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Introducing the All New Sonar: a cloud-native synthetic testing tool for any infrastructure

I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Synthetic monitoring built for hybrid cloud
Sonar tests all of your endpoints: in your public clouds, private clouds, data centers, or CDNs. This provides a comprehensive and uniform view of the overall health of your applications delivery, no matter what the status of your various infrastructure components happens to be.
Sonar’s proactive testing acts like a virtual end user, testing to see how an application, video, or large file download would be experienced by your global customers. Being able to test your app from nine locations worldwide helps ensure your data has incredibly low latency, and therefore is actually usable for your app delivery strategy.

Ultra-low latency Synthetic monitoring, refreshed up to every other second
Public cloud users are probably used to having access to some sort of synthetic app testing functionality, as a core part of the services offered by the individual cloud provider. Where many cloud services offer services that check for availability every 30 to 120 seconds, Sonar offers checks as frequently as every two seconds. Data that’s updated every few minutes really isn’t meaningful for a solution that need to make real-time, automated delivery decisions. Not to mention the question of data objectivity when source information comes from the provider of the infrastructure being monitored.

Monitoring is passive. Cedexis is insight + action.
What makes Sonar different to other synthetic testing agents is that Sonar data can be used to shape application delivery decisions in real-time. Data collected by Sonar feeds directly into the Cedexis application delivery platform, which uses fully user-configurable algorithms to route traffic to the endpoints that deliver the highest customer experience at the lowest operational cost. Owing to the frequent health checks, and the rapid calculation of optimal traffic routes, Cedexis provides the lowest-latency cloud-based application delivery service available, with automated delivery decisions being made to route around traffic congestion less than 10 seconds after problems initially arise. By contrast, most cloud services, with less frequent synthetic checks and slower decisioning engines, may be expected to take as much as two to four times as long to respond to emerging issues.

Better data means better decisions.
Delivering applications over the internet, like all interactions with complex, dynamic systems, ultimately meets success or failure based on the data you use for making decisions. In this case, decisions are the “real-time” application delivery choices your platform makes to ensure apps and video reach your customers in a way that produces a great user experience. Using real user monitoring like Radar – the world’s largest real-time user experience community – provides data you can use to make automated delivery decisions on your hybrid infrastructure. But to enable your application delivery logic to fully understand and optimize delivery for all of your customers and potential customers worldwide, you need to proactively test networks. That’s where Cedexis’ Sonar functionality comes in.

The three pillars of Application Delivery
Cedexis application delivery platform is powered by three powerful services:

  • Radar: the world’s largest community of instantaneous and actionable user experience data
  • Fusion: a powerful 3rd party data ingestion tool that makes APM, Local Load Balancer, cloud metrics, and any other dataset actionable in delivery logic
  • [NEW!]: Sonar: a massively scalable and architecture-agnostic synthetic testing tool that is immune to the latency issues of proprietary cloud tools

 

The Cedexis application delivery platform automates and optimizes the customer experience for apps, video, and static content while minimizing cloud and content delivery costs. This is done by combining billions of real user data points from over 50,000 networks, Sonar synthetic testing data, and any other dataset you use to optimize delivery based on real user data from our entire network (not just your customers).
If you haven’t created a Cedexis portal account yet, now’s the time. You can set up your global application delivery in a few minutes and see how Sonar works for yourself.   

Cedexis Solves Avoidable Outages in Real-Time

Portland, Ore. – August 15, 2017 Cedexis, the leader in crowd-optimized application and content delivery for clouds, CDNs and data centers, today announced the release of its connected Sonar service, which uses low-latency synthetic monitoring to eliminate costly and avoidable outages by ensuring consistent application delivery. Providing exceptional quality of experience (QoE) to application consumers by eliminating outages and slowdowns is at the heart of building a profitable and sustainable cloud-native service, but has proven to be an elusive goal.

Synthetic monitoring uses programmed requests of customer-designated endpoints to validate, on an ongoing basis, that those endpoints are available for use. Until now, the marketplace has offered only two substantial choices:

  • Implement disconnected synthetic monitoring, which requires manual intervention when problems arise. The time from anomaly detection to resolution can range from minutes to hours, often resulting in prolonged outages and slowdowns.
  • Implement cloud vendor-specific synthetic monitoring, which delivers automatic intervention when problems arise. The time from anomaly detection to resolution is measured in just minutes, but is generally restricted to re-routing within that vendor’s cloud infrastructure, resulting in shorter, but still meaningful, outages and slowdowns.

With the release of Sonar, there is now a third, and more effective, option:

  • Implement Sonar connected synthetic monitoring, which delivers an automatic intervention when problems arise. The time from anomaly detection to resolution is measured in just seconds, and traffic can be re-routed across and between substantially any infrastructure (from data center to hosting facility to cloud provider), resulting in the elimination of most outages and slowdowns entirely.

Sonar is able to reduce the MTTR (mean time to repair) – and thus prevent consumer-visible outages and slowdowns – automatically owing to two key characteristics:

  1. Sonar is connected to the broader Cedexis application delivery platform. As such, the data that is collected automatically flows into the Openmix global traffic manager, which is able to adjust its traffic routing decisions in just seconds.
  2. Sonar is configurable to run endpoint tests as frequently as every two seconds, providing up-to-date telemetry moving at the speed of the Internet. By contrast, cloud vendor-specific solutions often limit their testing frequency to 30 – 120 second intervals – far from sufficient to contend with rapidly-evolving global network conditions.

“Synthetic monitoring data, as a core input to traffic routing decisions, must be accurate, frequent, and rapidly integrated into algorithms,” said Josh Gray, Chief Architect at Cedexis. “However, data is only as valuable as the actions that it can automatically activate. Updating traffic routing in just seconds is the key to making outages a thing of the past and ensuring unparalleled user experience.”

The updated Sonar synthetic monitoring service enhances the industry-leading actionable intelligence that already powers the Openmix global traffic management engine. The Cedexis application delivery platform (ADP) uniquely uses three different sources of actionable data to ensure the smoothest internet traffic logistics:

  • Radar: the world’s largest community of instantaneous user experience data
  • Fusion: the powerful 3rd party data ingestion tool that makes APM, Local Load Balancer, Cloud metrics, and any other dataset actionable in delivery logic
  • Sonar: a massively scalable and architecture-agnostic synthetic testing tool that is immune to the latency issues of proprietary cloud tools

“No global traffic management platform can provide reliable, real-time traffic shaping decisions without access to accurate, actionable data,” noted Ryan Windham, Cedexis CEO. “The evolution of Sonar to provide industry-leading latency levels confirms our commitment to delivering an end to avoidable outages.”

Consolidating Amazon EC2 measurements down to each Region

When we originally set up our Cloud Benchmarks we made the decision to set up separate measurements of each Amazon Availability Zone (AZ). For example, we have a unique benchmark for all 3 AZs with in AWS EU-West:

  •  Amazon EC2 – EU West 1A
  •  Amazon EC2 – EU West 1B
  •  Amazon EC2 – EU West 1C

Our rational was that Amazon frequently has outages which impact just 1 or 2 of the AZs within a region and to detect this we’d need the unique benchmarks. Over the years we compiled enough data to prove that generally there is no difference between latency across the various AZs within a particular region and though Amazon famously has the occasional outage, we do not see any value in adding our voice to the chorus of voices who try to get marketing benefit from Amazon’s misfortune.

Response Time Across all 4 AZs in AWS US-East

Though Amazon does have outages that impact one of more Availability Zones, losing individual instances, specific to each customer is far more common and both conditions are easily detected and handled using Cedexis Sonar. So we simplified down to measuring latency using an instance with in the primary AZ of each region.

Use this to make decisions based on which region is least latent for each request. And see our Cloud Best Practices for more information.

“Pulse Live” is now “Sonar”

Sonar status screen shot

One feature used by Cedexis Openmix is a simple liveness check service that complements the availability score provided by Radar measurements. Customers use it to augment Radar availability information with a simple HTTP-based ping to a given URL. Up until today we’ve been calling this feature “Pulse Live”, but it is now named “Sonar” thanks to our ever-creative engineering team. The name is nicely descriptive of what Sonar does and complements Radar quite well.

Along with the name change we’ve made some great improvements to the feature. You can now see the current status and recent history for each of your Sonar-enabled platforms. This is particularly useful when testing Openmix application changes or to understand why a change in traffic distribution has occurred.

As always, please let us know what you think. We will continue to make improvements to Sonar in the near future.

"Pulse Live" is now "Sonar"

Sonar status screen shot

One feature used by Cedexis Openmix is a simple liveness check service that complements the availability score provided by Radar measurements. Customers use it to augment Radar availability information with a simple HTTP-based ping to a given URL. Up until today we’ve been calling this feature “Pulse Live”, but it is now named “Sonar” thanks to our ever-creative engineering team. The name is nicely descriptive of what Sonar does and complements Radar quite well.

Along with the name change we’ve made some great improvements to the feature. You can now see the current status and recent history for each of your Sonar-enabled platforms. This is particularly useful when testing Openmix application changes or to understand why a change in traffic distribution has occurred.

As always, please let us know what you think. We will continue to make improvements to Sonar in the near future.