When you move to Office 365, the business-critical part of your IT is outsourced and lives independently from the rest of your IT environment. Managing network connectivity becomes critical to monitoring the availability and performance of your applications.
We’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded our Exchange Online monitoring to include new tools for diagnosing network latency. Our real-time dashboard will help you to pinpoint and troubleshoot any network latency issues between your critical users and the Office 365 datacenter. This monitoring includes every part of your infrastructure and network, including the local internal between appliances, ISP, and datacenter internal between equipment. GSX tests every location level, allowing IT administrators to identify network bottlenecks in real-time at every critical location.
How and what exactly does GSX test?
Network path latency
GSX first sends a ping to outlook.office365.com, which is the entry point of the datacenter where your tenant is hosted. But this isn’t just any ping - you can configure a threshold, so that you will be alerted as soon as the latency starts to increase.
As soon as the threshold is reached, GSX Monitor performs a traceroute to analyze the entire network path in real-time, allowing you to pinpoint the exact location of the latency. The alert traceroute will detail the number of hops between the Robot user and the Office 365 portal, as well as the latency between each hop. As soon as a latency is detected, the admin will be delivered a report detailing the precise location of the latency.
In addition, the admin can choose to place a threshold on the maximum number of hops between the Robot User and the portal. GSX provides graphs of the traceroute hop numbers in order to visualize these trends. All of these tools provide valuable insight for troubleshooting past latency events.
The “Mail” LED checks the connectivity to port 80 and 443 of the Office 365 end point, as well as the 587 port that is often used to provide secure connections to the SMTP end point. If this connectivity check fails, it means that the clients don’t have access to the Office 365 services. Root causes can be internal or external network problems; oftentimes, there will be issues with configurations. GSX will allow the IT admin to quickly pinpoint a major issue in critical locations.
This is another important check for identifying immediate root causes for user issues with Exchange online. GSX will test the internal DNS to make sure it is able to perform a DNS resolution of the Office 365 end point. If the DNS test fails, its means that users will not be able to connect to the Exchange online service. But the more critical parameter that GSX tracks is DNS resolution time. The DNS resolution time is often a root cause of latency issues for the end user.
This type of testing is extremely important, as it allows admins to measure performance from multiple critical locations. The network can have great impacts on DNS resolution time, and ultimately increase the latency for the end user. GSX enables you to pinpoint specific issues and identify bottlenecks in each location.
GSX’s witness monitoring allows you to do two critical things. The recommended use of this witness monitoring is to test the network latency to the proxy server of the company. As the proxy server is the gateway to the internet, this test will directly measure the latency of the internal network.
This provides a nice complement to the full details of the traceroute mentioned in the first LED. At any time, the administrator is able to compare the scenario latency, portal latency, and proxy server latency to pinpoint where bottlenecks are occurring in real-time. The information can also be captured on a regular basis in order to look at past issues, examine trends, and identify patterns and bottlenecks in the infrastructure.
The other feature of witness monitoring is that it allows you to use a popular website as a witness to quickly check if the internet access is on.