With this winter’s historic snow still piling up here in Chicago, our developers
have been stuck indoors delivering lots of new functionality for all of our
customers. We’ve got a wide range of improvements this time, hitting most of
our major systems so there should be something for everyone in this release. It
looks like spring is still several months away (at least) so there will
definitely be more to come soon – keep an eye on our blog soon for details of
what’s coming up.
With this winter’s historic snow still piling up here in Chicago, our developers
American politics is always a hectic affair and the rollout of the Healthcare.gov for Americans everywhere has been a bumpy path. In response to this, we would like to release some facts about the response time and availability of the Healthcare.gov website for bloggers and journalists to use as a resource in their own coverage. Using our own Panopta server monitoring system, we set up network checks on the Affordable Care Act’s Healthcare.Gov website finding it was only available for use by the American public 86% of the time during the month of November!
That 86% availability is, by the standards of any online industry, abysmal. Now, it is understood that the roll out of healthcare.gov was “fumbled” but how and where was healthcare.gov fumbled? We checked the healthcare.gov servers, every minute, to check different aspects of the public facing infrastructure including Authoritative DNS, HTTP availability and content checks.
The holidays are now officially in full swing, from the door wreaths on your neighbor’s door and the lights on the trees on main street, this means its time for another update from the Panopta Holiday Index.
If you have been keeping up with the news, you’ll know that if you have been trying to buy health insurance on the new health insurance exchange you get message like this:
We’re excited to announce a large number of enhancements to Panopta as part of our v3.11 release! This release included a fair amount of backend improvements which brings an even more robust and reliable monitoring experience to you. In addition to those backend improvements, here are some of the user facing enhancements which you can benefit from:
Sign in with Twitter
Now you can sign into Panopta using your Twitter login in addition to our normal username/password authentication. Eliminate the need for another login you have to remember by linking your twitter account to your Panopta login! To set this up, go to Settings | My Account in the control panel and click the Connect Your Twitter Account button. This will walk you through Twitters approval flow, then you can always login with the button on the login page.
While you’re at it, make sure to follow @Panopta to catch all of our latest news and announcements!
Enhancements to maintenance schedules
Many Panopta customers use the maintenance schedule functionality extensively. Maintenance schedules allow you to configure Panopta with periods of time where your systems/servers will be down intentionally and when you don’t want alerts to be sent. In order to make this even easier to use, we’ve added the ability to search through archived maintenance schedules along with the ability to copy an archived schedule for a brand new maintenance schedule.
In the IT industry, infrastructure fails all the time – it’s a known fact that everyone accepts-and there are thousands of tech professionals who won’t tell you anything about it. Usually, the details of failures are kept private, either never mentioned or sanitized into a generic root cause analysis (RCA) that gives only basic information. Very seldom do you get to see what really happened behind the scenes when things go wrong, which is truly unfortunate.
However, these failures, as the old adage goes, are a great teacher. The battle scars and war stories of seasoned system administrators have built their character and establish the skill to quickly assess and resolve problems that come up. Getting to see problems arise and see how they’re dealt with is the best way for more junior staff to learn their trade. Unfortunately the important problems aren’t textbook and this often requires real fires and good teachers in order to gain real knowledge.
One of our customers recently ran into a series of intermittent hardware problems, which led to a number of outages for their SaaS application over a period of 24 hours. They’ve agreed to allow us to describe the problems they ran into and the steps they took to resolve them, along with the lessons they took away from the event and their plans for improving their infrastructure.
We’re extremely excited to announce the launch of version 2 of the Panopta REST API! The V2 API exposes all of the functionality which is available to you through our control panel site and has been in beta use for several weeks now. We’ve now released this to all of our customers and have made it available on all of our plans.
The Panopta API is a great way to enhance your monitoring experience even further by pulling critical uptime & outage data into external apps for a powerful mashup. Acknowledge an outage or escalate it to advance the notification schedule to it’s notification step. Or use the API to automate adding/removing servers, checks and users to Panopta when something changes on your end for a fully integrated experience. The possibilities go on. We’re happy to help you think of other ways to integrate as well, just reach out to our first class support team.
To begin using the API, simply login to your control panel and access the API key management page from under the settings menu. You can setup API keys for different purposes and designate them as read-only or write access. Once you’ve setup an API key, you”ll be able to immediately start seeing it in action using our API explorer tool.
A powerful API is only as useful as the documentation you provide showing how to use it. By inputting your API key, you can immediately see all the API endpoints available to you and the operations/parameters it takes. See below:
Once you’ve selected an API endpoint to explore, you’re presented with an easy to use interface to input any of the optional parameters with an explanation. Submit the form and immediately see the request url, response code, body and headers! Not a single line of code needed and you’re able to explore the power of the API!
You can access the API explorer here or just visit the API key section in your control panel. Developers will be happy to hear that every new feature added to Panopta will be represented in the API as well.
Have an idea for additional API’s which should be added? Or want to show us how you’ve used the Panopta API to enhance your monitoring experience? Email our dev team or send us a note on Twitter (@panopta) and tell us all about it. You”ll make our day!
Last but not least, we want to really thank the developers of swagger for developing a framework which enabled us to bring such a powerful tool to all our valued customers.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve reworked our monitoring packages from the ground up! We think you”ll find the new offering to be extremely competitive while still maintaining Panopta’s dedication to a high level of quality and customer service.
The screenshot below shows just a glimpse of our new lineup of packages and how they scale with your growing business.
So what makes these new plans so special? Here are a few reasons why this change in our plans benefits our customers in a big way:
Packages that scale with your business
– We put a lot of thought into the various stages a company goes through as it progresses. As you grow, your monitoring requirements change and we’ve done our best to capture that with our new package lineup! We’ve made it easier to find the right “fit” for your company with comfortable transitions between plans so that you’re getting what you need for a price that fits into your budget.
More bang for your buck
– We’re including even more checks and features in each plan to provide great value with the same enterprise quality you’ve come to expect from Panopta. One noteworthy change is we’ve removed SMS and voice alert limits across the board. Now, all plans come with unlimited SMS/Voice alerts!
– We’ve separated agent resource checks from network service checks. We believe monitoring with the agent provides you with invaluable insight when assessing how your infrastructure is performing. Separating the agent checks out allows you to monitor both without having to cut back because of limitations.
That along with a newly streamlined signup and setup process makes getting setup with Panopta easy and painless.
New to Panopta?
Signup now and give it a try for 30 days at no cost! We’re confident that you”ll be satisfied with what Panopta has to offer and our first class support team is here to help you along the way.
Already a Panopta customer?
Don’t worry, we’ll be migrating all of our existing customers onto these new and improved plans so that you benefit from the same savings as all of our new customers. We’ll be sending out communication about this and processing plans changes to batches of customers at a time. If you have any questions or need assistance before then, feel free to let our billing team know and we’ll do our best to assist.
Network Solutions has become a villain and victim in the hosting world with their long outages and intermittent services over the past few weeks caused by several hacking DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks that have compromised its hosting and DNS services. These intentional attacks against Network Solutions are, obviously, not their fault but their critical server issues do trickle down and affect us all.
From the Network Solutions customer, the customer of a Network Solutions customer, to the general users of the internet, these attacks do not just compromise the discreet products Network Solutions sells but many of our interactions on the web.
Compounding the technical problems that Network Solutions encountered was their tepid non-response to the attack. In the wake of their most recent outages this week, there have been no reports or news distributed on the Network Solutions homepage, via twitter, or any other source directly confirming their outages until service had been restored. This is problematic because Network Solution’s customers, unless they have a very refined monitoring infrastructure in place, have no way of confirming and confronting outage problems.
Over the past week, DNS-related outages have impacted a number of sites. LinkedIn, the third largest social network in the world, suffered several hours of downtime where their site was instead being directed to domain sales page. After investigation, they determined that this was due to a domain hijacking incident with their DNS provider, Network Solutions. Network Solutions claims “a small number” of its clients were affected including LinkedIn. Cisco offers contrary evidence that up to 5000 webpages were affected by Network Solutions outage, including USPS.com, Subaru, Mazda USA, US Airways, Craigslist, and Weather.com.
Following the Network Solutions problem, hosting providers Zerigo and GoDaddy have had extended DNS outages from what appear to be DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks that have taken many of the websites that they host and manage offline.
DNS is key component of how the internet works, and normally plays a behind-the-scenes role and doesn’t get much attention. However, as the last week has shown, it can cause serious problems for online businesses. What should you know about DNS and how to minimize the impact of DNS problems on your site?