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Manual Chapter: Setting Up Application Statistics Collection
Manual Chapter
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What is Analytics?

Analytics (also called Application Visibility and Reporting) is a module on the BIG-IP® system that you can use to analyze the performance of web applications. It provides detailed metrics such as transactions per second, server and client latency, request and response throughput, and sessions. You can view metrics for applications, virtual servers, pool members, URLs, specific countries, and additional detailed statistics about application traffic running through the BIG-IP system.

Transaction counters for response codes, user agents, HTTP methods, countries, and IP addresses provide statistical analysis of the traffic that is going through the system. You can capture traffic for examination and have the system send alerts so you can troubleshoot problems and immediately react to sudden changes.

The Analytics module also provides remote logging capabilities so that your company can consolidate statistics gathered from multiple BIG-IP appliances onto syslog servers or SIEM devices, such as Splunk.

About Analytics profiles

An Analytics profile is a set of definitions that determines the circumstances under which the system gathers, logs, notifies, and graphically displays information regarding traffic to an application. The Analytics module requires that you select an Analytics profile for each application you want to monitor. You associate the Analytics profile with one or more virtual servers used by the application, or with an iApps® application service. Each virtual server can have only one Analytics profile associated with it.

In the Analytics profile, you customize:

  • What statistics to collect
  • Where to collect data (locally, remotely, or both)
  • Whether to capture the traffic itself
  • Whether to send notifications

The BIG-IP® system includes a default Analytics profile called analytics. It is a minimal profile that internally logs application statistics for server latency, throughput, response codes, and methods. You can modify the default profile, or create custom Analytics profiles for each application if you want to track different data for each one.

Charts shown on the Statistics > Analytics > HTTP screens display the application data saved for all Analytics profiles associated with iApps application services or virtual servers on the system. You can filter the information, for example, by application or URL. You can also drill down into the specifics on the charts, and use the options to further refine the information in the charts.

Overview: Setting up application statistics collection

This implementation describes how to set up the BIG-IP® system to collect application performance statistics. The system can collect application statistics locally, remotely, or both. You use these statistics for troubleshooting and improving application performance.

You can collect application statistics for one or more virtual servers or for an iApps® application service. If virtual servers are already configured, you can specify them when setting up statistics collection. If you want to collect statistics for an iApps application service, you should first set up statistics collection, creating an Analytics profile, and then create the application service.

The system can send alerts regarding the statistics when thresholds are exceeded, and when they cross back into the normal range. You can customize the threshold values for transactions per second, latency, page load time, and throughput.

Task Summary

Setting up local application statistics collection

You need to provision the Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR) module before you can set up local application statistics collection. If your browser is Internet Explorer (IE) 8 or earlier, you must have Adobe® Flash® Player installed to view the charts.
You can configure the BIG-IP® system to collect specific application statistics locally.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Analytics.
    Tip: If Analytics is not listed, this indicates that Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR) is not provisioned, or you do not have rights to create profiles.
    The Analytics screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New Analytics profile screen opens.
  3. In the Profile Name field, type a unique name for the Analytics profile.
  4. Select the Custom check box.
  5. For the Statistics Logging Type setting, verify that Internal is selected. If it is not, select it. Selecting Internal causes the system to store statistics locally, and you can view the charts on the system by clicking Statistics > Analytics > HTTP.
  6. You can use the default values for the rest of the General Configuration settings.
  7. In the Included Objects area, specify the virtual servers for which to capture application statistics:
    1. For the Virtual Servers setting, click Add.
    2. From the Select Virtual Server list that displays, select the virtual servers to include and then click Done.
    Note: Only virtual servers previously configured with an HTTP profile display in the list. Also, you can assign only one Analytics profile to a virtual server; therefore, the list displays only virtual servers that have not been assigned an Analytics profile.
    Special considerations apply if using Analytics on a BIG-IP system with both Application Security Manager™ and Access Policy Manager®, where security settings (in Portal Access webtop or an iRule) redirect traffic from one virtual server to another. In this case, you need to attach the Analytics profile to the second virtual server to ensure that the charts show accurate statistics.
  8. Select the Custom check box.
  9. In the Statistics Gathering Configuration area, for Collected Metrics, select the statistics you want the system to collect:
    Option Description
    Max TPS and Throughput Collects statistics showing the maximum number of transactions occurring per second and the amount of traffic moving through the system.
    Page Load Time Tracks how long it takes an application user to get a complete response from the application, including network latency and completed page processing.
    Note: End-user response times and latencies can vary significantly based on geography and connection types.
    User Sessions Stores the number of unique user sessions. For Timeout, type the number of minutes of user non-activity to allow before the system considers the session to be over.

    For Cookie Secure Attribute, specify whether to secure session cookies. Options are Always, the secure attribute is always added to the session cookie; Never, the secure attribute is never added to the session cookie; or Only SSL, the secure attribute is added to the session cookie only when the virtual server has a client SSL profile (the default).

  10. In the Statistics Gathering Configuration area, for Collected Entities, select the entities for which you want the system to collect statistics:
    Option Description
    URLs Collects the requested URLs.
    Countries Saves the name of the country where the request came from, and is based on the client IP address criteria.
    Client IP Addresses Saves the IP address where the request originated. The address saved also depends on whether the request has an XFF (X-forwarded-for) header and whether Trust XFF is selected.
    Response Codes Saves HTTP response codes that the server returned to requesters (selected by default).
    User Agents Saves information about browsers used when making the request.
    Methods Saves HTTP methods in requests (selected by default).
  11. Click Finished.
The BIG-IP system collects the statistics specified in the Analytics profile. You can view the statistics by clicking Statistics > Analytics.

Setting up remote application statistics collection

You need to provision the Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR) module before you can set up local application statistics collection. To specify where the BIG-IP® system sends log messages, you must have set up logging and created a publisher.
You can configure the BIG-IP system to collect application statistics remotely on Syslog servers or SIEM devices, such as Splunk.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Analytics.
    Tip: If Analytics is not listed, this indicates that Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR) is not provisioned, or you do not have rights to create profiles.
    The Analytics screen opens.
  2. Click Create. The New Analytics profile screen opens.
  3. In the Profile Name field, type a unique name for the Analytics profile.
  4. Select the Custom check box.
  5. For the Statistics Logging Type setting, select the External check box. The Publisher setting displays, below the Traffic Capturing Logging Type setting.
  6. For the Traffic Capturing Logging Type setting, specify whether the system captures traffic locally, or on a remote server.
    Option Description
    Internal Specifies that the system captures a portion of traffic locally. You can view the captured data on the System > Logs > Captured Transactions screen.
    External Specifies that the system captures a portion of traffic on a remote server.
    When you select the traffic capturing logging type, the screen displays the Capture Filter area, where you can indicate exactly what information to sample and log.
  7. From the Publisher list, select the publisher that includes the destination to which you want to send log messages.
    Tip: Refer to External Monitoring of BIG-IP® Systems: Implementations for details.
  8. If you want the system to send email notifications, review the SMTP Configuration field to ensure that a configuration is specified and not the value None. You can configure SMTP only in the default Analytics profile. If it is not configured, you need to click the analytics link where you can select an existing SMTP configuration or create a new one.
  9. For the Notification Type setting, select how you want the system to send alerts and notifications.
    Option Description
    Syslog Select Syslog if you want the system to send notification and alert messages to the local log system. You can view the messages on the System > Logs > Local Traffic screen.
    SNMP Select SNMP if you want the system to send notification and alert messages as SNMP traps. You can create the trap by clicking Configuration can be found here (System > SNMP > Traps > Destination). Enabling SNMP automatically enables Syslog notifications, too.
    E-mail Select E-mail if you want the system to send notification and alert messages to email addresses. Type each email address in the Notification E-Mails field, and click Add to create the list. This option requires that the parent analytics profile include an SMTP configuration.
    When you select a notification type, the screen displays the Alerts and Notifications Configuration area, where you can indicate the criteria for alerts and notifications.
  10. In the Included Objects area, specify the virtual servers for which to capture application statistics:
    1. For the Virtual Servers setting, click Add.
    2. From the Select Virtual Server list that displays, select the virtual servers to include and then click Done.
    Note: Only virtual servers previously configured with an HTTP profile display in the list. Also, you can assign only one Analytics profile to a virtual server; therefore, the list displays only virtual servers that have not been assigned an Analytics profile.
    Special considerations apply if using Analytics on a BIG-IP system with both Application Security Manager™ and Access Policy Manager®, where security settings (in Portal Access webtop or an iRule) redirect traffic from one virtual server to another. In this case, you need to attach the Analytics profile to the second virtual server to ensure that the charts show accurate statistics.
  11. In the Statistics Gathering Configuration area, for Collected Metrics, select the statistics you want the system to collect:
    Option Description
    Max TPS and Throughput Collects statistics showing the maximum number of transactions occurring per second and the amount of traffic moving through the system.
    Page Load Time Tracks how long it takes an application user to get a complete response from the application, including network latency and completed page processing.
    Note: End-user response times and latencies can vary significantly based on geography and connection types.
    User Sessions Stores the number of unique user sessions. For Timeout, type the number of minutes of user non-activity to allow before the system considers the session to be over.

    For Cookie Secure Attribute, specify whether to secure session cookies. Options are Always, the secure attribute is always added to the session cookie; Never, the secure attribute is never added to the session cookie; or Only SSL, the secure attribute is added to the session cookie only when the virtual server has a client SSL profile (the default).

  12. In the Statistics Gathering Configuration area, for Collected Entities, select the entities for which you want the system to collect statistics:
    Option Description
    URLs Collects the requested URLs.
    Countries Saves the name of the country where the request came from, and is based on the client IP address criteria.
    Client IP Addresses Saves the IP address where the request originated. The address saved also depends on whether the request has an XFF (X-forwarded-for) header and whether Trust XFF is selected.
    Response Codes Saves HTTP response codes that the server returned to requesters (selected by default).
    User Agents Saves information about browsers used when making the request.
    Methods Saves HTTP methods in requests (selected by default).
  13. If one of the Traffic Capturing Logging Type check boxes is selected, in the Capture Filter area, adjust the settings to specify criteria to determine what application traffic to capture.
    Tip: You can use the captured information for troubleshooting purposes.
  14. Click Finished.
The BIG-IP system collects statistics regarding application traffic described by the Analytics profile and stores the statistics on a separate remote management system, where you can view the information.

Configuring application performance alerts

Before you can configure the system to send alerts concerning statistics, you need to have created an Analytics profile to collect application statistics locally (Statistics Logging Type must have Internal selected). To set up email alerts, the default analytics profile must specify an SMTP configuration.
You can configure the BIG-IP® system to send alerts concerning local application statistics based on threshold values that you set. The system sends notifications when threshold values are breached, and when they return to normal. Therefore, it is a good idea to get familiar with the typical statistics for the web application before attempting to set up alerts and notifications. When you understand the typical values, you can configure the system to alert you of limiting system situations, such as system overload.
Note: End user response times and latencies can vary significantly based on geography and connection types, which makes it difficult to set an accurate alerting threshold for page load times.
  1. On the Main tab, click Local Traffic > Profiles > Analytics.
    Tip: If Analytics is not listed, you need to provision Application Visibility and Reporting (AVR) first.
    The Profiles: Analytics screen opens.
  2. Click the name of a previously created Analytics profile, or create a new one.
  3. Select the Custom check box.
  4. For the Statistics Logging Type setting, verify that Internal is selected. If it is not, select it. Selecting Internal causes the system to store statistics locally, and you can view the charts on the system by clicking Statistics > Analytics > HTTP.
  5. To send email alerts, specify an SMTP Configuration (this can only be done on the default analytics profile). If you created a new profile, configure SMTP later.
  6. For the Notification Type setting, select how you want the system to send alerts and notifications.
    Option Description
    Syslog Select Syslog if you want the system to send notification and alert messages to the local log system. You can view the messages on the System > Logs > Local Traffic screen.
    SNMP Select SNMP if you want the system to send notification and alert messages as SNMP traps. You can create the trap by clicking Configuration can be found here (System > SNMP > Traps > Destination). Enabling SNMP automatically enables Syslog notifications, too.
    E-mail Select E-mail if you want the system to send notification and alert messages to email addresses. Type each email address in the Notification E-Mails field, and click Add to create the list. This option requires that the parent analytics profile include an SMTP configuration.
    When you select a notification type, the screen displays the Alerts and Notifications Configuration area, where you can indicate the criteria for alerts and notifications.
  7. In the Alerts and Notifications Configuration area, for the Add New Rule setting, define the rules that determine when the system sends alerts. Note that you cannot add overlapping rules, for example, two rules that request an alert when average TPS is greater than 100 and greater than 50 for 200 seconds.
    1. For Alert when, select the condition under which you want to send an alert.
    2. Select below or above, type an integer that represents the threshold value, and type the number of seconds (an integer, 300 or greater,) during which the rule has to apply.
    3. Select the granularity level to which the threshold applies: traffic sent to an Application, a Virtual Server, or a Pool Member.
    4. Click Add. The rule is added to the list of Active Rules.
    Continue to add as many rules as you want to specify conditions under which you want to be alerted.
  8. Click Update.
  9. If SNMP is not configured on the BIG-IP system and you want to send SNMP traps, configure it now:
    1. In the General Configuration area, for the Notification Type setting, next to SNMP, click the link. The SNMP Traps Destination screen opens.
    2. Click Create.
    3. Configure the version, community name, destination IP address, and port.
    4. Click Finished.
  10. If you need to configure SMTP (if sending alerts by email), click the default analytics profile on the Profiles: Analytics screen.
    1. For SMTP Configuration, select a configuration.
    2. If no SMTP configurations are listed, click the here link to create one. When you are done, you need to select the configuration you created in the default analytics profile.
Based on the rules you configured and the notification type, the system sends an alert when thresholds are breached and when they cross back from the threshold.

Creating an SMTP server configuration

You specify the SMTP server configuration so that you can send emails through an SMTP server.
  1. On the Main tab, click System > Configuration > Device > SMTP.
  2. Click the Create button. The New SMTP Configuration screen opens.
  3. In the Name field, type a name for the SMTP server that you are creating.
  4. In the SMTP Server Host Name field, type the fully qualified domain name for the SMTP server host.
  5. In the SMTP Server Port Number field, type a port number. For no encryption or TLS encryption, the default is 25. For SSL encryption, the default is 465.
  6. In the Local Host Name field, type the host name used in the SMTP headers in the form of a fully qualified domain name. This host name is not the same as the BIG-IP system's host name.
  7. In the From Address field, type the email address that you want displayed as the reply-to address for the email.
  8. From the Encrypted Connection list, select the encryption level required for the SMTP server.
  9. To require that the SMTP server validates users before allowing them to send email, select the Use Authentication check box, and type the user name and password required to validate the user.
  10. Click the Finish button.
You can now configure the system to use this SMTP server to send emails.
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