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Insights

This article is part of Configuring Cloud Cruiser

5. Create
Insights

 

 

Insights are based on predefined or custom rules that identify opportunities where you can take action to optimize your cloud services. Insights alert you about situations in your cloud that are either costing you money or are potentially harming your environment in some other way. For example, you receive an alert when the cost for a department increases suddenly, or when you are paying for a VM that no one is using.

You can view insights on the Insights page and on the Insights Summary page of the Default view.

For more information, about:

Video overview

The following video helps you understand what insights are, and how they can help you reduce cost and improve the efficiency of your cloud:

Configuring default Insights

Cloud Cruiser includes several ready-to-use insights that appear in users' views through the Insights Summary widget. You can modify these insights, or create your own using the default rules.

Cloud Cruiser also includes several insight rule templates that you can use either as-is or with modifications to create new insights. They populate the rule definition with values, making it easier for your to create an insight and put it into production quickly. Because many of the templates are similar, it can be helpful to understand them by type.

When you define an insight, you define a rule that specifies what is monitored and what generates alerts. Rules are written as sentences, with fields and values you define. For example, the following image shows the rule included in the Numeric change for a group rule template:

This rule sends an alert when the daily average of the Cost metric for any Service Category is higher than the previous daily average by 10% and the absolute change in cost is at least 10. Data from the most recent 2 weeks is used for the daily average.

Each rule includes one or more thresholds that define when the data has reached a state to warrant an alert. Some insights have more than one threshold, in which case both must be reached to raise an alert. All rules have an absolute threshold, against which a raw change in the data is compared. If the absolute threshold is not crossed, no alert is generated. Additionally, most rules also have a relative threshold, against which a percentage change is compared. If the relative threshold and absolute threshold are both crossed, an alert is generated.

For example, in a rule for monitoring changes in the cost of service categories, the relative threshold is 10% and the absolute threshold is 10. If the cost of the Messaging service increases by a relative amount of 46%, and a raw amount of $0.20, no alert is sent. While the 46% increase seems large, it only represents an additional $0.20 in actual cost, which is far below the absolute threshold.

If a threshold is set to a value of 0, it is not used to determine whether to generate an alert.

Each rule also offers you the ability to filter the data you want to monitor. For example, you might want an insight to apply only to data from a specific provider or region.

Video overview

The following video shows you how to configure the default insights included with Cloud Cruiser: 

Configure Rule templates

Cloud Cruiser includes several insight rule templates that you can use either as-is or with modifications to create new insights. They populate the rule definition with values, making it easier for your to create an insight and put it into production quickly. Because many of the templates are similar, it can be helpful to understand them by type.

Numeric change for a group

The Numeric change for a group template is a standard rule template that monitors the percentage and raw change (either increasing or decreasing) of a metric across a category. The default fields are set to alert when the daily average of the Cost metric for any Service Category is higher than the previous daily average by 10% and the absolute change is at least 10. Data from the most recent 2 weeks is used for the daily average. This template provides great versatility, and is used as the basis for the following rule templates:

Rule Template Description
Cost increase for a group The default fields are set to alert when the daily average of the Cost metric for any Service Category is higher than the previous daily average by 10% and the absolute change is at least 1. Data from the most recent 2 weeks is used for the daily average.
CPU utilization change for a group The default fields are set to alert when the daily average of the CPU Utilization metric for any Service Category is higher than the previous daily average by 10%, regardless of the absolute change. Data from the most recent 2 weeks is used for the daily average. This template does not have an absolute threshold.
Quantity change for a group The default fields are set to alert when the daily average of the Quantity metric for any Service Category is higher than the previous daily average by 10%, regardless of the absolute change. Data from the most recent 2 weeks is used for the daily average. This template does not have an absolute threshold.

Numeric level sustained for a group

The Numeric level sustained for a group template is a standard rule template that, for the group you specify, monitors whether a numeric field value remained above or below a threshold for a length of time. The default fields are set to send an alert when the daily average of the Cost metric for any Resource ID has been more than 0 each day for the past week. Based on this template, Cloud Cruiser includes templates for sustained utilization and underutilized resources.

Cloud Cruiser includes the following templates for sustained utilization. While the default settings are for metrics At or below specified values (an underutilization setting), you can change these templates to monitor for values Above specified values (an overutilization setting).

Rule Template Description
VM with sustained utilization This template monitors VM CPU utilization to help you identify underutlized or overutilized VMs. The default fields are set for underutilized VMs, and alert when the daily average of the CPU Utilization metric for any VM has been at or below 2%, while the daily total network traffic remains at or below 10 MB each day for the past 5 days.
EBS volume with sustained utilization This template monitors EBS volumes for read and write traffic that remain above or below thresholds for a length of time. The default fields are set to alert when the daily averages of both read activity and write activity for any EBS volume have been at or below 0 MB each day for the past 4 days. This template applies only to AWS resources.
ElastiCache cluster with sustained utilization This template monitors ElastiCache hosts for read and write traffic that remain above or below thresholds for a length of time. The default fields are set to alert when the daily averages of both read activity and write activity for any ElastiCache host have been at or below 0 MB each day for the past 4 days. This template applies only to AWS resources.
RDS instance with sustained utilization This template monitors RDS instances for read and write traffic that remain above or below thresholds for a length of time. The default fields are set to alert when the daily averages of both read activity and write activity for any RDS instance have been at or below 0 MB each day for the past 4 days. This template applies only to AWS resources.
Redshift node with sustained utilization This template monitors Redshift nodes for traffic that remains above or below thresholds for a length of time. The default fields are set to alert when the daily averages of both inbound and outbound traffic for any Redshift node have been at or below 0 each day for the past 4 days. This template applies only to AWS resources.

Cloud Cruiser includes the following templates to help you identify underutilized resources, which are candidates for deletion. These templates are very similar to the templates for underutilized resources. The key difference is that these templates are always configured to monitor for underutilization. You cannot change the At or below setting.

Rule Template Description
Underutilized VM This template monitors VM CPU utilization to help you identify underutilized VMs. The default fields are set to send an alert when the daily average of the CPU Utilization metric for any VM has been at or below 10%, while the daily total network traffic remains below 5 MB for each day for the past 4 days.
Underutilized EBS volume This template monitors EBS volumes for read and write traffic that remain below thresholds for a length of time. The default fields are set to alert when the daily averages of both read activity and write activity for any EBS volume have been at or below 0 MB each day for the past 4 days. This template applies only to AWS resources.
Underutilized ElastiCache cluster This template monitors ElastiCache clusters for read and write traffic that remain below thresholds for a length of time. The default fields are set to alert when the daily averages of both read activity and write activity for any ElastiCache cluster have been at or below 0 MB each day for the past 4 days. This template applies only to AWS resources.
Underutilized RDS instance This template monitors RDS instances for read and write traffic that remain below thresholds for a length of time. The default fields are set to alert when the daily averages of both read activity and write activity for any RDS instance have been at or below 0 MB each day for the past 4 days. This template applies only to AWS resources.
Underutilized Redshift cluster This template monitors Redshift clusters for traffic that remains below thresholds for a length of time. The default fields are set to alert when the daily averages of both inbound and outbound traffic for any Redshift cluster have been at or below 0 MB/second each day for the past 4 days. This template applies only to AWS resources.

Outlier

The Outlier template is a standard rule template that monitors whether one group is different from its peers. This is useful for finding the "bad actors" in your organization who spend or use more than others. The default fields are set to send an alert when the daily average of the Cost metric for any Account Owner for the past 5 days is 50% higher than the average of all other Account Owners and the absolute difference is at least 100.

Results drilldown

Results Drilldown provides an optional drill down functionality for your insights. This allows you to select a report to view within the insight. This is useful to help you determine if an action needs to be taken based on the recommendations. From the drop-down list, select a report from the My Reports group or a shared report from the Shared with Me group.

In the Complete Result Set, click  to open your results. The following image shows the VM Details report and the results of the drilldown.

When you export data in PDF, Excel, and CSV, the report maintains the drilldown layout.

Understanding your Insight Status

Your insight includes a visualization of your cloud data containing one or more charts. As you define the insight rule, the visualization updates to show a red line that indicates your defined Alert threshold. Mouse over the line to see the criteria for reaching the Alert state. If you do not want to see the visualization, click Hide Visualization. Cloud Cruiser will remember your setting and hide visualizations for all insights you view. If you want to view the visualization again, click Show Visualization.

A table in your insight shows rows of your actual cloud data. As you define the insight rule, the table updates to show values, just as with the bar chart. The table also includes an Insight Status column, which lists the alert status of each row of data:

  • Alert: The Alert status appears in red. Data has crossed all thresholds and has generated an alert.
  • Approaching: The Approaching status appears in orange. Data is within the 10% of the thresholds.
  • Normal: The Normal status appears in blue. Data is well below the thresholds.

For example, the following table shows data for a rule that has a relative threshold of a 5% increase in Cost, and an absolute threshold of 3.

The Compute row has crossed both thresholds, as seen in the Change Percent and Change Amount columns, and is therefore in the Alert state. While the Messaging row has crossed the relative threshold by a wide margin, it remains in the Normal state because the absolute threshold has not been crossed.

For insights grouped by Resource ID, in the table you can click a box next to AWS VMs and EBS volumes, and Azure VMs to open those resources directly in the AWS or Azure portal, as appropriate for the resource.

Creating a new Insight

To create an insight

  1. On the Insights page, click the Add icon InsightAdd_icon.png.
    The New Insight window appears.
  2. In the Rule Template field, select a rule template that provides a good starting point for your rule. For more information about the default rules, see Rule templates.
  3. In the Rule Definition area, change the variables to field names and values as appropriate for the rule you want to create.
    You can adjust variables in the following ways:
    • Variables that have a fixed selection of choices are presented as drop-down fields with an arrow InsightsFieldDropdown_icon.png next to the variable. Click the field and select a value.
    • For variables that require a field name, click the Close icon InsightsFieldClose_icon.png next to the variable to remove the exiting field name and open a selection list for a replacement field name. Alternatively, you can click the value, backspace to remove the existing text, and begin typing a new field name. As you edit the field, Cloud Cruiser opens a selection list with values that match your text.
    • For variables that require a numeric value, click the value and begin typing.
  4. If you want your insight to apply only to a subset of available data, click Add Filter. For more information about using filters, see Filtering data.
  5. Save the insight:
    1. Click the Save icon InsightSave_icon.png.
      The Save Insight dialog box appears.
    2. Enter a Name, and (optionally) edit the Description provided by Cloud Cruiser.
    3. In the Recommendation field, enter your recommended action when this insight generates an alert.
    4. Select a Category. Insights are arranged by category in the Insights Summary in views.
    5. In the Share With area, add one or more groups and users that can use this insight. If you want all users to use this insight, select Share With All Users.
    6. Click Save. The insight is added to the list of insights.

Video example

The following video shows you how to create new insights using a template:

What to do after creating insight rules

Create user accounts and groups for the people that need to view usage and cost data. For more information, see Permissions.

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