Proactive monitoring: how VI Company rolls up its sleeves for customers

Jorrit van Giffen
Publish date

Applications not working correctly: it's a much-dreaded hassle, and at VI Company, we go out of our way to avoid it. Therefore, we want to know about any issues before they reach our customer.

This allows us to take the necessary actions, get the application back up, and inform our customer about the (brief) downtime. However, the ideal situation is for us to intervene before our application reaches the state of being unavailable. That's why we've adopted an approach we call 'proactive monitoring' – as opposed to reactive monitoring, which only allows for responding to issues. We want to spot the seeds of problems, so they won't have a chance to cause real trouble. Our motto: 'Solve an issue before it's occurred.' So, what tools do we use to achieve that goal?

From thresholds to alerts: a comprehensive monitoring system

Currently, we use various tools to track and monitor our production environment's health status. Different thresholds (or triggers) have been set to alert us when an undesired situation occurs. We'll provide an example. Suppose the response time of a customer's website grows significantly high. As we have set a limit, we will receive an alert so we can instantly check what's going on.

Besides thresholds, we have also defined different types of alerts. High-priority issues are categorized as P1 – we receive these from a robot that calls us on the phone. These are so-called showstoppers that require immediate action, even if it means our engineers should get to work in the wee hours of the morning. This is the case, for example, when a customer can no longer log into their website or when the webpage is not available. P2 alerts, on the other hand, are sent to our engineers via message (and email). The 'show' still goes on, but we need to act fairly quickly to avoid an issue in the near future. We might receive a P2 alert when a certain part of the website isn't working as it should, or when an SSL certificate is about to expire.

Instant alerts, immediate action

Our visual dashboard allows us to actively view alerts in real time. Additionally, we are notified by push messages.

All in all, we've put considerable effort into proactive monitoring. The reason why is simple: VI Company takes its customers very seriously. Quality is paramount, both to us and them!

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