“testRTC enables us to monitor meeting performance from start to finish, with a focus on media quality. We get the best of everything with this platform.”
As 2019 came to a close, I had a chance to sit and chat with Ryan Cartmell, Director of Production System Administration at Intermedia®. Ryan manages a team responsible for monitoring and maintaining the production environment of Intermedia. His top priority is maintaining uptime and availability of Intermedia’s services.
In 2017, Intermedia acquired AnyMeeting®, a web conferencing platform based on WebRTC. Since then, Ryan and his team have been working towards building up the tools and experience needed to give them visibility into media quality and meeting performance.
Initially, these tools took care of two levels of monitoring:
- System resource performance monitoring was done by collecting and looking at server metrics
- Application level monitoring was incorporated by collecting certain application specific metrics, aggregating them in an in-house monitoring platform as well as using a cloud APM vendor
This approach gave a decent view of the service and its performance, but it has its limits.
What you don’t know you don’t know
The way such monitoring systems work is by collecting metrics, data and logs from the various components in the system as well as the running applications. Once you have that data, you can configure alerts and dashboard based on what you know you are looking for.
If an issue was found in the AnyMeeting service, Ryan’s team would try to understand how the issue can be deduced from the logs and available information, creating new alerts based on that input. Doing so would ensure that the next time the same issue occurred, it would be caught and dealt with properly.
The challenge here is that you don’t know what you don’t know. You first need a problem to occur and someone to complain in order to figure out a rule to alert for it happening again. And you can never really reach complete coverage over potential failures.
This kept the Intermedia Operations team in a reactive position. What they wanted and needed was a way to proactively run and test the system to catch any issues in their environment.
Proactively handling WebRTC issues using testRTC
Get ahead of issues and not wait for customers to report issues.
“With testRTC we are now able to get ahead of issues and not wait for customers to report issues.”
testRTC is an active monitoring test engine that allows Intermedia to proactively test services. This enabled Intermedia to become aware of their performance as well as in the total service availability of the AnyMeeting platform.
Intermedia deployed multiple testRTC monitors, making sure its data centers are probed multiple times an hour. The monitors are active checks that create real web conferences on AnyMeeting, validating that a session works as expected from start to finish. From logging in, through communicating via voice and video to screen sharing. If things go awry or expected media threshold aren’t met, alerts are issued, and Ryan’s team can investigate.
A screenshot from one of the testRTC monitors for the AnyMeeting service
These new testRTC monitors mapped and validated the complete user experience of the AnyMeeting service, something that wasn’t directly monitored before.
Since its implementation, testRTC has helped Intermedia identify various issues in the AnyMeeting system – valuable information that Intermedia, as a market leader in unified communications, uses in its efforts to continually improve the performance and quality of its services.
The data that testRTC collects, including the screenshots it takes, make it a lot easier to track down issues. Before testRTC, using performance metrics alone, it was really difficult to understand the overall impact to an end user. Now it is part of the analysis process.
Working with testRTC
Since starting to work with testRTC and installing its monitors, Intermedia has found the following advantages of working with testRTC:
- The flexibility of the testRTC platform – this enables Intermedia to test all elements of the web platform service it offers
- Top tier support – testRTC team was there to assist with any issues and questions Intermedia had
- Level of expertise – the ability of testRTC to help Intermedia work through issues that testRTC exposes
For Ryan, testRTC gives a level of comfort knowing that tests are regularly being performed. And, if a technical challenge does arise, the data available from testRTC will enable Ryan and his team to triage the issue a lot easier than they used to.
Intermedia and AnyMeeting are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intermedia.net, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries.