ConnectWise Uses AWS X-Ray to Monitor and Debug Applications, Improving Customer Experience
Based in Tampa, Florida, ConnectWise provides a business automation platform for IT services companies across the globe. The platform helps customers manage their help desk, customer service, sales and marketing, business analysis, and other key business functions.
As soon as we see there’s an issue, we can find the root cause right away using AWS X-Ray. We can help our customers resolve application performance problems faster.”
Director of Cloud Services, Platform, ConnectWise
Lacking Visibility into a Critical Application
More than 75,000 people use ConnectWise software every day to manage help desk, customer service, sales and marketing, and other critical business functions. Because these users rely on the ConnectWise web-based business-management platform to help their IT services organizations run efficiently, it is essential that ConnectWise responds quickly to any reported problems.
Unfortunately, ConnectWise had challenges when it came to troubleshooting application issues promptly. “We didn’t have the visibility we needed into what was causing issues like application latency,” says Kiet Nguyen, director of cloud services for platform, at ConnectWise. Using its previous debugging solution, ConnectWise needed to view multiple logs and monitoring systems to determine the root cause of application performance issues. “A process that should have taken a few minutes often took up to several hours,” Nguyen says. “As a result, our customers were experiencing latency—and even five seconds of latency means they are waiting for pages to load, and they can’t serve their own customers effectively. We needed to diagnose and resolve problems before our customers were impacted.”
Debugging Microservices Using AWS X-Ray
After trying a monitoring solution that failed to improve troubleshooting, ConnectWise decided to explore Amazon Web Services (AWS) monitoring solutions. The company had already migrated to AWS and had started collecting service logs to gain updated operational statistics. It was interested in implementing AWS X-Ray, a service that helps developers debug and analyze their microservices applications through request tracing. “We are moving toward a distributed architecture with more cloud services, and we knew AWS X-Ray would be a good fit for us,” says Mena Joseph, the company’s director of application services.
Using AWS X-Ray, ConnectWise has a complete view of requests as they move through the application, and the company can better identify and troubleshoot the underlying cause of performance issues and errors. ConnectWise uses AWS X-Ray to debug and monitor its primary .NET-based application, as well as other Java- and Python-based applications.
Relying on Amazon CloudWatch to Monitor Infrastructure
ConnectWise is also improving troubleshooting by using Amazon CloudWatch to monitor its application infrastructure. In addition to running serverless applications using AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS), the company relies on Amazon CloudWatch for monitoring containers, latency, web server requests, and incoming load-balancer requests. Specifically, ConnectWise uses a CloudWatch dashboard to monitor latency and container infrastructure performance, and CloudWatch alarms to send out notifications if system latency is increasing. “Our system administrators receive email notifications from CloudWatch if certain latency thresholds are crossed, so we can be more proactive about the issue and stop it from becoming a problem,” says Joseph.
ConnectWise takes advantage of CloudWatch and AWS X-Ray for complete application and infrastructure visibility. For example, the company can look up AWS X-Ray trace IDs in CloudWatch logs to access details about trace requests for specific application logs. Joseph says, “By integrating Amazon CloudWatch and AWS X-Ray, we’ve connected all the dots so we have better visibility into the full picture of what’s going on in the environment.”
Gaining Deeper Visibility into Application Performance
ConnectWise now has better insight into the cause of application performance issues and the health of infrastructure resources. “For us, AWS X-Ray was the first tool we used that showed us exactly where the bottlenecks were across our entire architecture,” says Nguyen. In addition, the solution has proven to be cost-effective for ConnectWise. “We got up and running fast on AWS X-Ray, with very low overhead,” states Nguyen. “The service costs us only one-fourth of what we were paying for our previous monitoring solution.”
Identifying Problems in Minutes, Not Hours
ConnectWise can now diagnose application performance issues faster than before. “It takes us less than five minutes to identify and fix an application problem, where it took several hours previously,” remarks Nguyen. “As soon as we see there’s an issue, we can find the root cause right away using AWS X-Ray. We can help our customers resolve application performance problems faster, which means they’re not dealing with latency or downtime, and they can avoid any challenges serving their customers. Overall, we are more proactive about our application’s performance, and we can optimize our architecture as needed. AWS X-Ray and Amazon CloudWatch give us the ability to stay ahead of issues and give our customers the best possible experience.”
Based in Tampa, Florida, ConnectWise provides a business automation platform for IT services companies across the globe.
Benefits of AWS
- Gets deeper visibility into the root cause of application issues
- Identifies bottlenecks and performance problems in 5 minutes instead of 2 hours
- Gains a cost-effective monitoring solution
- Enhances customer experience by improving application performance
AWS Services Used
Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring and observability service built for DevOps engineers, developers, site reliability engineers (SREs), and IT managers.
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Amazon API Gateway
Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale.
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AWS Lambda lets you run code without provisioning or managing servers. You pay only for the compute time you consume - there is no charge when your code is not running.
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AWS X-Ray helps developers analyze and debug production, distributed applications, such as those built using a microservices architecture.
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