Observability

Troubleshooting Through Analytics

Aug 26, 20218 min read

Written by Frank Garland (Technical Researcher)

Become an expert in edge computing

Troubleshooting and maintenance aren’t exactly the most exciting buzzwords in the tech world. Everyone wants to be the guy who invents the next Netflix, while no one seems to pay much attention to the guy who’s routine and patient debugging is keeping your favorite show from crashing on you mid-season.

But that lack of glamour and pizzazz is a real detriment to our collective ability to recall the vital role routine maintenance plays for digital enterprises. Think of it like good plumbing. It’s not the most fun thing in the world, and it’s not the thing the neighbors are going to notice when they compliment the house, but it is the only thing keeping your basement from flooding (And all your favorite board games are down there!).

A savvy troubleshooter keeps a wide array of tools in their virtual belt (and a wrench or two in their real belt). Possibly the most crucial of these tools is data analytics.

Data Analytics

Before you begin the process of correcting all the issues and anomalies in your system, you first need to be able to detect and understand those issues. That’s where data analytics comes in. Data analytics tools sort through all of the data your servers and applications generate, sifting through all of the junk and white noise like a cyber bloodhound, and returning with real solid information and insights on recurring patterns that can be used for a wide variety of use cases, including troubleshooting and maintenance.

Manual search and destroy tactics for debugging are a thing of the past. It doesn’t matter how good your IT team is, without the proper tools, they can’t detect and eliminate problems at the speed that a modern enterprise demands. And it’s not scalable. A top of the line analytics tool doesn’t care if it's searching through the data from one server or a thousand, it will still find you the answers you're looking for and be instantly ready to resolve your next query.

Feed Your Tools

A good data analytics tool is constrained only by the data it receives. In order to maximize the utility of your analytics tools, you’ll want them to be tapped into as much of your enterprise’s raw data as possible. Data streaming is a godsend for this exact purpose. A successor to the older batch processing style of data delivery, data streaming is an analytics enablement tool, feeding your data analytics tools all of the information they need to do their work. Data streaming differentiates itself from prior data delivery vehicles by its real-time approach. With data streaming, analytics tools are fed a smooth and uninterrupted flow of data in real-time as the data is generated. This both makes it easier for analytics to process this information, and ensures that data pertaining to a critical event is processed as soon as the event occurs. Working in tandem with data analytics, data streaming becomes a truly potent tool for optimizing the efficiency of your troubleshooting process.

The Observability Philosophy

Modern data analytics tools are built to work in support of a larger data analysis philosophy called observability. Observability is a complement and mirror to the monitoring principle, the belief that we should strive to make tools that can view and process the internal data of our systems and networks as richly and comprehensively as possible. While monitoring is all about getting really good at pulling data from our systems, observability focuses on making that process as easy as possible, by building systems that, by design, are streamlined to make observation much easier. When building out your analytics portfolio, you’re going to want tools that work in service of both these high-level objectives, both the monitoring principles that focus on swift and powerful data extraction and analysis, and observability’s focus on the processes that enable data analytics to perform more completely and efficiently.

The Azion Approach

Here at Azion, we’ve discovered first hand how deeply beneficial data analytics can be for our own troubleshooting needs. That’s why we’ve developed our own product suite of cutting edge data analytics tools designed to work in concert with our real-time data streaming service to support enterprises looking to re-think and optimize their troubleshooting and maintenance processes.

Real-Time Metrics

Real-Time Metrics is a dashboard that provides visualizations of your data via graphs and charts to evaluate the data generated by your platform and applications. We’ve built Real-Time Metrics to be fully integratable into third party applications, offering high-level system-wide transparency. Real-Time Metrics loops you in to a centralized data hub that grows and updates in real time as new data is delivered. Because of its ability to track the respective performances of applications, Real-Time Metrics can deliver crucial insights into your user traffic patterns, offering a clear-headed path to mapping day by day revenue sources, opening up the inner workings of your enterprise with a kind of digital x-ray vision. Since the data Real-Time Metrics processes can be filtered through dozens of specialized metrics, Real-Time Metrics can be adapted to new needs and use cases on the fly, offering a myriad of ways to identify system-wide issues and make future-facing strategic plans. It’s a powerful generalist tool, similar to a high-powered telescope, offering an honest, data-driven view of your digital infrastructure on a wide-scope, macro scale. For more fine detail work, you’re going to want to look to our next tool: Real-Time Events.

Real-Time Events

Real-Time Events is the microscope to Real-Time Metrics telescope. Rather than offering a sweeping view of the digital cosmos, Real-Time Metrics tackles singular events with a highly specific, laser focus. It does this using a complex query system, allowing you to build a sophisticated and unique query to seek out the answers to specific key questions. This query feeds off the same massive data pool that powers Real-Time Metrics broad metric based scans, but its greater singularity of purpose enables it to collect fine-grain details in pursuit of its answer. Real-Time Events is the perfect tool, when you know exactly what question you want to ask. If you’re looking towards restructuring the monetization of a specific function of a specific product with a specific target audience in mind, Real-Time Events will take you on a deep dive into the knitty gritty, showing you in-depth data on current customer usage and performance, as well as highlighting the successes and failures of similar monetization initiatives. Its quick resolving queries cut into the tiniest niches of your enterprise with surgical precision, providing that critical micro-analysis aspect that any company must include when in pursuit of achieving total digital transparency and observability.

Edge Pulse

A novel subroutine of Real-Time Events, Edge Pulse takes RTE principles and flips the script. Instead of narrowing in on the minutiae of your enterprise, Edge Pulse turns its attention outward, focusing on user experience and the customer side of things. With Edge Pulse enabled, customers accessing your applications generate real user monitoring data, offering insights into consumer trends as well as highlighting areas where customer attention wavers. While Real-Time Metrics and Real-Time Events offer insights into your application performance, Edge Pulse provides insights into the perception of your application performance, which is just as vital. Edge Pulse allows you to catch hold of significant trends and taste shifts by zooming in on what your customers have liked, do like, and will like about your product offering. By paying your customer the attention they deserve, Edge Pulse ensures that you can offer them the products and services that are the perfect fit for them.

Data Streaming

Azion Data Streaming is an analytics enablement tool, providing consistent and fault-tolerant real-time data delivery to support and empower our own and third party data analytics tools. Designed to service the needs of our own edge platform, Azion Data Streaming is built to handle the raw data generated by thousands of edge nodes, giving it impressive processing power. Plus, it’s equipped with state of the art, end-to-end encryption, ensuring that all of that data remains accessible to you and only you.

Summary

Troubleshooting can be tough and thankless work, and it needs all the support it can get. Support your troubleshooting team by making their work easier with data analytics and data streaming. Being able to locate and diagnose the issues in your system gives you a big step forward in your path to solving them. If you're looking for a modern approach to analytics that’s built to incorporate advanced observability and monitoring principles, then it may be time to give the Azion data analytics product suite a try. A digital enterprise gains relevance through great ideas and inventions, but it retains relevance through great troubleshooting and maintenance. Take your troubleshooting to the next level, and your whole system will reap the benefits of a faster, safer, cheaper network.

Was this article helpful?