Is It Down? A Better Way to Track SaaS and Web Availability

Posted by on April 27, 2015

Accessing multiple web services has become ingrained into lives of millions around the world. As soon as one of these services goes down, everyone complains in whatever outlet they can, evidenced by the Facebook and Instagram outage earlier this year. In an office environment, a member of the IT, Ops, or Network teams unfortunately becomes the sounding board for most of the complaints when SaaS tools and web services are slow or inaccessible. As more services become cloud-based, having an objective source for performance insights can lead to the faster resolution of “Salesforce is down” help-desk tickets.

Along with cloud becoming the new standard, a significant amount of key websites are now relying on third-party services for data and richer user experiences; examples include APIs, CRM, CMS, marketing automation, email, analytics platforms and even payment gateways. When that dependent relationship exists, tracking availability of top SaaS and web services is fundamental to providing the best possible user experience and, in some cases, minimizing revenue loss as well.

To help with SaaS monitoring, ThousandEyes offers a free Lite plan that includes data feeds for 19 of the most popular SaaS applications and web services:

  • Sales & Marketing: Salesforce, Oracle OnDemand, NetSuite, Marketo, Microsoft Dynamics, Hubspot
  • Collaboration: Microsoft Office365, Google Apps, Dropbox, Box, Github
  • Finance & BI: SAP Business Objects, ADP, Concur, Docusign
  • Consumer: Facebook, Twitter, Apple iCloud, LinkedIn

Today we’ll cover how to opt in to these free data feeds and put them to use!

More than Just a Green Light

By sharing network performance data, ThousandEyes aims to provide more than just a green light that shows if a web service is up or down. As we discussed in our post The Evolution of Network Monitoring, “applications are now much more complex and dependent on multiple third-party components. Modern network monitoring solutions need to be application-aware and able to single out underlying problems that actually impact user experience.” A status indicator is simply not enough anymore.

The granularity of network performance metrics collected by ThousandEyes allows for a much more comprehensive and accurate status check for top web applications when compared to, or for example. ThousandEyes collects data via our global Cloud Agents that simulate end-user traffic. With this data, SaaS monitoring includes not just availability and response time information, but also loss, latency, and jitter per network link and interface along each user path. So you’ll be able to understand if an outage or performance event is an application provider issue, a global service provider issue or something specific to networks in your region.

Figure 1
Figure 1: Path visualization to Box, with packet loss in the path from Seattle.

How to Enable Shared Data for Web Services

  1. To enable the Live Sharing tests in your account, hover over the main Sharing menu, and in the dropdown you’ll see a link to Live, which will take you Live Sharing.
  2. On the Live Sharing page, you’ll see a search box and three tabs labeled “Shared by users in my account group”, “Shared with me”, and “Shared by ThousandEyes”.
  3. Select the “Shared by ThousandEyes” tab. After selecting that option, you’ll see a table that lists all tests with names, target URLs and a checkbox that shows whether those shared tests are enabled in your account.
  4. If you see a test to a web application that you want to be able to view and get more detailed network performance data for, toggle the ‘Enabled’ checkbox on that tests’ table row. As soon as it is enabled, you’ll see a View icon next to the test name.
  5. Clicking the View icon will load that specific test, and by now, the Live Sharing tests that have been enabled will also show up on your dashboard.

Follow along with this quick 34 second video walkthrough of the exact steps.

Enable network performance data for the web applications you care about to use your free ThousandEyes Lite account to its full potential.