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Dec072016

AzureWatch retirement announcement and transition to CloudMonix

It has been more than 6 years since I originally launched AzureWatch to help companies monitor and auto-scale their Azure Cloud Services.  Over the years, as the Azure platform grew and matured, my team and I tried to adapt AzureWatch to help provide more value in the ever-changing Azure space. We implemented monitoring for SQL Azure, WebApps, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus. However, as Azure platform and our customers' needs started to rapidly evolve, it became increasingly obvious that AzureWatch's internal architecture and somewhat dated user interface would simply not be able to keep up.

Having learnt many hard lessons and with deeper understanding of what monitoring/automation needs Azure users have, we started to work on a new product called CloudMonix, to replace AzureWatch.  CloudMonix was designed to provide deep insight, /automated issue recovery/ and advanced auto-scaling to Azure (and in the future AWS) platforms.  In early 2015, CloudMonix, was launched with great success.  Since then, we've experienced a sustained 5-10% month-to-month growth rate.

Today, CloudMonix supports monitoring of over 30 different types of cloud resources, integrates with a dozen of third party products, offers beautiful UI and has tons of bells and whistles that are useful for Service Providers, DevOps teams, and Enterprises.  Almost every AzureWatch customer who saw our newsletters and tried CloudMonix, migrated to it and is very happy with the outcome.  The product is that good!  And what's most important, we update and improve CloudMonix on a weekly basis. Literally.

So, I am both saddened and happy to announce that we intend to retire AzureWatch in April of 2017.  We currently have remaining 16 customers that are still using it.  Unfortunately, it is becoming less and less profitable for us to maintain the infrastructure and support of AzureWatch as time progresses

I would like to invite every current and previous AzureWatch user to migrate to CloudMonix and my team and I are ready to every assistance and incentive to help migrate your team to the new platform.

To learn more about CloudMonix and to sign up for a free trial, please visit our website at http://cloudmonix.com

To understand the benefits of CloudMonix and see it in action please schedule a time here: https://paraleap.acuityscheduling.com

 

If I can assist in any other way, just email igor@paraleap.com

Short FAQ:

Q: What are the benefits of CloudMonix vs AzureWatch?

A: CloudMonix far exceeds both AzureWatch and native Azure monitoring in a number of areas:

 

  • Amount and depth of diagnostic data it can capture, visualize and provide ability to alert on.
  • Powerful automation capabilities that can automatically recover your resources from outages and issues. 
  • Sophisticated auto-scaling capabilities not only for Cloud Services, but also for resources such as SQL Azure and Data Warehouses, WebApps and Virtual Machines, etc. 
  • Native integrations for many 3rd party products like Slack, PageryDuty, Zendesk and Autotask. 
  • Amazing UI with ability to scroll your dashboards back in time to easily find root cause of previously occurred production issues. 

 

    Overall, the full list of benefits is too lengthy to outline in an email.  Happy to discuss the benefits via online meeting. Click here to schedule a discussion: https://paraleap.acuityscheduling.com/

Q: How hard is it to onboard with CloudMonix?

A: Onboarding is incredibly simple.  Setup Wizard takes 4-5 minutes to complete.  CloudMonix comes pre-defined with a number of useful metrics and alerts, so that it brings value right out of the gate.  Configuration Templates offer ability to easily propagate similar monitoring setups across many resources in 2 clicks.

Q: Is there an automatic migration from AzureWatch to CloudMonix?

A: Unfortunately there is not.  However, default monitoring profiles are pre-packaged with a number of useful metrics and alerts.  And everyone who has migrated so far, appreciated the chance to revisit and improve their monitoring setups

Q: What Azure resources can CloudMonix monitor/automate?

A: CloudMonix supports monitoring the following resources (ARM and Classic mode is supported)

 

  • Windows and Linux VMs
  • Cloud Services
  • Web Apps and Webjobs
  • Service Bus Topics and Queues
  • SQL Azure and SQL Data Warehouse
  • Azure Redis Cache
  • DocumentDb Collections
  • Azure Storage (Blob, Queue, Table and File storage)
  • Stream Analytics and Event Hubs
  • Media Services
  • Azure Automation Runbooks
  • Backup Vaults
  • Virtual Networking
  • Scheduler
  • And more coming (Data Factories, Azure Batch, Scale Sets, Azure Search, Service Fabric, etc.)
  • CloudMonix can also monitor various non-Azure resources, such as Oracle, MySql, Sql Server (non-Azure), Windows Servers (non-Azure), Sockets, URLs, and JSON/XML API endpoints

 

Dec072016

AzureWatch retirement announcement and transition to CloudMonix

It has been more than 6 years since I originally launched AzureWatch to help companies monitor and auto-scale their Azure Cloud Services.  Over the years, as the Azure platform grew and matured, my team and I tried to adapt AzureWatch to help provide more value in the ever-changing Azure space. We implemented monitoring for SQL Azure, WebApps, Virtual Machines, and Service Bus. However, as Azure platform and our customers' needs started to rapidly evolve, it became increasingly obvious that AzureWatch's internal architecture and somewhat dated user interface would simply not be able to keep up.

Having learnt many hard lessons and with deeper understanding of what monitoring/automation needs Azure users have, we started to work on a new product called CloudMonix, to replace AzureWatch.  CloudMonix was designed to provide deep insight, /automated issue recovery/ and advanced auto-scaling to Azure (and in the future AWS) platforms.  In early 2015, CloudMonix, was launched with great success.  Since then, we've experienced a sustained 5-10% month-to-month growth rate.

Today, CloudMonix supports monitoring of over 30 different types of cloud resources, integrates with a dozen of third party products, offers beautiful UI and has tons of bells and whistles that are useful for Service Providers, DevOps teams, and Enterprises.  Almost every AzureWatch customer who saw our newsletters and tried CloudMonix, migrated to it and is very happy with the outcome.  The product is that good!  And what's most important, we update and improve CloudMonix on a weekly basis. Literally.

So, I am both saddened and happy to announce that we intend to retire AzureWatch in April of 2017.  We currently have remaining 16 customers that are still using it.  Unfortunately, it is becoming less and less profitable for us to maintain the infrastructure and support of AzureWatch as time progresses

I would like to invite every current and previous AzureWatch user to migrate to CloudMonix and my team and I are ready to every assistance and incentive to help migrate your team to the new platform.

To learn more about CloudMonix and to sign up for a free trial, please visit our website at http://cloudmonix.com

To understand the benefits of CloudMonix and see it in action please schedule a time here: https://paraleap.acuityscheduling.com

 

If I can assist in any other way, just email igor@paraleap.com

Short FAQ:

Q: What are the benefits of CloudMonix vs AzureWatch?

A: CloudMonix far exceeds both AzureWatch and native Azure monitoring in a number of areas:

 

  • Amount and depth of diagnostic data it can capture, visualize and provide ability to alert on.
  • Powerful automation capabilities that can automatically recover your resources from outages and issues. 
  • Sophisticated auto-scaling capabilities not only for Cloud Services, but also for resources such as SQL Azure and Data Warehouses, WebApps and Virtual Machines, etc. 
  • Native integrations for many 3rd party products like Slack, PageryDuty, Zendesk and Autotask. 
  • Amazing UI with ability to scroll your dashboards back in time to easily find root cause of previously occurred production issues. 

 

 

 

 

 

    Overall, the full list of benefits is too lengthy to outline in an email.  Happy to discuss the benefits via online meeting. Click here to schedule a discussion: https://paraleap.acuityscheduling.com/

Q: How hard is it to onboard with CloudMonix?

A: Onboarding is incredibly simple.  Setup Wizard takes 4-5 minutes to complete.  CloudMonix comes pre-defined with a number of useful metrics and alerts, so that it brings value right out of the gate.  Configuration Templates offer ability to easily propagate similar monitoring setups across many resources in 2 clicks.

Q: Is there an automatic migration from AzureWatch to CloudMonix?

A: Unfortunately there is not.  However, default monitoring profiles are pre-packaged with a number of useful metrics and alerts.  And everyone who has migrated so far, appreciated the chance to revisit and improve their monitoring setups

Q: What Azure resources can CloudMonix monitor/automate?

A: CloudMonix supports monitoring the following resources (ARM and Classic mode is supported)

 

  • Windows and Linux VMs
  • Cloud Services
  • Web Apps and Webjobs
  • Service Bus Topics and Queues
  • SQL Azure and SQL Data Warehouse
  • Azure Redis Cache
  • DocumentDb Collections
  • Azure Storage (Blob, Queue, Table and File storage)
  • Stream Analytics and Event Hubs
  • Media Services
  • Azure Automation Runbooks
  • Backup Vaults
  • Virtual Networking
  • Scheduler
  • And more coming (Data Factories, Azure Batch, Scale Sets, Azure Search, Service Fabric, etc.)
  • CloudMonix can also monitor various non-Azure resources, such as Oracle, MySql, Sql Server (non-Azure), Windows Servers (non-Azure), Sockets, URLs, and JSON/XML API endpoints

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May092015

INTRODUCING CLOUDMONIX

Short version

AzureWatch is now over four years old and is a little... dated.  In order to keep up with our customers' needs and with innovations in Azure, we recently introduced a brand new monitoring product designed to replace AzureWatch.  The product is called CloudMonix and it is available at http://cloudmonix.com.  CloudMonix enhances Microsoft Azure by providing deep monitoring of most of Azure's infrastructure via live dashboards, ability to self-heal from many different production issues, on-demand historical performance and uptime reports, customizable alerts & notifications, sophisticated auto-scaling engine, integration to third party systems, and a lot more.  CloudMonix is not yet available in Azure Marketplace.

 

Long version

Five years ago, I set out on a journey to help Azure developers auto-scale their Azure systems.  AzureWatch, a product that I built for that purpose, was originally a Windows desktop application that allowed users to dynamically scale their Web and Worker roles with demand - a feature that Windows Azure lacked back in the day.  

Over the years, AzureWatch was continually enhanced to meet ever-growing customer needs.  As my team grew with the customer base, so did AzureWatch's feature set.  We migrated AzureWatch from a desktop app to a fully hosted cloud solution.  We added monitoring capabilities and live dashboards.  AzureWatch was enhanced to monitor SQL Azure, Storage, Websites and Virtual Machines.  Unfortunately, with each iteration of changes and features, we twisted and adopted AzureWatch to do something it was never meant to.  Ongoing maintenance became hard and time to innovate long.

As market conditions changed and need for auto-scaling decreased, due to basic auto-scaling features being introduced in Azure core platform, it was obvious that we needed to offer customers something more substantial and special.  After looking thru the backlog of customer requests, a few patterns clearly emerged, where we saw that we could add a ton of value

  • Very fast onboarding and intuitive UI.  No one has time to learn complex systems that don't work from the get-go
  • Deep insight into all levels of technical stack, not just servers. Cloud platforms offer many useful services and they all need to be considered in the overall health of a production system
  • Automatic self-healing.  While healing procedures are usually simple to script out (reboot server, restart service, clear cache, recycle app pool, truncate table, etc.), knowing WHEN to execute these procedures can be really challenging.
  • Ability to compare & contrast performance, uptime, and other metrics over time.  
  • Provide value not just for Azure but other cloud systems for shops that manage or utilize different cloud platforms

Taking into account that AzureWatch's back-end needed to be re-architected to become much more adaptive at monitoring new and different systems and AzureWatch's front-end UI needed a lot of work to become user-friendly, the decision to re-architect the whole product became a no-brainer.  So, in summer of 2014, we set out on a journey to re-invent ourselves and provide a new kind of SaaS service: "Stability-as-a-Service" to cloud production environments with a delightful user experience and backed by our amazing support.

Fast-forward to today.  We delivered and in some ways over-delivered on all of our goals with the release of CloudMonix in March of 2015.  All lessons learnt in the years of maintaining AzureWatch came in handy.  CloudMonix has automatic self-healing and enhanced auto-scaling engines; amazing and responsive UI; ability to integrate with other 3rd party systems; future support for public API, data-region affinity; in-depth monitoring of a number of popular Azure services and ability to develop others very quickly.  There is more, much more.  With a few known exceptions, CloudMonix far exceeds AzureWatch in features and functionality from the get-go and continues to evolve and expand very quickly.

I invite you experience CloudMonix for yourself at http://cloudmonix.com and tell us what you think.

Igor Papirov
CEO
Microsoft Azure Insider
Paraleap Technologies

Mar312015

AzureWatch now supports Azure Diagnostics Extension (SDK 2.5+)

We are happy to introduce support for monitoring of Cloud Services deployed with Azure SDK 2.5+ with Azure Diagnostics Extension to AzureWatch and CloudMonix.  Action is required for users who wish to monitor Azure Cloud Services using the Diagnostic Extension with AzureWatch.

In order to properly enable monitoring, kindly specify a valid Azure Storage account for capture of diagnostic data, in the Role configuration screen (see image below).  As with previous Azure Diagnostics Module, spreading diagnostic data from different roles across different Azure storage accounts is recommended.

 

 

Please be aware that any change to configuration of performance counters within a specified role, will result in AzureWatch making two calls to UpdateDeployment in order to uninstall and reinstall Azure Diagnostic extension.  While these calls are generally harmless, they may cause a short outage of web traffic if you only have 1 instance deployed within a Webrole.  

Jan152015

AzureWatch compatibility with Azure SDK v2.5 and above

At the end of 2014, Microsoft released a new Windows Azure SDK v2.5 that has significant impact on monitoring of Azure Cloud Services (web and worker roles) with Azure Diagnostics.  In a nutshell, Azure SDK 2.5 has obsoleted the way Azure Diagnostics was instrumented and collected via their Diagnostics module and switched over to a new Extension-based model utilized for monitoring of Virtual Machines.

 

From AzureWatch perspective, this means that users who depend on AzureWatch to monitor and auto-scale their Cloud Web and Worker roles should wait before upgrading to Azure SDK v2.5.  AzureWatch is currently not compatible with Azure SDK 2.5 when monitoring Cloud Services.  Monitoring of SQL Azure, Storage, VMs, and other assets is not impacted.  We are working on handling this situation and hope to have more news in the coming weeks ahead.

Mar112014

Major enhancements to AzureWatch Rules engine

A number of important changes are being introduced to AzureWatch this weekend (March 16th):

  • Ability to execute rules only after a sustained period of time
    • This feature allows for much better control of the scaling process.  For example, in certain situations it can be far more effective to scale when sustained load is over a certain threshold rather than try to predict what a moving average looks like.  It is important to know that if a rule is configured with a sustained time delay, it will only be executed after continuously being evaluated to TRUE for the specified period of time.
  • Ability to send ON and OFF alerts (a single ON email when alert evaluates to TRUE, and a single OFF email when it evaluates to FALSE)
    • This feature reduces spam when a certain rule's condition is continuously TRUE.  It also simplifies configuration since ON/OFF alerts no longer require throttling.  Unless modified, existing Alerts will work as they currently do.
  • Separation of Alerts from Management Actions (rules that notify will be separated from rules that execute scale actions, shutdowns, restarts, etc.)
    • This feature is relatively important as it may impact existing rule sets.  Going forward, rules that are Alerts will be evaluated separately from rules that are Management Actions.  When evaluating rules, all Alerts that qualify for execution will be evaluated and acted upon, not just the first one. Management Actions will continue to be evaluated until the first rule that qualifies for execution. Users who currently rely on Alerts to control execution of their Management Actions will want to revisit their scaling configurations.  We do expect percentage of such users to be either very small or non-existent.
    • After the upgrade, we plan to monitor AzureWatch's email queues and switch highly spamming Alerts to have ON/OFF logic.  Impacted customers will be notified.

While we expect minimum impact during or after the upgrade, we want to be transparent with our users: this is probably the most significant change to the Rules engine since the inception of AzureWatch. If you have any concerns, please contact Paraleap support team

Jan282014

Upcoming changes to the way alerts work in AzureWatch

We are currently working on changing the way alerts work in AzureWatch.  At this time, Rules for a monitored resource, that trigger either Alerts or Management Actions are ALL evaluated together in a single loop.  When a single Rule is evaluated to TRUE, all further evaluation of rules for that resource stops.  This will be changing going forward.  ALL rules that trigger alerts will be evaluated, regardless of their success or failure.  Only rules that contain Management Actions will be evaluated to the first TRUE rule.

Furthermore, we will be adding the following two options to the Rule engine:

1) Ability to send ON/OFF notifications for Alerts.  This means that when a condition for a Rule is TRUE, AzureWatch will send out an "Alert ON" alert and subsequently when the condition for a Rule no longer is true, AzureWatch will send out an "Alert OFF" alert.

2) Ability to trigger Rules (Alerts or Management Actions) only after a sustained period of time.  This means that when a condition is TRUE, a particular Rule will not be immediately acted upon.  Only if Rule's condition has been evaluated as TRUE for the specified period of time, will it trigger it's Alert or Management Action.

Jan222014

Monitor Windows Azure Service Dashboard!

AzureWatch users can now receive notifications when changes are published to the Windows Azure Service Dashboard.  Upon logging into AzureWatch portal, users can choose to subscribe to any of the Azure Service Dashboard feeds as shown in the screenshot below.  This feature is available free of charge to active AzureWatch users.

 

AzureWatch Dashboard notifications

Jan062014

Windows Event Log monitoring with AzureWatch

This week we are excited to release a long-requested feature in AzureWatch: support for active monitoring of Windows Event Logs.  We are starting things off with support for Application, System and Security logs in Windows Azure Cloud Services (Web or Worker Roles) and Windows Azure Virtual Machines.

Users can now create rule-based alerts that match against entries in a particular Event Log, against a specific event log level, name of the publishing application or text of the entry itself.  We've enhanced our Rules engine to support string comparison and search capabilities.  Even though the extra workload to accommodate monitoring of Event Logs is significant, this feature will be available at no additional charge to users who are already monitoring their servers with AzureWatch.

In order to enable Event Log monitoring, users need to specify which logs should AzureWatch be monitoring and at what level.  Take care to not overwhelm monitoring cycles by asking AzureWatch to inspect too much data per cycle.  Checkboxes and Minimum severity level that users can specify on the Role configuration screen will control how much data is being sent to AzureWatch. Hundreds of log entries per minute should be OK, but once the number of log events gets into thousands per minute, users with a lot of servers may notice slowdowns of their monitoring cycles.

Turn on Event Log monitoring

 

After instructing AzureWatch (and via AzureWatch, Windows Azure itself) as to what Event Log data needs to be transferred to Windows Azure Diagnostics Table Storage or captured through Powershell Remoting, users can create custom alert or management rules based on the Event Log data.  We've enabled a number of Event Log specific variables that can be used in formulas of rules as shown in the screenshot below.  Every event log entry captured during a particular monitoring cycle will be evaluated against user-specific formula until a first matching log entry is found.  Users can combine aggregate metrics together with Event Log based search criteria to create sophisticated rules.  For example, it is possible to create a monitoring rule that looks for .NET errors that occur only when average CPU utilization is over 70%.  In order to support text-search capabilities in our engine, we've added ability to search text-based variables via three new functions: Contains, EndsWith and StartsWith, all of which return TRUE or FALSE when called from the rule's formula

 

Going forward we intend to further enhance the engine by providing numeric counts of events that match particular criteria to the rules engine, so that users can create rules based not only on individual log entries but also based on quantity of specific events found.

 

Do you have any feedback as to what you'd like to see from AzureWatch?  Please do not hesitate to contact us!

Nov112013

New Dashboard is here!

Users logging into AzureWatch Management Portal last week found themselves pleasantly surprised.  We've completely overhauled our dashboard.  It is now a robust, configurable user experience designed to provide users with an ability to quickly and intuitively see all of the relevant and important monitored data for their Azure applications.  Check out a screenshot cutout or simply login with your account to experience the new interface


Dashboard

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