Friday, March 9, 2018

Exploring Azure Traffic Manager Traffic View

Azure Traffic Manager is a must have for globally distributing your applications.  One feature that has been lagging a bit is the reporting/metrics that are available.  In this post, I'll give you a quick overview of the Traffic view feature and what you can expect to get about it.  Official documentation on this feature can be found here.

The goal behind this feature is to help users understand where traffic is originating, and where/how traffic is being distributed to backend systems.  Ideally, from this information, you can help to determine which regions of the world are being under-serviced.

Here is an example of what the globally distributed view looks like.

The map is actually quite interactive.  When you mouse-over a particular point, you get to see the following:

- The IP address
- The count
- The latency
- Which endpoint the request was routed to

The service also has a download button, which allows you to take a CSV export.

A couple of important points:

- The latency represented is not the latency for the DNS response, but rather the latency between the end user and the Azure region the request was directed to.  As per the documentation:

"Traffic Manager correlates the user base region to Azure region mapping with the network intelligence latency tables that it maintains for different end-user networks to understand the average latency experienced by users from those regions when connecting to Azure regions"

This is important to note as the latency shown here might not actually reflect the latency that users actually saw.  This data is likely better captured using the Real User Measurements feature.

- Traffic view has a cost, which is related to the datapoints used to generate the insights.  The service in is preview, so it is currently free.

- Traffic view looks at the data from the last 7 days

I think this service is a great start, and is helpful in providing insight into where your traffic is coming from and what the expectation of service is from those locations.  I think that there are some features missing from the current implementation, and it will be interesting to see how this service evolves into GA.