By Jeff Finley, Sr. Cloud Architect – Effectual
By Jennifer Houston, Director of Marketing – Effectual
By Adnan Bilwani, Sr. Specialist Builders Experience – AWS

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As a modernization service provider, Effectual is focused on a cloud-first approach that includes end-to-end managed and professional services for every stage of IT modernization.

Effectual views managed services from a holistic perspective that prioritizes security and compliance, while identifying opportunities for modernizing cloud-native and traditional IT environments across Amazon Web Services (AWS) and VMware Cloud on AWS.

In this post, we’ll outline how Effectual was able to integrate AWS next-generation monitoring, as well as operational services like Amazon DevOps Guru, to enhance its managed services offering.

Effectual is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner and Managed Cloud Services Provider (MSP) with experience, expertise, and the ability to execute modern strategies with app development, migration, and modern cloud management.

Operational Excellence with Modern Cloud Management

For Modern Cloud Management customers, Effectual implements security policies, operational processes, and management tools that reduce risk, control cloud sprawl, improve reporting, and provide reliable metrics.

Effectual also constantly improves these services with input from customers. An example of this is applying their application development expertise to building Empath, a cloud management portal (CMP) offering organizations greater visibility into their cloud infrastructure from a central, unified platform.

The key objective with Empath was to eliminate administrative burdens and free up internal teams to focus on projects that drive business value. With Empath, customers can view real-time cloud metrics, monitor security vulnerabilities, submit and track support requests, and access current and historical cloud spend from a customizable dashboard.

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Figure 1 – Empath dashboard with real-time metrics.

Evolving Managed Services with Amazon DevOps Guru

By using automated alerts to manage and monitor AWS Cloud environments and view those results within the Empath portal, customers can ensure applications maintain the performance and high availability they expect.

While Empath utilizes AWS services such as Amazon CloudWatch to monitor workload health with traditional metrics and thresholds, the team at Effectual identified Amazon DevOps Guru as an AWS service that could improve the availability and performance of applications as they evolve.

A next-generation operational service, Amazon DevOps Guru provides automated anomaly detection and predictive analytics insights that identify potential problems before they occur.

Utilizing machine learning (ML) models informed by years of Amazon.com and the operational best practices of the AWS Well-Architected Framework, DevOps Guru detects anomalies that deviate from normal operating patterns and provides context and insights for resolving issues before they threaten to disrupt service or cause serious outages.

These include operational issues such as increased latency, error rates, resource constraints, memory leaks, database I/O overutilization, under-provisioned compute capacity, and others.

Effectual implemented Amazon DevOps Guru for managed services to alert their CloudOps team to operational issues and predict when they will happen in the future.

When triggered, DevOps Guru alerts will launch a service ticket for the team to review immediately. These alerts include insights into related anomalies, suspected cause, and context for when/where the issue occurred—with recommended steps for remediation.

As a result, Effectual’s CloudOps team has been able to triage issues twice as fast, and escalate critical issues to development within minutes instead of hours. In addition, the team has improved its time to resolution by 15% providing a significant impact to operations.

Deploying Amazon DevOps Guru as part of the architecture also allowed Empath developers to resolve issues quickly and prioritize the most critical items in their backlog. These operational efficiencies translate into continual improvement and a better CMP experience for customers.

Amazon DevOps Guru Anomaly Detection

Following are two customer examples of how Effectual utilizes Amazon DevOps Guru in the architecture for anomaly detection, reducing alert noise and increasing time to remediation.

AWS Lambda Errors

In Figure 2 below, DevOps Guru found an anomaly in AWS Lambda errors. On the dashboard, Effectual’s team could view the AWS CloudFormation stack the function belongs to, time of the anomaly, and the recommendation for troubleshooting and resolving the issue.

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Figure 2 – Amazon DevOps Guru error alert for AWS Lambda.

Because this was an integration with a third-party API where errors are expected to occur, alerting on every error would just become noise. However, by using DevOps Guru, Effectual was alerted only when an unexpected number of errors occurred—a real problem that needed their attention.

Amazon DynamoDB Write Throttle Events

In this example, DevOps Guru found anomalies in Amazon DynamoDB write throttling.

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Figure 3 – Amazon DynamoDB write throttle events alert.

Using this alert, Effectual was able to review the related metrics of the workload and make a recommendation about whether to 1) modify the provisioned throughput of this table/index, or 2) modify the workload to throttle the wrights through a queue (or other throttling downstream).

Customizing DevOps Guru to Increase CloudOps Efficiencies

As certified AWS Cloud experts, Effectual’s development team is hardwired for continuous improvement and innovation. This includes finding ways to customize AWS services to meet Effectual’s specific needs.

With Amazon DevOps Guru, the team recognized it could enhance insights and further reduce notifications and alerts for CloudOps by applying custom business logic in the platform.

Rather than launching multiple alarm messages (an average of five) for each insight, they applied logic that combines messages into one service ticket. The ticket can then be appended with comments or additional information as needed.

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Figure 4 – AWS DevOps Guru Insights workflow.

Streamlining this process provides easier monitoring for Effectual’s CloudOps team, delivers enhanced insights, and improves coordination across internal teams. It also allows for faster remediation.

Lastly, this customization helps developers prioritize their backlog more efficiently.

Summary

At Effectual, the evolution of managed services is informed by customer feedback, the team’s experience managing complex environments, and application development expertise with support from powerful AWS operational services like Amazon DevOps Guru.

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Effectual – AWS Partner Spotlight

Effectual is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner with the experience, expertise, and ability to execute modern strategies with app development, migration, and modern cloud management.

Contact Effectual | Partner Overview

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