Exact provides cloud-based accounting and CRM software for SMEs (Small to Medium Enterprises). Customers rely on Exact’s ability to maintain a high level of availability, so Exact needed a monitoring product that could monitor transactions, work within their current alerting system, provide easy access to reporting, and check for availability. In this interview, we talk with André van de Graaf, Principal Quality Assurance, working in the Infrastructure and Operations department of Exact Cloud Solutions about how Exact uses Uptrends to help them maintain their complex web application.
Customers from seven countries access Exact’s service to manage all aspects of their finances. For all seven countries, Exact needs to know if their site is up and if the site’s major functions work properly. Exact uses many different tools to monitor and maintain their service, and Uptrends works within their existing processes to verify and prove availability and helps Exact to identify and diagnosing issues.
Dashboards and reports that make SLA proof easy
Initially Exact monitored their availability from within their data centers, but internal testing didn’t prove that their customers could actually reach their websites.
“We use Uptrends' custom dashboards to show the availability statistics on a big TV screen in our office.”
Exact knew they needed an external monitoring service to verify their availability and notify them of any issues. Uptrends wasn’t the first monitoring service they tried.
“We always had trouble getting the reporting part of the other product to show if we really achieved our SLA (Service Level Agreement) or not. With Uptrends it is really easy to do, and we are happy with it. We use Uptrends' custom dashboards to show the availability statistics on a big TV screen in our office.”
The Exact team can see at a glance what their current availability looks like and they can access reports at any time to verify and prove the availability of their systems over a given time span.
Just because it is available doesn’t mean it works
Monitoring for uptime is crucial, but if site visitors can’t actually use the site, it doesn’t mean much.
“If we have released something and the performance decreased, we can look at what we have changed in the last day to find the cause for the slow down.”
Exact monitors for availability every minute and they monitor for functionality every five minutes to ensure that their major systems continue to work. Exact uses transaction monitors to test for functionality.
“We are running Exact Online in 7 countries. For every country, we have transaction monitors. We want to know if the major functionality in the software package is working. First, can you really log in? Second, can we create an entry; can we add data? We have two types of overviews. Are we able to generate these overviews? In the end, we do the normal log out. With these steps, we know that the major components in our network infrastructure are working.”
“With transaction monitors, we can also see the performance. We know how long it takes to make an entry and how long it takes to generate the report. We release software every day. If we have released something and the functionality has slowed, we can look at what we have changed in the last day to find the cause for the slow down.”
Uptrends makes root-cause analysis easier
With complex, dynamic systems like Exact’s, when problems arise, locating the source is often tricky.
“When you can correlate the developers' changes with changes in performance in Uptrends, it makes analyzing the situation easier.”
Exact uses Uptrends to help pinpoint trouble spots and verify that their system has a problem.
“We have a lot of problem indicators in our environment, but if we can also prove problems with Uptrends, it makes it easier for everyone to understand. Every day we create the same entry and retrieve the same data, so every day the performance should be consistent. When you can correlate the developers' changes with changes in performance in Uptrends, it makes analyzing the situation easier.”
Alerts that work with existing systems
Uptrends has a sophisticated alerting system for communicating issues that include duty schedules to make sure messages go out to the right person at the right time, but when you have multiple systems that need to communicate with your team, sometimes it just makes sense to use a third-party notification tool.
“We have VictorOps configured as a user on Uptrends. When Uptrends issues an alert, the alert goes out to VictorOps.”
We at Uptrends love it when our customers find our system easy to use with their existing systems.
“We send all of our system alerts including Uptrends to VictorOps. We have VictorOps configured as a user on Uptrends. When Uptrends issues an alert, the alert goes out to VictorOps. VictorOps then forwards the Uptrends alert to our on-call agent.”
Put Uptrends in your tool belt!
Exact continues to find ways to use Uptrends' solutions in their process, and we love working with Exact. We try to make tools that adapt and work within existing systems, and we think we would be a great fit for your website or service. Give Uptrends a try, and see the many different ways that Uptrends can work with your existing processes and make maintaining your website’s uptime and performance much easier.Start with a free trial