Now You Can Monitor OneDrive and Power BI with Office365Mon

Today we’ve released two new features that customers have been asking us about – monitoring for OneDrive for Business and Power BI.  These are just the latest set of services in an ever increasing stable of monitored features and services from Office365Mon.  Let’s take a quick look at each.

OneDrive for Business

Office365Mon has actually been able to monitor OneDrive for Business since our first release over two years ago.  However, many customers weren’t really aware of that and didn’t realize that when you configure monitoring for SharePoint Online, you could just tell it to go monitor a OneDrive site.  What we’ve done is to break OneDrive out as a separate monitored item on your Office365Mon subscription.  This gets you a couple of things – first, now you can monitor both a SharePoint Online site and a OneDrive site with the same subscription.  Second, it also allows us to give you a more granular breakdown of both performance and availability with your SharePoint Online tenant.  For example, here’s a report with the average performance across all Office365Mon customers for the primary Office 365 Services:

overallservice

As you can see with the yellow bar, now you can see what performance is like just on OneDrive sites vs. SharePoint Online sites from all of our customers.  Of course, you’ll also be able to see what performance is like just for your tenant in OneDrive.  We think breaking OneDrive out in this way will give you an even deeper view into the health and performance of your tenant, which is a great thing.

Power BI in Office 365

The second feature we added is brand new, and something that we’ve heard customers ask us about for a while now.  Power BI is increasingly becoming a critical part of the toolset that customers are using, so of course it’s important to know how well it’s performing and when it goes down.  Our new monitoring for Power BI does all of that, just as you’ve come to expect from Office365Mon.  The configuration of Power BI monitoring is drop dead simple, which is also something you’ve come to expect from us.  You literally click a single button – that’s it – as shown in this screenshot below:

powerbiconfig

Once you’ve enabled it, health probes begin a minute or two later; can’t get much easier than that!  Once we start collecting the data, details on performance and availability of Power BI show up in all of the same reports that you’ve already been using.  For example, here’s a screenshot of the recent health probes report, showing you the performance of your monitored resources:

perfmonchart

As you can see, you get the performance of your individual resources that are being monitored – including both Power BI and OneDrive – and that is overlaid on top of a bar chart with the overall numbers from all Office365Mon customers with the average performance for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive and Power BI.  Our goal is always to show you as much relevant data as possible and then give you the opportunity to drill down and filter as best suits your requirements.  Also, like all of our reports, you can add this to your own corporate intranet for anyone you want to be able to see, by using our Dashboard Reports feature.  Meanwhile, should Power BI go down, you can also take comfort in the fact that you’ll get all of the same notifications from us as you do today for all of your other monitored services.  Power BI is just another one of “the team” now, and is monitored just like all of the other features and services we’re keeping an eye on for you.

 

Try it Out

Both the OneDrive and Power BI monitoring features are available for you to try out now.  All existing Office365Mon customers as well as all new customers will have access to these features for 90 days.  New customers can go create an Office365Mon subscription at https://www.office365mon.com.  No payment information is required up front, and if you choose not to use it there’s nothing you need to do – after 90 days we just stop monitoring stuff for you.

For all Office365Mon paid subscriptions, we will continue to monitor OneDrive for you.  Power BI monitoring requires the Enterprise Platinum license.  If you have that, monitoring Power BI will continue for you; if you don’t have that license, you can upgrade to it at any time by going to our Payments page at https://www.office365mon.com/Products/Payments.

 

Thanks Again

As always, thanks again for the many terrific suggestions you all have provided.  We’re always looking for ways in which we can do a better job meeting your needs, and the best way to do that is for you to let us know what’s important to you.  Office365Mon really has a wide range of monitoring features now, so I hope if you haven’t tried it yet, or maybe if it’s been a while since you’ve looked at it, you’ll come by and take it out for a spin for 90 days.  We think you’ll find that it’s well worth the 2 minutes of your time to get things set up and going.

 

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

Monitoring Exchange Online Errors You Might Not Otherwise Notice with Office365Mon

We introduced monitoring for the email transport for Office 365 customers back in February of this year after strong demand from our customers (https://samlman.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/know-when-your-office-365-email-gets-stuck-in-transit-from-office365mon/).  We had provided monitoring of the email service itself since Day 1, but if your mailbox is up but the messages you send don’t go out, or the message people send you don’t make it in, then email is of pretty limited value.  As we moved the email transport monitoring service out into production and began gathering more and more data, we started finding a few common errors that many tenants were experiencing, but which are innocuous enough you might not even know that they are happening.

We decided to create some new reports around the email transport monitoring feature to help customers understand better when these situations occur.  Sometimes they point out problems that customers can resolve themselves, and other times it’s just good to understand better when and where the hiccups are in your email service.  In a nutshell, as we capture more data around errors in the transport, we are bubbling up the common errors into these new reports so you can see for yourself when they happen and how frequently they happen.

If you go into the Advanced Reports gallery on our site at https://www.office365mon.com/Reports/advreports, there are new “Recent Email Transport Errors” and “Monthly Email Transport Errors” reports.  The Recent Email Transport Errors report is a simple tabular list of the 100 most recent instances of these common errors described above.  Here’s a sample report:

etRecentErrors

As you can see, we indicate whether the issue was with an inbound or outbound email, when it happened (most recent first), and what the problem was.  This report has already paid off big for one of our customers, because with the information in it they were able to determine that they had an old MX record in DNS, and that MX record pointed to a server that was no longer available.  This showed up in our reports every time that server was selected for us to send mail to it, and as a result they were able to clean that up in their environment.  Some of the other common problems we see are things like Outlook API service is temporarily unavailable, the anti-spam features have incorrectly marked an outbound message as spam (and as a result it gets stuck in the Drafts folder)…happens most frequently with .onmicrosoft.com email accounts by the way, and requests to the service are unauthorized (which could be your access token has expired or Azure Active Directory is temporarily unavailable).  Some things you may be able to fix yourself; other things it’s just good information to have so you are aware of how well your transport features are performing.

The Monthly Email Transport Errors report helps you stay on top of this by presenting a bar chart with a count of each type of error, so you can see how frequently each type of error is occurring in your tenant each month.  Here’s an example of that:

etMonthlyErrors

At Office365Mon our position is you can never have too much good information.  Based on the early results of this reporting, we’re already seeing good outcomes and actionable data for our customers.  If you aren’t set up for Office 365 monitoring yet, please visit our web site at https://www.office365mon.com to get started.  Once you’ve configured basic monitoring, you can turn on email transport monitoring at https://www.office365mon.com/Configure/EmailTransport to get these reports yourself.  We’ll be continuing to mine through the data and expand out the collection of common errors as we see them.

As always, please feel free to send us your feedback at support@office365mon.com and thank you for all of the great ideas you’ve sent us already.

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

Monitoring Large Lists in SharePoint Online with Office365Mon

One of the enduring realities I saw over and over in my many years working at Microsoft with SharePoint, is that customers LOVE the lists they can create in SharePoint.  They’re super easy to set up, you can quick do all kinds of sorting, filtering and searching on them, and it requires no technical expertise to get up and running and with them.  This led to another enduring reality, which is that many customers started loving lists TOO much.  I saw many, many customers over the years that had lists that had just exploded in size.  As these lists grew larger, the performance in using them tends to get worse and worse.  This problem was also compounded by the fact that many developers saw SharePoint lists as a quick and easy place to store data for their application.  That meant even bigger lists sizes, and more people using them more often.

Over the years, we developed lots of documentation and options for improving the performance of your lists.  As customers have moved to SharePoint Online in Office 365 though, we would occasionally hear people ask if it had the same large list limitations as SharePoint on premises does…and the answer is yes, it does.  Now as more customers are moving their SharePoint on premises data to SharePoint Online, we see increasing concern about how the lists they do have are going to perform once it’s all up in Office 365.  Fortunately, at Office365Mon, we’ve just released a new feature designed specifically to help you stay on top of this issue.

List Monitoring is a feature that lets you select one or more lists in SharePoint Online for us to monitor.  For the lists that we’re monitoring, we will do a couple of things:  first, we’ll issue health probes for each list that we’re monitoring and render the default view for it to see what the performance is like.  That’s typically one of the first places where you’ll see performance issues with a large list.  You can configure List Monitoring so that it will send you a notification if it takes longer than “x” seconds to render the default view, where “x” is a number that you decide.

The second thing we’ll do is keep tabs on how large the list is, i.e. how many items it contains.  Again, you can set a threshold for us to look for, and when a monitored list gets bigger than that threshold, we’ll send you a notification to alert you to it.  So, for example, if you’re worried about a large list approaching that magic 5,000 item limit, you can have us notify you when it’s getting close.  Here’s a screen shot of where you configure the monitoring thresholds:

MonLargeLists1

Selecting the lists to be monitored is also quite simple – we provide you with a collection of all of the lists in the SharePoint Online site that we’re monitoring, and you can just check boxes next to the lists you want us to monitor for you.  It can be any of the lists that come out of the box with SharePoint, or any custom list that you’ve created:

MonLargeLists2

Once we’ve started monitoring lists for you, not only will we notify you according to the thresholds you’ve configured, but as you’ve come to expect from Office365Mon, we also have a nice set of reports you can use to see where you stand.  To begin with, you can see the performance of the recent health probes we’ve issued against monitored lists in our Average Response Time report.  It shows the performance of all of the resources that we’re monitoring for you, including monitored lists.  We also have a new report that shows you the average performance each month just for your monitored lists:

MonLargeLists3

In addition to that, we have a report that shows you the size of your monitored lists each day, so you can visualize any growth trends that might be happening that you need to get in front of:

MonLargeLists4

We also provide a monthly view of the average size of each monitored list, so you have a longer-term view of how rapidly your lists are growing:

MonLargeLists5

Being aware of large lists and their impact on performance is one of the best ways to ensure a good experience for your users.  I’ve heard many, many times from customers that say “our site is slow”.  There are lots of reasons why that might be, but a couple of the most common reasons are slow query times and large lists.  At Office365Mon we’ve provided monitoring for your query execution time for nearly a year now.  With the new List Monitoring feature, now you can also know when you have large list performance problems.  Once you know that, you can start working on a mitigation strategy – splitting the data out into multiple lists, creating customized views of the data, etc., etc., etc.  There are a lot of different things you can do to work on improving the performance, but if you don’t know you have a problem then you’ll forever be stuck wondering why your users keep telling you that your “site is slow”.  Take advantage of features like these to stay in the know and stay in control of your Office 365 tenant, and keep everyone happy.  Start by visiting us at https://www.office365mon.com and clicking the Configure…List Monitoring menu.

This is yet another feature at Office365Mon that was driven from feedback by our customers.  I hope you’ll take a look at this feature and as always, let us know how we can make it better as well as ways in which we might be able to help you to do Office 365 monitoring even better.

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

 

Know When Your Office 365 Email Gets Stuck in Transit From Office365Mon

One of the things that we’ve done from day one when monitoring Office 365 is to let you know if your Exchange mailboxes are working or not.  While that’s an absolute necessity and quite valuable, it still left part of the story untold – until now.  One of the things we heard from customers is “my mailbox seems fine, but I sent an email 30 minutes ago and it hasn’t arrived yet”.  Or “I was told they sent me an email a couple of hours ago but I haven’t seen it yet”.  For those that have witnessed this behavior before, you know that sometimes email gets stuck in transit.  Your mailbox may be working fine, but if messages aren’t going out or coming in, then it can be a real problem.

At Office365Mon.Com, we’re addressing this with our new Email Transport Monitoring feature.  The Email Transport Monitoring feature lets you monitor both outbound messages – those that you send – and inbound messages – those that you receive.  You can set a delivery time for each direction, and if our health probe messages don’t arrive within that timeframe, we’ll send you a notification.  Like all of our other notifications at Office365Mon, that can be emails, text messages, and/or our webhook service.

Configuring monitoring for your email transport is incredibly simple.  Go to our web site and start here:  https://www.office365mon.com/Configure/EmailTransport.  This is a screenshot:

configemailtransport

It’s pretty simple – if you want us to monitor email transport, just check the box and tell us how long to wait before notifying you when a message doesn’t show up.  If you don’t check the box, then we won’t monitor it for you.

Once we’ve started monitoring it for you, there are some very nice reports you get.  To begin with, you’ll see the message delivery times for everything we’ve been monitoring over the previous 12 hours:

emailtransportrecent

In addition to that, you get monthly summary numbers so you can see what your delivery times have been:

emailtransportmonthly

Also, we have a report that shows you every message that was so slow it triggered a notification, so you can always review the history of when you had issues.  In addition, you will see email transport performance information rolled up into our Power BI reports.  The raw data for these reports is also available for download from our site if you have the Report Data feature enabled, and you can also programmatically retrieve it via our reporting REST API.

This is another in a long line of customer suggested features we’ve implemented.  Like the others, it’s a super scalable cloud-only monitoring feature that doesn’t require you to install any software, anywhere.  It’s available today as a Preview feature on our site at http://www.office365mon.com.  Just go to the Configure menu and click on Email Transport Monitoring – then check the boxes for the directions you wish to monitor.  All customers get this feature free to try for 90 days so check it out and let us know what you think.  After 90 days you can get this feature with our new Enterprise Platinum license.  See our site at https://www.office365mon.com/Products/Pricing for more details on pricing.

As always, thanks so much for all of the great suggestions.  We listen and continue to build on your needs.

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

Office365Mon Now Provides Reports Anywhere with Dashboard Reports

One of the most common requests we receive at Office365Mon has to do with the different types of reporting we provide on the availability and performance of a customer’s Office 365 tenant.  There are dozens of reports out of the box, as well as snapshot reports with the up to the minute availability of these services, and many of our customers have asked how they could get these reports for their own internal web sites.  Today we are announcing a feature to do exactly that – the Dashboard Reports feature from Office365Mon.

The Dashboard Reports feature is designed to let you take the virtually all of the reports available in our site that we get when we monitor Office 365 for you, and add them to any web site you wish with literally a single HTML tag.  In addition to being simple though, it’s also secure.  In order to use Dashboard Reports, you need to go to the Office365Mon site and get a secret key that is required to display Dashboard Reports.  That prevents anyone else from displaying your Office365Mon data.  In addition, you can remove and add keys as needed, so if a key is compromised at some point you can quickly and easily remove it.

In addition to the reports that we’ve had in our report gallery, the two most common requests we had from customers who want to display data in their own internal sites has been the current status information widgets from the My Info page (https://www.office365mon.com/Features/MyInfo).  To enable the display of these widgets in the Dashboard Reports features, we created two new reports and added them to the report gallery.  They display the same information as you find on the My Info page, and look like this:

Service Status

serviceinforpt

Tenant Status

tenantinforpt

Complete instructions for adding reports to your site using the Dashboard Reports feature can be found here:  https://www.office365mon.com/Configure/Dashboard.  It takes just a couple of minutes to create a key to use with your Dashboard Reports, and then to create the HTML tag to actually render it.  The documentation also describes how you can do things like color the report background as well as select which report to show.  Here’s an example of a Dashboard Report being shown in a completely different site from Office365Mon:

dashboardreport

The new Dashboard Reports feature makes it super easy and simple to build your own custom Office 365 health dashboards now with just a few lines of HTML.  Visit our site at https://www.office365mon.com to learn about it and all of the other Office 365 monitoring features available from Office365Mon.Com.

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

Monitor for Changes in Your Version of Exchange Online with Office365Mon

At Office365Mon we monitor all sorts of things about Office 365.  One of the early customer requests that we incorporated into our service was the ability to monitor for changes in the version of SharePoint that have been pushed out to your SharePoint Online tenant.  We have had several customers ask for the same type of monitoring and notification when changes occur in Exchange Online, and today we’re happy to announce the availability of just such a feature.

New versions can bring with them changes in the user interface and potential issues for customizations and apps.  That’s why for many customers, it’s critical for them to know when the version of SharePoint Online or Exchange Online changes.  Enabling Office365Mon to stay on top of these changes is quite simple.  When you go into configure your Office365Mon subscription, there is a box that you can check to monitor for version changes:

Monitor for Exchange Online Version Changes

exoversionchange

Monitor for SharePoint Online Version Changes

spoversionchange

One of the main differences between the two is that to monitor for changes in version for Exchange Online, we need a higher level of access to the mailbox being monitored than if we’re just monitoring for availability and performance.  As a result, we strongly recommend that you set up a separate mailbox just for monitoring if you want to have us check for version changes.  This is one of our standard security best practices in any case for Least Privileged Access, and the extra permissions needed to monitor for version changes only reinforces operating with that philosophy.

One of the other changes that we made as part of this feature release is to add webhook notifications for changes in version for both SharePoint Online and Exchange Online.  A webhook allows you go get a programmatic notification, and then you can execute your own workflows when you receive it.  For example, when you get a webhook notification that the version has changed, you can kick off a process to do validation of the features in your tenant or custom applications to ensure that they are all still working as expected with the new version.

We hope you find these new capabilities useful to the management of your Office 365 tenant.  It’s yet another feature set that has been driven entirely based on feedback from our customers.  Please try it out and let us know what you think!

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve

 

Introducing Monitoring for Azure Secured Web Sites from Office365Mon

Today we’re excited to announce another new monitoring feature at Office365Mon.  Beginning today, we are now offering you the capability to monitor virtually any web site or REST API using the same proven, enterprise grade monitoring capabilities of Office365Mon.  The same service we use for Office 365 monitoring can now be used to monitor your sites that you deploy to Azure web sites, or your SharePoint hosted apps for on-prem or Office 365 sites, or virtually any other site!  You get the power of a monitoring infrastructure that sends out 10 to 20 million health probes a month to keep you in the know of your own web sites and REST APIs now.

All of this will come with the same kind of integration that you’re used to seeing at Office365Mon.  Setup will be extremely quick and easy, all done in your browser as well as via our Office365Mon Management API.  You’ll get the same sort of alert notifications as you do with the other resources we monitor for you – text messages, emails, and webhook notifications.  You’ll also see all of the data we capture about the health and performance of these sites in the same exact reports you use today, whether that’s one of our Standard or Advanced reports, you download your report data from our site, or you use Power BI with the Office365Mon Content Pack.  Here’s an example of a performance report that’s monitoring both Office 365 sites as well as other sites we have hosted in Microsoft Azure:

websitemonitoring

As you can see from the chart above, we’re monitoring:

Your sites and REST APIs can be hosted anywhere of course, as long as it has a public endpoint we can connect to.  It can be an anonymous site, or it can be secured with Azure Active Directory.  We can also monitor REST APIs as long as they don’t require any parameters.

This feature is available in Preview today and ready for you to begin trying out.  Get started by creating your Office365Mon subscription and then adding some sites to monitor here.  Pricing and licensing has not been set yet, but the good news is that like all new features, all existing customers will get 90 days to try it out for free.  Especially while this is in Preview, it’s a great opportunity to take a look and give us any feedback you have so we can fine-tune it to meet your needs.  Like many of the things you see at Office365Mon, this is another feature that was created based on feedback from our customers.

We hope you enjoy this new feature and will take the time to try it out.

From Sunny Phoenix,

Steve