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New Feature : Advanced Email Reporting

Today we have released our new reporting tool which can be used to send out automated email reports for Uptime, SSL, Domain and Virus type tests.

If you want to get stuck in right away, the new email reporting functions can be found within the User Details section of the StatusCake app. Here you can manage reports that you have created previously, and add new ones.

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All reports can be automated to go out at the time of your choice on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Each report can contain it’s own sub-set of email contacts making it easy to ensure that the right data is going to the right people.

With this new functionality it’s possible for the first time to create a report combining the details of your Uptime, Domain, SSL and Virus scan tests in the same report making it much easier to see trends over the different methods of testing.

Within the report the Uptime type tests will have data on the percentage of downtime experienced during the reported period, as well as average load time. For Domains and SSL you will be able to view any upcoming expiry dates that need your attention, and for the Virus Scan you will see a summary of any threats that have been detected since the last report.

For anyone who set up automated reports with our previous reporting function – rest assured that these reports will still be sent as normal, the settings for these can still be modified at any time within the User Details section of the app.

 

 

 

Performance and Availability of UK Government Websites in 2018

Over the period of 1st June – 30th June 2018, StatusCake.com tested 2653 .gov.uk domains for website availability and load-time. To establish performance benchmarks, we referred to the StatusCake Uptime and Downtime Cheat Sheet, which converts uptime percentages into monthly and yearly downtime in days, hours and minutes.

In the period tested, the average uptime of the domains was 97.12%, which equates to over 20 hours of average downtime per month, and over ten days downtime over the course of the year! This also falls short of the recognised standard of 99.90% minimum average uptime.

In terms of load time, the average performance was a respectable 0.97 seconds, with Sandown Council experiencing the slowest load time of 9.76 seconds, and Stirling Council enjoying the fastest load time of 0.01 seconds.

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Fortnite, AWS, and the Importance of Monitoring

The Battle Royale game Fortnite has become a sensation amongst online gamers in no time at all. To explain it in simple terms, 100 players are simultaneously dropped into a battleground measuring several (in-game) square kilometres, and must proceed alone or as part of a team towards a random central point on the map whilst avoiding or confronting the other players. The last man or team standing takes the top spot and wins the game. It all adds up to an intense and at times hilarious experience that can last around 1-20 minutes.

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The growth in popularity of the game has been epic from a 60,000 players on launch last July, to 3,200,000 players in under nine months, and suddenly keeping the game up-and-running was going to require some pretty serious infrastructure.

From day one Epic, the publisher behind Fortnite, has like so many other large businesses such as Airbnb, Unilver, and Netflix relied on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to keep it online.
AWS gives Epic the ability to cope when player numbers spike; the difference in infrastructure workload might be up to ten times difference between the peaks and troughs.

Epic also takes advantage of AWS’s “availability zones”. These 55 zones are designed to ensure web services don’t lag in any one zone. Where one zone fails another simply takes up the baton. Fortnite currently runs across 24 of these zones.

This isn’t to say that AWS and the use of availability zones are infallible. In February of this year Fortnite experienced multiple outages which even AWS’s availability zoning couldn’t prevent.

It’s also worth remembering that whilst many companies such as Epic rely on AWS for its reliability and stability it’s worth remembering that Amazon itself can still have problems.

Just last month on Amazon’s Prime Day the rush for bargains not only brought Amazon down but impacted AWS. Whilst the AWS service itself continued to operate normally, AWS customers were unable to login to their accounts.

More serious however was the four hour outage in AWS’ US-East-1 region in February this year which saw over half of the top 100 internet retailers impacted. Many websites saw the performance of their sites impacted severely (Disney’s store took over 1000% longer to load than normal), many other sites went down completely; the same availability zone having similar issues again in May.

All of this highlights that even if you’re using cloud service provider such as AWS or Google Cloud that monitoring your website is as important as ever.

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Use Case: Using Maintenance Windows to Set Up Alert Schedules

For many of our users reacting to downtime data sent from a monitoring system such as StatusCake.com is a 24 hour job, and the process incorporates many staff who will have varying responsibilities, and sometimes work quite different hours.  This is particularly true of companies who run “follow-the-sun” with their global dev-ops teams picking up the baton from the last as their time zone starts its working day.

For this reason it can be very useful to have a method for splitting out which team alerts go to at different times.  Today we’ll take you through a method for using our Maintenance Windows feature in this way.

For example let’s first use a scenario where you have two separate teams:

  • Team A works a 12 hour shift from Midday until Midnight; and
  • Team B takes over from Midnight to Midday.

We want each team to only be alerted of downtime during their working hours.

To achieve this you would set-up two tests in StatusCake; each test would be identical to the other, for instance in relation to interval check rate, confirmation servers and so on, however there would be two differences.

  • Test 1 – The Contact Group would be set-up for Team A members and a Maintenance Window for Midnight to Midday set-up.
  • Test 2 – The Contact Group would be set-up for Team B members and a Maintenance Window for Midday until Midnight set-up.

This ensures that when the site goes down it will only alert the team on call.  You can of course add as many teams to this following the same set-up process – e.g. for three teams add a third test and set the Contact Group and Maintenance Window according.

Once you’ve everything up you will have an on call schedule as shown in the diagram below:

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We already have this use-case working for quite a few of our customers who don’t want to use additional third party integrations to handle alert scheduling.  If you have any questions about this use-case, or indeed have any great use-cases of your own that you’d like to share with us then please let us know.

 

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Feature Update: New Reporting Capabilities

Today we’ve introduced an overhaul of our reporting tool which will make it much easier to get the exact data you want sent out to the people who need to see it.

Previously it was only possible to send an automatic report for all uptime tests in your StatusCake account. A big change that’s been brought in by our update is that you can now select a specific group of tests to be reported on; this means that you’ll no longer need to worry about clients or staff seeing tests that aren’t relevant to them within the reports that are sent.

As you could now need to configure more than one report, a new tab  has been added within User Details section under “Email Reporting”

From here you can manage existing reports, and configure new ones:

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At current only uptime type tests are supported within these new reports, however we will be working to include other test types in the coming weeks, meaning that combined reports for test types will soon be a reality!

To get started with our new reporting right away simply visit our Reporting Section within User Details , and if there are any questions on the new functionalities just let us know!