Welcome!

Microservices Journal Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, John Wetherill, Plutora Blog

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java, Microservices Journal, AJAX & REA, Web 2.0

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Web Service Monitoring 101: Bad Deployments | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

We recently moved some of our systems between two of our data centers – even moving some components to the public cloud

Web Service Monitoring 101: Identifying Bad Deployments

Have you ever deployed a change to production and thought "All went well - Systems are operating as expected!" but then you had to deal with users complaining that they keep running into errors?

When deployments fail you don't want your users to be the first to tell you about it: Sit down with the Business and Dev to define how and what to monitor

We recently moved some of our systems between two of our data centers - even moving some components to the public cloud. Everything was prepared well, system monitoring was set up and everyone gave the thumbs up to execute the move. Immediately following, our Operations dashboards continued to show green. Soon thereafter I received a complaint from a colleague who reported that he couldn't use one of the migrated services (our free dynaTrace AJAX Edition) anymore as the authentication web service seemed to fail. The questions we asked ourselves were:

  • Impact: Was this a problem related to his account only or did it impact more users?
  • Root Cause: What is the root cause and how was this problem introduced?
  • Alerting: Why don't our Ops monitoring dashboards show any failed web service calls?

It turned out that the problem was in fact

  • Caused by an outdated configuration file deployment
  • It only impacted employees whose accounts were handled by a different authentication back-end service
  • Didn't show up in Ops dashboards because the used SOAP Framework always return HTTP 200 transporting any success/failure information in the response body which doesn't show up in any web server log file

In this blog I give you a little more insight on how we triaged the problem and some best practices we derived from that incident in order to level-up technical implementations and production monitoring. Only if you monitor all your system components and correlate the results with deployment tasks will you be able to deploy with more confidence without disrupting your business.

Bad Monitoring: When Your End Users become your Alerting System
So - when I got a note from a colleague that he could no longer use dynaTrace AJAX Edition to analyze the web site performance of a particular web site, I launched my copy to verify this behavior. It failed with my credentials, which proved that it was not a local problem on my colleague's machine:

Business Problem: Our end users can't use our free product due to failing authentication service

Asking our Ops Team that manages and monitors these web services resulted in the following response:

"We do not see any errors on the Web Server nor do we have any reported availability problems on our authentication service. It's all green on our infrastructure dashboards as can be seen on the following screenshot:"

Infrastructure is all green: No HTTP-based errors or SLA problems based on IIS log or on any of the resources on the host

Web Server Log Monitoring Is Not Enough
As mentioned in the initial paragraph, it turned out that our SOAP Framework always returns HTTP 200 with the actual error in the response body. This is not an uncommon "Best (or worst) Practice" as you can see for instance on the following discussion on GitHub.

The problem with that approach though is that "traditional" operations monitoring based on web server log files will not detect any of these "logical/business" problems. As you don't want to wait until your users start complaining, it's time to level-up your monitoring approach. How can this be done? Those developing and those monitoring the system need to sit down and figure out a way how to monitor the usage of these services and need to talk with business to figure out which level of detail to report and alert on.

How can you find out if your current monitoring approach works? Start by looking more closely at problems reported by your users but that you don't get any automatic alerts on. Then, talk with engineers and see whether they use frameworks like mentioned here.

For further insight, and for lessons learned, click here for the full article.

More Stories By Andreas Grabner

Andreas Grabner has been helping companies improve their application performance for 15+ years. He is a regular contributor within Web Performance and DevOps communities and a prolific speaker at user groups and conferences around the world. Reach him at @grabnerandi

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
What exactly is a cognitive application? In her session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ashley Hathaway, Product Manager at IBM Watson, will look at the services being offered by the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and what that means for developers and Big Data. She'll explore how IBM Watson and its partnerships will continue to grow and help define what it means to be a cognitive service, as well as take a look at the offerings on Bluemix. She will also check out how Watson and the Alchemy API team up to off...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Site24x7, the cloud infrastructure monitoring service, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Site24x7 is a cloud infrastructure monitoring service that helps monitor the uptime and performance of websites, online applications, servers, mobile websites and custom APIs. The monitoring is done from 50+ locations across the world and from various wireless carr...
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo in Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading in...
It's 2:15pm on a Friday, and I'm sitting in the keynote hall at PyCon 2013 fidgeting through a succession of lightning talks that have very little relevance to my life. Topics like "Python code coverage techniques" (ho-hum) and "Controlling Christmas lights with Python” (yawn - I wonder if there's anything new on Hacker News)...when Solomon Hykes takes the stage, unveils Docker, and the world shifts. If you haven't seen it yet, you should watch the video of Solomon's Pycon The Future of Linux C...
Here are a few questions to help you assess the scope of your release management challenges. Based on the answers to these questions, you can calculate your Release Management risk factor. This will help you understand what steps you need to take today to mitigate release management risks that accompany software development at scale. These 100 people don't have to be in a single group and the systems maintained don't have to be limited to a single group. Also, note that the systems supported...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Akana, formerly SOA Software, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo® New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Akana’s comprehensive suite of API Management, API Security, Integrated SOA Governance, and Cloud Integration solutions helps businesses accelerate digital transformation by securely extending their reach across multiple channels – mobile, cloud and Internet of Thi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vicom Computer Services, Inc., a provider of technology and service solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. They are located at booth #427. Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a progressive leader in the technology industry for over 30 years. Headquartered in the NY Metropolitan area. Vicom provides products and services based on today’s requirements...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Open Data Centers (ODC), a carrier-neutral colocation provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Open Data Centers is a carrier-neutral data center operator in New Jersey and New York City offering alternative connectivity options for carriers, service providers and enterprise customers.
BlueBox bridge the chasm between development and infrastructure. Hosting providers are taking standardization and automation too far. For many app developers it does nothing but spawn mayhem and more work. They have to figure out how their creations live on a pre-fab infrastructure solution full of constraints. Operations-as-a-Service is what BlueBox does. BlueBox utilizes development tools such as OpenStack, EMC Razor, Opscode’s Chef and BlueBox's proprietary tools give the power to do the unor...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...
NuoDB just introduced the Swifts 2.1 Release. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc., discussed why scaling databases in the cloud is challenging, why building your application on top of the infrastructure that is designed with this in mind makes a difference, and what you can do with NuoDB that simplifies your programming model, your operations model.
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
“We are a managed services company. We have taken the key aspects of the cloud and the purposed data center and merged the two together and launched the Purposed Cloud about 18–24 months ago," explained Chetan Patwardhan, CEO of Stratogent, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Cloud Expo New York is happening from June 9 - 11. This event brings together the worlds of Cloud Computing, DevOps, IoT, WebRTC, Big Data and SDDC. We hope to see you there-members of the Blue Box team will exhibit in booth 218 next to the DevOps area. Plus, our Chief Product Officer, Hernan Alvarez, will present his talk "The Cloud Has a Down-and-Dirty Lining" as part of the Operations track in the DevOps Summit portion of the event on June 9 at 11 am. Learn more about his session her...
It's a "given" in software development - release schedules always slip. Requirements shift, developers underestimate timelines, and quality assurance (QA) finds unexpected defects. Another law of software development is that final release dates are often inflexible. If a market or a holiday shopping season defines your release date you understand how important it is to meet a fixed timeline. Once you've promised a release to the business at the end of the quarter, you are under pressure to de...
DevOps approaches within “Unicorns” vary significantly from the reality of DevOps in the enterprise. Most enterprises manage portfolios of heterogeneous applications that are increasingly interconnected, delivered by global teams, at various stages of technology maturity, and are often encumbered by additional compliance and governance obligations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Dalibor Siroky, Director and co-founder at Plutora, will discuss the emerging and evolving experiences of Agile, Co...
Lacking the traditional fanfare associated with any technology that can use the word "container" or mention "Docker" in its press release, Ubuntu Core and its new Snappy system management scheme was introduced late last year. Since then, it's been gaining steam with Microsoft and Amazon and Google announcing support for the stripped-down version of the operating system. Ubuntu Core is what's being called a "micro-OS"; a stripped down, lean container-supporting machine that's becoming more pop...