Turning disaster recovery into a subtle outage

Monitive Disaster RecoveryA few weeks ago one of our main servers had a major hard-drive failure. Although it was in a RAID array, things didn’t went so smooth and the server started stalling for minutes every now and then. For us, providing a high-quality Software-as-a-Service means “it’s always available”, because customers depend on us to alert them when their websites and services are in trouble. If Monitive goes down, it’s “DEFCON 1” for us, as outages are not being logged or reported. This doesn’t happen very often, and you’ll see below why. Continue reading

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Welcome on the team, Ciprian!

Ciprian IrimiesCiprian Irimies is the emissary of creativity, and we’re proud to have him on our team.

And he’s up to something: an awesome rebranding of our whole visuals, a new identity that better reflects what we’re all about and what have we set out to do in this world. It’s all about that “Design has to support the core message” and not the other way around.

Ciprian is our expert when it comes to visual, aesthetics, usability, brilliant ideas and overall visuall goodness on site and around it. He’s that guy that always delivers more that you’ve been expecting, always exceeding your expectations. Armed with Photoshop, Illustrator and a great artistic sense of expression, he’s all about that feeling of “that’s perfect” when you look at what came out. I love the fact that he researches before any project, adapts and explains why did he did what he did.

Check out his profile on Behance or oDesk. Or just give him a call at +40725144053.

 

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Just Launched: Complete & Truly Useful Uptime Monitoring Reports

Uptime Monitoring Report

Monitive is all about knowledge. Because the whole purpose of monitoring is to improve the subject being monitored. In this case, service uptime. And because the ultimate outcome of any monitoring is a report, we’ve rebuilt the whole reporting system from the ground up. We’ve made it flexible, we’ve made it complete and concise. Just the facts. If you noticed the new Reports menu, you might already be familiar with the new reports. Continue reading

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The Truly Awesome Uptime Monitoring Mobile App

Truly awesome products and services come by when they don’t just fulfill  some purpose that their creator sought after, but after they prove their usefulness, several times. It’s all about that moment when you wish you had something or could do something. Easily.

Here’s a page from that story. The Monitive mobile app. It’s that moment when you get a disturbing notification that your site is down, when you wish you could check what really happened today with your site. But you’re in a bus. Or at some friends. Or drinking a beer with your father-in-law, and you can’t quite enjoy it until you figured it out.

Introducing: The Monitive Mobile App

This is where you should use the Monitive mobile app. Just install it, log in and presto: every time you wish to check up on something, it’s there. Recent incidents, checks, stats and everything else is just two-three taps away.

Continue reading

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Custom alerts via our HTTP POST alert API

AlarmWant to start a siren or open a door when your main website goes down? No problem, Monitive allows you to add HTTP POST contacts that are automatically called whenever an outage occurs. Along with the usual SMS / email / Twitter DM or not. This is useful for a number of ways:

  • set up an integration with your Campfire platform (check out the simple and powerful Monitive-Campfire wrapper by Ariel Spiegel at SDG);
  • set up automatic fail-over by calling a script that updates DNS information, starts up a new server instance or whatever works for you;
  • open a support ticket in your internal ticketing system;
  • restart a faulty service, such as Apache, LightHTTPd or NFS mounts;
  • set up your own SMS messaging script;
  • even reboot the server, if you feel that’s appropriate.

Whatever implementation you go with, rest assured that the reliability of the HTTP POST alert is as good as the email, Twitter, or SMS message, but without any extra 3rd party platforms involved. We’ll directly call whatever script you have there.

To get as much information as possible to your script, the HTTP POST alert send along the following information:

  • Monitor name – so you can distinguish between all your monitored services;
  • Monitor type – such as HTTP, FTP, SMTP; use this to create templates that handle generic FTP failure for example, or just include this in your message, or whatever you need;
  • Date and time of the event – this is on your timezone, exactly when we declared the service unavailable or restored; the date and time is in MySQL format (YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS) so it’s something like 2013-06-14 07:17:32;
  • Action – here you’ll get either ‘UP’ or ‘DOWN’, depending on what just happened;
  • Diagnosis URL – here’s the outage diagnosis URL, even before the diagnosis are available (because diagnosis kick in a minute later than the outage start moment); use it to include in your ticketing system, chat, log or anything else;

Think about the API alert as something that can be done that doesn’t necessarily require your intervention. May be you’re having some quality time with your loved ones, hiking in your favourite forest up the mountain and something happens with your websites/servers. Use the API to have that first aid thing that can be automatically done when the problem occurs.

Learn more about the HTTP POST alert API in our knowledge base post about uptime monitoring HTTP POST alert. If you have developed a useful integration and want to share, just let us know. All wrappers and integrations will soon land on a “works with” page that we’re working on.

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Latency Monitoring Augmented With Hourly Breakdown, TCP State and Country Breakdown

Sample Latency Monitoring TCP State BreakdownIn the last couple of weeks, we’ve revamped the whole latency information displayed, and made it more useful, by adding:

  1. Hourly breakdown – select an interval of 7 days maximum and get an hourly chart to easily spot problems or weird patterns.
  2. TCP state breakdown – see check state timing information, such as DNS resolve time, time to first byte, or how much does it take the email server to answer the EHLO command.
  3. Country breakdown – it’s down-straight normal to get different response times from different locations around the world. Now Monitive shows you how your service responds from different countries. Continue reading
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Update: new SMS gateway, better messaging

SMS Alerts - Uptime MonitoringReliability being our main focus, we contracted a new SMS sender called AMD Telecom. These guys take SMS delivery serious and even got offended when I asked if they take deliverability seriously. AMD Telecom connects and offers business intelligence to the Mobile Network Operators and large enterprises worldwide. Very proffessional people, great service, so now all SMS alerts are being dispatched by AMD Telecom.

Another update is the extra information in the SMS and Twitter alert. Everytime I get an alert on my phone stating that X website is down, I start wondering: “is there an error on the site? or is the server under load? or a networking problem?”. This happened because I didn’t get the symptoms of the outage in the message. Also, when I look at my phone, I have to look up when did I got the message, and to rember what was my alert sentivity for that particular monitor, so I can tell when did it actually went down.

No more. From now on, you get the date and time when the site/service when down and the reason why we called it down. Toghether with the platform updates that we’ve launched weeks ago, you will get notified right on your mobile within seconds when a problem occurs.

And since reliability all comes down to the reliability to the services that our system uses, we still have SMSpm and BulkSMS as backup senders, so that if AMD Telecom is down, we’ll still make sure SMS alerts are safely on their way to your phones.

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Welcome aboard, Janice!

Screen Shot 2013-02-01 at 7.49.01 PMMonitive’s team just got bigger! Starting this week, Janice is our Marketing Specialist, so her job is to make sure that lots and lots of site owners and system engineers hear about our great service. And considering that there are roughly 200 million active websites in the world, this will not be a boring task to acomplish.

She will also handle most of our Social Media outreach, so be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to read about interesting news in the IT industry.

Janice will focus on building traffic, SEO, content publishing, Social Media and she’ll also write neat stuff on our company blog.

We’re always happy when our team grows, as this is a clear sign of prosperity and a confirmation what we’re going in the right direction.

Welcome Janice, we’re confident that you will do a great job!

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Give your team members access

Service uptime is usually a topic concerning more than just one team member. Yes, it’s Christmas eve, but starting today you can add as many users you’d like to your account, with read-only access or read-write to specific monitors that you choose.

Monitive extra users list

They will then be able to login and view all the information in the Monitive account, but they will not have access to subscription information, to change account information, delete or add alerts.

You can even choose to give them updating access to specific monitors in your account. Just head out to the Users option in the Account menu. For more information check out the  Monitive users article, in our knowledge-base.

Merry Christmas!

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SSL Certificate Expiration Monitoring

Monitive is all about its users, so here we are. We listened and we rolled out our new feature: SSL Certificate Expiration Monitoring. Now, for all the HTTPS sites you’re monitoring for uptime, we’re also checking for certificate expiration.

Because there’s no worst news for a customer or visitor than to get the scary “Connection Untrusted” message when accessing your services.

ssl-expiration

This is why Monitive will let you know that your SSL certificate is about to expire, starting at five days before the expiration date. What we do is access the website just like a regular visitor, every day, just to make sure that it’s not due to expire.

If it’s in danger of expiration, we’ll send you an email. And we’ll mail you every day, until you update it with a fresh certificate, or it expires. So you can expect five emails from us before your reputation starts to suffer.

We use this ourselves to check the certificate on https://admin.monitive.com so that we don’t get any surprises.

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