Application Analytics and Management feature of NetScaler MAS strengthens the application-centric approach to help you address various application delivery challenges. This approach gives you visibility into health score of applications, helps you determine the security risks, and helps you detect anomalies in the application traffic flows and take corrective actions.
The following illustration provides an overview of the various tasks you can perform for Application Management and Analytics:
Applications can be either discovered applications, HAProxy applications or custom applications.
Applications that are created automatically for every managed virtual server. Discovered applications will always have one virtual server, and these applications can not be edited or deleted directly.
Applications created by users from discovered applications. NetScaler MAS allows you to add, edit, and delete these applications. Custom applications are created by:
One or more virtual servers
One or more HAProxy frontends.
When you create a custom application, all the discovered applications added to the custom application are removed from the app dashboard.
Points to note
You cannot add a discovered application accross multiple custom applications.
You cannot create a custom application if all the discovered applications are already assigned to other custom application. You need to delete an existing custom application to free up the discovered applications for further composition of new custom applications.
You cannot create a custom application containing virtual servers and HAProxy frontends.
HAProxy discrete applications are created automatically for every managed HAProxy frontend. You can also group these applications to form custom applications similar to NetScaler applications. For more information, see Managing and Monitoring HAProxy Instances with NetScaler MAS.
Points to note
The following App Dashboard features or metrics are not supported for HAProxy applications:
App Activity investigator
Peak Usage trend
Creating a custom application
You can create custom applications by adding one or more discovered applications while defining an application.
To create a custom application:
Navigate to Applications > Dashboard, and click Define Custom App.
On the Define Application Screen, set the following parameters:
Field Description Name Name of the custom application Category Name of the category for which all the applications related to that category will be grouped together on the application dashboard. Select Existing Applications Option to add virtual servers if the definition criteria are based on the licensed virtual servers monitored by NetScaler MAS. Define Selection Criteria Option to define application by virtual server range, or by origin server/service IP address range. - Server. You specify the server or service IP address, server name, or the port of the backend server on which the applications are running. You can enter one IP address, a range of IP addresses, or a combination of both separated by commas. For example, you can enter 10.102.29.20, 10.102.43.10-60, 10.216.43.45. - Virtual Servers. You can specify either one of the following: the virtual server IP address, virtual server name, or the port of the backend server on which the applications are running. You can enter one IP address or a range of IP addresses or a combination of both separated by commas. For example, you can enter 10.102.29.20, 10.102.43.10-60, 10.216.43.45.
Currently, Application Dashboard supports only load balancing and content switching virtual servers only.
Grouping your applications
Grouping your applications enables you to manage and monitor them with ease. You can group your applications by selecting or creating a category when defining an application. To create or select the category, while defining the application, click on the > button next to the Category field.
Applications that are not added to any category are displayed under Others category.
The Application Dashboard provides a holistic view of all the applications monitored by NetScaler MAS and provides key information related to all the applications. For example, the dashboard displays performance and security metrics, counters, and the health status of the applications. To display information about a particular application, select the application. And in the Summary panel, bar graphs show metrics such as app score and threat indexes, for all monitored applications.
View your applications
The application dashboard displays applications as nodes on a treemap, which are sized according to the data volume of the application. The color of a tile indicates the application’s app score, with red denoting minimal health and blue denoting good health.
You can switch your application dashboard view to treemap or tiles by selecting one of the options from the application dashboard screen, wherein you can see the applications’ details in the form of cards. By default, 250 applications are displayed on the application dashboard, to view more applications, click the next page option.
Applications are grouped by the categories that were selected when the applications were defined. Applications can be sorted or made visible by selecting application metrics from the application summary panel. For example, if you want to show the applications that have a app score in the range 20-40, select the appropriate bar graph from the App Score section of the App Summary Panel. Similarly, you can select other metrics in the App Summary Panel.
App summary panel
The App Summary Panel displays all the metrics of the applications that are visible on the application dashboard. This panel enables you to sort and view the applications on the dashboard by selecting or deselecting application metrics. The App Summary Panel displays the following metrics:
|Application Family||A bar graph that groups the number of applications depending on the type of NetScaler instances on which they are configured.|
|App Score||A scoring system that defines how an application is performing|
|App Category||A bar graph that displays a histogram for all categories defined in NetScaler MAS. All discrete applications now appear under,”Others” category, and custom applications appear under their respective category names.|
|Virtual Server Health||A bar graph that displays the number of applications under each category. The applications are categorized to have a health score value at 0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100%.|
|Data Volume||A scoring system that groups the number of applications depending on the data volume of the application. Data volume is calculated by the total number of bytes requested by the applications and the number of bytes received as responses from the applications.|
|Threat Index||A single-digit rating system that indicates the criticality of attacks on the application, regardless of whether or not the application is protected by a NetScaler appliance.|
|Safety Index||A single-digit rating system that indicates how securely you have configured the NetScaler instances to protect applications from external threats and vulnerabilities.|
|Total Attacks||The total number of attacks against the applications|
|Transactions||The range of transactions performed by the applications.|
|Client Connections||The number of client connections established by the applications.|
|Server Connections||The number of server connections established by the applications.|
|Packets Sent||The number of packets sent by the applications.|
|Packets Received||The number of packets that are received by the applications.|
|Application Class||A bar graph that groups the number of applications depending on whether they are discrete or custom applications.|
For example, in the app summary panel, scroll down to find “Virtual Server Health” bar graph. In virtual server health bar graph, NetScaler MAS classifies applications based on the percentage of the virtual server health. The bar graph displays the number of applications that have the health value of the virtual servers between 0% to 100%.
Virtual server health represents health of virtual servers that are grouped under discrete applications. But if there are custom applications that comprise two or more virtual servers, the least virtual server health is considered among the group.
You can now apply a filter and see only those applications in the application dashboard that match the selection criteria. Click the bar that says 0%. This bar displays the number of applications that have a virtual server health between 0% and 20%. You can now segregate applications that have low virtual server health and take remedial measures
App info panel
The App Info panel is at the first level when you drill down on an application. It displays the key metrics and components of the application, along with its state. For example, for any selected application, the App Info panel shows the total number of virtual servers, total number of services, app score, and other information. To show the app info panel, click any application tile on the application dashboard. The App Info panel then replaces the App Summary panel.
App activity investigator
The App Activity Investigator is one of the second level when you drill down from an application. You can reach the App Activity Investigator by selecting the search icon on the App Info panel, or by double-clicking the application tile on the Application Dashboard.
The App Activity Investigator displays key information such as App Score components, Errors, Events, and Anomalies.
Each of the legends are aggregated at one minute interval if the selected duration is one hour, and at one hour interval if the selected duration is one day.
These deviations are displayed as rectangular legends on the graph. These legends are aggregated, and are color coded according to the number of events that have occurred. Blue denotes the lowest number of events and red the maximum. You can hover your mouse pointer on a legend to show details such as error type, time, and the number of events aggregated for the selected legend. You can customize the time period of the graph by selecting the time from time-period drop down.
App usage trend
In most cases, you as a business owner make decisions on your application effectiveness and usage trends based on statistics and data. To understand the application usage trend, you have to collate information from multiple entities in your deployment, such as, backend infrastructure, proxies, CDN networks and so on. Then, correlate the collected information to get proper analytics, this consumes lot of time.
Instead, the NetScaler appliance deployed as an ADC in your deployment contains all the information about the application and the usage statistics of the application. You can forward this information to NetScaler MAS. NetScaler MAS collects this information and provides detailed insights about the application usage and performance. You can use these insights to take effective decisions based on the application usage and performance.
The App Info Panel in the Application Dashboard provides the peak usage trend of an application. You can use the peak usage trend to assess the performance of the application and take appropriate action to improve the performance of the application.
To view the peak usage trend of an application, navigate to Applications > App Dashboard. Select the application and the peak usage trend of the application is displayed under Peak Usage section in the App Info Panel.
You can further click on the Peak Usage section to view the App Score and the application usage. Using this information, you can identify the peak usage of the application and associate it with the corresponding App Score to assess the performance impact on the application during the peak usage duration.
Export reports of app dashboard and security dashboard
NetScaler MAS allows you to take a snapshot of the current App Dashboard and App Security Dashboard pages and export them as reports. At a frequent interval of time, the App administrators might need to use these reports to update on app usage and performance penalties.
With this feature, the administrators are able to extract this data as .png or .pdf reports.
Note: Unlike other report export options in NetScaler MAS, you can export the App Dashboard and Security Dashboard reports only as .pdf or .png files. Other options such as, .jpg and .csv are not supported currently.
On the Application Dashboard or App Security Dashboard page, click the export icon at the top right side of the page.
Choose the export option as either .pdf or .png file.
The report downloads onto your system. From the App Dashboard and App Security Dashboard pages, you can also navigate to second-level pages and export them as reports. Currently, you can download reports of only one application at a time.