Most of the enterprise services today run over the Web or HTTP/S layer. Businesses are transforming to Web at even more rapid pace given that every enterprise wants to move to Cloud based model for their services. Internal or external all kind of products and services are offered through Web so that customers or employees have connectivity at any given point through their hand-held devices. This is all great and works perfectly fine as far as everything is going smooth. While more and more services and applications got introduced, we essentially lost the track of visibility and day by day it became even more challenging to provide end to end visibility of what is happening around Applications and Users. We process huge amount of information in different forms and what we need is deep visibility into what got processed, who accessed, what changed, what is new, what got dropped, how does it impact the business and finally what was the end user experience in this whole process.

The visibility challenges grow as the complexity of applications and deployments grow. Big enterprises run with hundreds of applications for daily routine job and there is no single consolidated way to get all the visibility information. Various tools and techniques are used to get visibility information but they are complex and expensive too. Thus we have no good solution which can do the entire job cleanly and in consolidated way!!

Now if you approach the same problem and its solution from a different angle then it looks something which can be handled. Most of the enterprise Apps has a common requirement of being load balanced today and thus ADCs like NetScaler become the central node from where all App centric information travels. AppFlow as a new standard and framework was introduced for defining and extracting visibility information for the traffic flowing through NetScaler. Immaterial of what kind of Application it is and what kind of encryption it uses, as far as NetScaler is in the path doing load balancing and SSL offload, we can get visibility information for it. This is where Insight Center the core visibility solution from Citrix launches the Web Insight component.

Launching Web Insight as complete Application Visibility solution

 

Web Insight is the product introduced to fill the gap and complete the value chain of visibility needs for anything passing over Web (HTTP/S) layer. This component works by collecting the AppFlow records for Web traffic, analyzes them and produces efficient analytical reports for end user consumption. Web Insight provides all dimensions of visibility information for your Applications through a central Dashboard where you can connect the flow, starting from end clients to backend Application servers.

When we speak to end users and customers it is amazing to see that the use cases resolved with Web Insight go beyond Visibility. Most of the time, you bother about visibility when it comes to troubleshooting an issue. Any Application owner or administrator gets several troubleshooting tasks in a day where users complain about various issues from access slowness to application response time etc. Web Insight helps correlate the visibility facts to user pain points thus is extremely useful in various troubleshooting exercises. Hence the use cases for this product cover broader spectrum.

Some of the key use cases are:

Overview of the Infrastructure:

  • How many active Apps I have
  • Top Apps by number of hits
  • Top Apps by bandwidth utilization
  • How are these Apps distributed across multiple ADCs

 

Application specific visibility:

  • How is the Application performing
  • Response time calculation for the App
    • Client latency
    • Server latency
    • Server processing time
    • Top URLs accessed within an App

 

URL specific visibility:

  • Top URLs by number of Hits
  • Top URLs by bandwidth utilization
  • Page load time measurement
  • Page render time measurement
  • Get URL visibility across Apps/Devices
  • Waterfall analysis per URL or Page

 

Client and Server specific visibility:

  • Top Client/Server by number of requests
  • Top Client/Server by bandwidth utilization
  • Top Client/Server by response time measurement
  • Distribution of Client form factor and Operating system

 

Traffic visibility:

  • Distribution of various request methods
  • Distribution of various response codes
  • Specific URLs resulting into specific return codes

 

Troubleshooting view:

  • Why is my App slow
  • Is there any issue with WAN link
  • Is my Server overloaded and running slower
  • Who are the various Clients connecting to an App
  • Can I see which all Apps a particular Client accessed
  • Which client’s requests are resulting in 401 response
  • Which Server is responding with most number of 500 error
  • Which URLs are resulting in most 302 redirect responses
  • Is Firefox the most commonly used browser for an App
  • Is Windows 7 the most commonly used OS for whole Device
  • Does Safari on Win 7 shows highest latency across the infrastructure

There are endless list of these use cases which can help a lot in day to day processing of information and traffic flow. Another key aspect is that this data is available in historical format with different levels of aggregation points and one can always go back to dig deeper. Isn’t it exciting? 🙂

Web Insight is going to set whole new standards for the Visibility requirements and use cases. Stay tuned for further blogs on exciting features and capabilities…