundIf a channel uses lookup values, it will always show a Down status immediately, so no "wait" options will apply.

Schedules, Dependencies, and Maintenance Window

icon-i-roundInheritance for schedules, dependencies, and maintenance windows cannot be interrupted. The corresponding settings from the parent objects will always be active. However, you can define additional settings here. They will be active at the same time as the parent objects' settings.

Schedule

Select a schedule from the list. Schedules can be used to monitor for a certain time span (days, hours) every week. With the period list option it is also possible to pause monitoring for a specific time span. You can create new schedules and edit existing ones in the account settings.

icon-i-roundSchedules are generally inherited. New schedules will be added to existing ones, so all schedules are active at the same time.

Maintenance Window

Specify if you want to set up a one-time maintenance window. During a "maintenance window" period, this object and all child objects will not be monitored. They will be in a paused state instead. Choose between:

  • Not set (monitor continuously): No maintenance window will be set and monitoring will always be active.
  • Set up a one-time maintenance window: Pause monitoring within a maintenance window. You can define a time span for a monitoring pause below and change it even for a currently running maintenance window.

icon-i-roundTo terminate a current maintenance window before the defined end date, change the time entry in Maintenance Ends field to a date in the past.

Maintenance Begins

This field is only visible if you enabled the maintenance window above. Use the date time picker to enter the start date and time of the maintenance window.

Maintenance Ends

This field is only visible if you enabled the maintenance window above. Use the date time picker to enter the end date and time of the maintenance window.

Dependency Type

Define a dependency type. Dependencies can be used to pause monitoring for an object depending on the status of another. You can choose between:

  • Use parent: Pause the current sensor if the device, where it is created on, is in Down status, or is paused by another dependency.
  • Select object: Pause the current sensor if the device, where it is created on, is in Down status, or is paused by another dependency. Additionally, pause the current sensor if a specific other object in the device tree is in Down status, or is paused by another dependency. Select below.
  • Master object for parent: Make this sensor the master object for its parent device. The sensor will influence the behavior of the device, where it is created on: If the sensor is in Down status, the device will be paused. For example, it is a good idea to make a Ping sensor the master object for its parent device to pause monitoring for all other sensors on the device in case the device cannot even be pinged. Additionally, the sensor will be paused if the parent group of its parent device is in Down status, or if it is paused by another dependency.

icon-i-roundTesting your dependencies is easy! Simply choose Simulate Error Status from the context menu of an object that other objects depend on. A few seconds later all dependent objects should be paused. You can check all dependencies in your PRTG installation by selecting Devices | Dependencies from the main menu bar.

Dependency

This field is only visible if the Select object option is enabled above. Click on the reading-glasses and use the object selector to choose an object on which the current sensor will depend.

Dependency Delay (Sec.)

Define a time span in seconds for a dependency delay. After the master object for this dependency goes back to Up status, PRTG will start monitoring the depending objects after this extra delayed. This can help to avoid false alarms, for example, after a server restart, by giving systems more time for all services to start up. Please enter an integer value.

icon-i-round-redThis setting is not available if you choose this sensor to Use parent or to be the Master object for parent. In this case, please define delays in the parent Device Settings or in the superior Group Settings.

Access Rights

Click inherited_settings_button to disrupt the inheritance. See section Inheritance of Settings for more information.

User Group Access

Define which user group(s) will have access to the object you're editing. A table with user groups and types of access rights is shown: It contains all user groups from your setup. For each user group, you can choose from the following access rights:

  • Inherited: Use the access rights settings of the parent object.
  • None: Users in this group cannot see or edit the object. The object neither shows up in lists nor in the device tree. Exception: If a child object is visible to the user, the object is visible in the device tree, though not accessible.
  • Read: Users in this group can see the object and review its monitoring results.
  • Write: Users in this group can see the object, review its monitoring results, and edit the object's settings. They cannot edit access rights settings.
  • Full: Users in this group can see the object, review its monitoring results, edit the object's settings, and edit access rights settings.

You can create new user groups in the System Administration—User Groups settings. To automatically set all objects further down in the hierarchy to inherit this object's access rights, set a check mark for the Revert children's access rights to inherited option.

icon-book-arrowsFor more details on access rights, see the section User Access Rights.

More

Knowledge Base: How does the Business Process sensor calculate summarized sensor states?

Knowledge Base: How can I use the Business Process sensor?

Edit Sensor Channels

To change display settings, spike filter, and limits, switch to the sensor's Overview tab and click the gear icon of a specific channel. For detailed information, see the Sensor Channels Settings section.

Notifications

Click the Notification Triggers tab to change notification triggers. For detailed information, see the Sensor Notification Triggers Settings section.

Others

For more general information about settings, see the Object Settings section.

Sensor Settings Overview

For information about sensor settings, see the following sections: