PropertyRoom.com Turns to NETSCOUT to Monitor Hybrid Cloud on AWS
- Move to AWS application hosting environment to assure service delivery to rapidly expanding national customer base
- DevOps engineering detected loads on servers were higher than expected, leading to performance and security concerns
- Difficulty in pinpointing root-cause of problem
- vSTREAM™ together with virtual nGeniusONE® was deployed in the AWS infrastructure leveraging the Marketplace, combined with Amazon VPC traffic mirroring, allows easy to setup, seamless packet analysis application traffic within AWS Cloud by nGeniusONE
- Dashboard quickly revealed the cause of high loads on the servers; MSSQL database transactions were responsible for this overload
- Also detected unclassified traffic on unusual port; nGeniusONE revealed cause was a legacy application no longer in use
- Smart data helped pinpoint problem within one hour
- DevOps Engineering was able to remove the obsolete application from the image
- Reduced MTTK, lowered costs and ensured a quality end-user experience
PropertyRoom.com is an online auction marketplace that works with more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies and municipalities nationwide to help auction seized, stolen, abandoned and surplus goods.
PropertyRoom.com was created in 1999 to assist law enforcement agencies, who by statute must auction seized, found, and unclaimed personal property at public auction. Instead of conducting the auctions in a parking lot, which was the common practice, shifting to an online service was more convenient for the agencies and bidders alike. As the company has grown, it became necessary to move to a hybrid application hosting environment to assure service delivery to a rapidly expanding national customer base.
The AWS application hosting environment was selected for PropertyRoom.com’s web access, application services tier and database tier (see figure 1 in PDF). Following migration to the hybrid cloud on AWS, DevOps engineering professionals detected that loads on the company’s servers were higher than expected, leading to performance and security concerns. The challenge they faced was in pinpointing the exact root-cause of the problem.
Solution in Action
To meet its AWS monitoring needs, PropertyRoom.com selected NETSCOUT®. Virtual nGeniusONE was deployed together with vSTREAM from the AWS marketplace in Property Room’s AWS region and Availability zone. Once in place, they enabled Amazon VPC traffic mirroring, which provided mirror sessions from the key Windows Servers to be monitored, to the vSTREAM network interfaces as targets.
Following implementation of the NETSCOUT solution, the DevOps engineering team used the Discover My Network dashboard (see Figure 2 in PDF) to quickly uncover the cause of the exceptionally high loads on the servers. IT was able to determine that one of the servers was much busier than the other. By drilling down into the busy server, the team was able to see the MSSQL database transactions that were responsible for the heavier than expected load.
NETSCOUT was also able to detect unclassified traffic on an unusual port. By examining this application protocol, DevOps engineering drilled down to the packets using nGeniusONE to reveal this traffic was being caused by a legacy application, which was supposedly no longer in use. While the application had been decommissioned, the code was still on the image of the application server, resulting in the server attempting to communicate with the obsolete application. This created the high load on the server, which placed undue burden on the network, while also exposing a potential security vulnerability involving the open port on the server.
By leveraging NETSCOUT’s Adaptive Service Intelligence™ (ASI) to create smart data from PropertyRoom.com’s packet traffic (see Figure 3 in PDF), DevOps engineering was able to identify the problem within the infrastructure within one hour of running the nGeniusONE solution. DevOps engineering was then able to remove the application from the image, which also eliminated the possibility that subsequent image clones would perpetuate the problem.
The NETSCOUT monitoring solution allows the DevOps engineering team to proactively monitor and troubleshoot application performance (see Figure 4 in PDF) in the AWS environment, rapidly identify the root cause of server and application problems, thus reducing Mean-Time-To-Knowledge (MTTK). As a result, PropertyRoom.com has been able reduce costs and ensure a quality end-user experience.
“NETSCOUT has enabled PropertyRoom. com to maximize our AWS environment and ensure our infrastructure is working at peak performance,” concluded Kevin Felichko, Chief Technology Officer, at PropertyRoom. com. “The ability of this solution to uncover the issues with our server so quickly and improve MTTK by as much as 80% is a true testament to how powerful it is in today’s increasingly complex hybrid cloud deployments. NETSCOUT is a game-changer.”