If you drive a car that has no dashboard, it will still drive and do its core job. However before long something is going to go wrong and it will just stop working and you will get no warning and not know why.
This is what I usually say to anyone who considers implementing BizTalk and who doesnt plan to use MOM or SCOM to manage or monitor it.
In most of the projects ive been involved with MOM has been used to great effect. In one project im involved with HP Openview is used to monitor BizTalk rather than MOM and I thought it might be worth making a few comments about it.
Why would you consider using OpenView instead of MOM?
Without wanting to sound biased here I believe the answer is you shouldnt... unless you already use HP Openview to monitor your organisation and cant afford MOM.
Im not an Openview expert but I have heard that MOM and Openview can be configured to work together (maybe someone can confirm that).
Even if you have got Openview I think the fact that Microsoft have commited to producing Management packs for their operating products as each version is released. This in itself I feel is a key factor to use MOM/SCOM as it will give you a monitoring migration path as your systems evolve.
In terms of comparison you may be aware that BizTalk has a very advanced management pack for BizTalk, there are also similar to help you with SQL Server and IIS etc, etc. These are all (to my knowledge) free when you have a MOM instance. And additionally I think you also get a number of licenses with MSDN which can help you monitor test and development environments.
Monitoring environments early is a good thing as it can help you spot problems before production which you may not otherwise be aware of.
With HP Openview you can get the equivelent of a management pack which is called the BizTalk SPI (details here: ttp://h20229.www2.hp.com/products/spi/spi_msnet/ds/spi_msnet_ds.pdf).
With the SPI when we connected it up I found that firstly it doesnt have anywhere near as many rules as MOM. Also a few of the things it does I didnt really feel offered that much value as it was monitoring some of the performance counters which were really much more for information rather than a warning.
An example of this was we would get an alert that more than 100 orchestrations were running. To be honest unless this is causing a problem I dont really care so we ended up turning this alert off as in some processes we could get a spike of 1000 orchestrations where as in other applications 100 would be a lot. I felt this particular alert didnt really offer anything except noise, and if the situation was causing a problem it wouldnt alert about it.
Also one of the key areas I feel you should monitor is the host throttling counters and a comparison of process memory usage v's process memory threshold. These are things which are often a potential problem on BizTalk implementations. Out of the box the SPI didnt cover these things.
Fortunately on our project we worked with a good OpenView guy who worked closely with us so we could get the monitoring right. As most of it is based around the Event Log and Performance counters we could create our own alerts and in production it really worked well.
I cant remember if there is a cost for the BizTalk SPI, but to be honest I would compare this cost with how much it would cost to get your BizTalk and Openview people to build something themselves.
In summary I think Openview can be used to monitor BizTalk and it can do a good job. However if you choose to use it be prepared to do a lot of custom alerts if you want to get anything even close to what the MOM pack offers.