Observer Apex : Observer Apex : Reacting to network events : Troubleshooting network, server, and application issues
Troubleshooting network, server, and application issues
Using a simple, flexible, and easy-to-understand workflow will help you troubleshoot many common network, server, and application issues. This will guide your process and help identify areas of interest while providing a working context for your investigation.
The Observer Platform provides powerful and comprehensive tools and analytics that allow you to troubleshoot many IT and network issues.
The Observer Platform provides two primary applications. The first is Apex, which is the dashboard report functionality that provides powerful Layer 2-7 analytics that can be used to quickly resolve many issues. Apex dashboards use statistical data (metadata) that Observer collects separate from packet captures using network trending. The metadata files can easily store weeks or months of trending statistics. The second application is Observer, which provides detailed packet-based analytics and tools for decoding and working with packets. Observer analyzes packet data and assesses more than 700 conditions and has powerful tools to help you determine the root cause of an issue.
A logical and methodical workflow is needed to analyze and resolve issues. You need to know how to use your tools and understand what the analytics are telling you; it takes practice. It’s important that you gather as much information as possible before trying to resolve a problem. Here are some suggestions on information to consider:
Is it one user or many?
One server or several?
Is it a particular application?
When does the issue happen? All the time or at a certain time?
Does it impact local or remote users or both?
Were there any recent changes? (Are you sure? How do you know?)
We suggest that you always start your investigation from the Apex dashboard. Apex is easy to use and understand and can help you resolve many issues within minutes with only a couple mouse clicks. We encourage you to spend time practicing and learning how to use Observer and Apex. Documentation and free web based training are available.
1. From the interface first select the desired probe/location.
2. Select the desired time frame.
It’s best to use the smallest time frame that is relevant for the issue, usually a couple hours is ideal. This way the information will be more detailed and accurate.
Tip! Apex lets you easily “focus” a dashboard on your area of interest by providing a dashboard filter or widget filter or using your mouse to select a key field. Apply the dashboard to the selected object (like application or IP address). Also, if you click a key field, you can pass that parameter to another dashboard for even more analysis.
Learn to use the dynamic filtering ability and key field dashboard links so the dashboards show the metrics that are relevant for your investigation. It’s an easy way to quickly get to the information you need.
Many network engineers use a common best practice approach to troubleshooting. This approach typically starts with determining if an issue is related to a network, a server, or an application problem. After that determination is made, it then leads to more targeted investigation, analysis, and, ultimately, a resolution. This approach also is helpful from an organizational perspective so that appropriate resources and tools are engaged. We will illustrate this troubleshooting process by working through a common problem: Users are complaining that a server is slow.