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Insights: There is more to it…

Jonathan George 缩略图
Jonathan George
Published December 02, 2020
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“The best vision is insight.”  – Malcom Forbes


In the recent blog Reducing Time To Know, we touched on that when troubleshooting a performance or availability incident it’s imperative to see the whole picture during the investigation to reduce Mean-Time-To-Know (MTTK) and Mean-Time-To-Innocence (MTTI). Otherwise, IT and DevOps teams spend long cycles investigating these incidents, subsequently slowing down the Mean-Time-To-Repair (MTTR).

At F5, our vision for your application portfolio is continuously adapting to its changing environment. With our SaaS solution, F5 Beacon, we enhance your application visibility posture irrespective of the actual architectures and data planes in use. Beacon provides you with the right level of insights that are easy to consume in order to support your adaptive applications.

Before we dive into insights, let’s take a moment to understand a key concept that Beacon focuses on around minimizing the MTTI to help provide the user with an intuitive and faster way to detect where issues exist along the application path. With our application modeling, it's simple to achieve maximum visibility across your applications.

The application graph below shows the application’s composition and dependencies overlayed with health, based on the metrics ingested into Beacon for each one of those components.

Figure 1: Sample Application Modeling in Beacon

So back to insights, what are they? How do they work? And what value do they add?

An insight is a set of valuable and related information based on one or multiple metrics. Insights can be associated with your applications to help you understand your application health, performance posture, and beyond. Examples of insights could be as simple as exploring your BIG-IP system metrics, such as correlating your CPU and memory over the past day. Or reviewing the number of HTTP requests handled across your pool of NGINX instances over the course of last week to help you figure out if each instance is getting an even distribution of requests, and thus if your load balancing algorithms are efficient or not.

There are two types of insights: Custom and Built-in. Custom insights are created by customers either via API or portal. Built-in insights, as the name implies, come pre-configured and made available in Beacon.

Figure 2: Custom Insight Example of BIG-IP CPU and Mem Usage

So, in essence, the purpose of insights is to help you as a user understand everything about your applications, while ultimately driving toward an outcome (i.e., detect an issue, observe a pattern, understand a behavior, etc.). As this Beacon functionality evolves moving forward, additional analytics capabilities will be added to help you detect anomalies with your application so that you're more empowered with richer insights to make the right decisions and take the appropriate actions. But wait, why stop there, what about predicting and preventing issues from occurring in the first place?! Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? More to come on what the future holds for Beacon...

So far, we’ve covered some examples that enable better monitoring and insights of application health and performance. But what about compliance?  With our latest Beacon release, we extended our monitoring capabilities and added SSL/TLS compliance reporting and metrics. The report provides insights into SSL/TLS ciphers and protocols, as well as recent cryptographic flaws, and much more. Additionally, relevant metrics from the report are automatically referenced across Beacon for use in custom insights. The screenshot below highlights a snippet of what you can expect in this report.

Figure 3: SSL/TLS Compliance Report including Ciphers and Protocols

In summary, Beacon offers a powerful visibility platform with rich insights that can help you reduce your incident MTTK and MTTR considerably, and improve application health, performance, and compliance towards a better end-user experience. Ready to get started? You can request your Beacon live demo with one of our product consultants or watch the Beacon live demo webinar coming up on Dec. 10th.

Otherwise, check out our getting started guide and try Beacon for yourself with our 45-day free trial.