The Meraki Insight product is designed to give Meraki customers an easy way to monitor the performance of Web Applications on their networks and easily identify if any issues are likely being caused by the Network or the Application. This information is presented in a series of easy to understand graphs and charts that can clearly show if performance issues are being introduced within the local network or if performance issues are the result of something at the Application or WAN level.
Tracked Web Applications
Utilizing Meraki Insight, an MX can be configured to monitor and track all traffic associated with specific Web Applications. This data is tracked on a per-flow basis at the MX, then the relevant flows are aggregated into categorical groups based on their associated application and sent over an encrypted connection back to the Meraki Cloud Controller for further analysis before populating that flow data into the Insight feature on Dashboard. The data gathering process utilizes deep packet inspection, similar to our Advanced Malware Protection and Intrusion Protection systems, to allow Meraki to gather information at both the Network layer and the Application layer so we can help to identify if performance issues are based around local Network performance or Application layer issues.
The Performance Indicator is a symbol that is displayed for each application, and is intended to provide a quick reference to the quality of the user experience relative to a specific Web Application, based on the thresholds defined by a Meraki Administrator. A green performance indicator symbol means that both the Application level and Network level are performing within the defined thresholds and user experience should be optimal. A red performance indicator symbol indicates that there may be some noticeable issues with the performance of a specific application for some users.
If an Application has a Performance Score of <80% any Networks that are reporting a score below 80% will have a red performance indicator symbol and will be listed under the Affected Networks list. Clicking on the red performance indicator symbol for each respective application source (LAN, WAN, Server) will display a list of Affected Networks. Clicking one of these Affected Networks bring you to an overview of all tracked Web Applications on that Network and their respective Performance Indicators for the selected network. For more information about the per-Network view of Tracked Web Applications please reference the ‘Tracked Web Applications – Per Network View’ section of this article.
Configure Web Applications
To begin tracking the performance of Web Applications there first has to be at least one category/application selected to monitor. To begin configuring Web Applications to monitor, select Configure Web Applications from the Insight > Monitor > Web application performance page, near the bottom of the applications list. From the popup window you can browse through several categories of applications to monitor, then once a category has been selected, browse until the desired application is listed. Mark the checkbox for that application and select Save.
Alternatively, Web Applications can be searched for directly by typing the application name into the Search bar ar the top of the popup window. Once the selected applications have been saved any MX that are configured to have Insight enabled will begin monitoring and reporting information on traffic that matches the applications selected.
The Application Performance Score is calculated based on several defined Thresholds, primarily Per-flow Goodput and Application Response Time. The Per-flow Goodput is defined as the “predicted maximum amount of data that could be transmitted per flow, based on network latency and loss,” while Application Response Time is based on the HTTP response time for requests initiated by the application, excluding any Network Latency. Both the desired Perflow Goodput and the desired Application Response Time can be configured and customized on a per-Application basis by an Organization Administrator.
The defined minimum acceptable Per-flow Goodput can be set as low as 10Kbps or up to 10Mbps, with the default value being 160Kbps. Similarly, the maximum tolerable Application Response Time can be configured as low as 100ms and up to 100s with a default value of 3s. Application Response Times can also be configured to be ignored when calculating statistics for a specific application if the application is known to use long-polling or WebSockets, as these are expected to have long application response times that do not indicate an issue. This is done by selecting ‘Ignore’ instead of ‘Choose’ on the dropdown when configuring the Application Response Time.
Adding Custom Applications
In addition to being able to add traffic from pre-defined categories, custom applications can be defined, based on hostname. To add or edit custom categories, select Configure web applications, and then select Custom from the categories.
In the Define a custom application window, you will be able to fill out the Application name and hostname for the application you wish you track. For example, if you wanted to track traffic to/from google.com, you could enter “Google” as an application name, and “google.com” as the expression.