How can I monitor my Voip Application?

In the last Kamailio World two of the hot topics were Packetbeat and SIPCapture. Both projects announced good news meanwhile the conference, people got excited about it.

SIPCapture released a new version 5, huge work from Alex and Lorenzo. Both worked hard in this version. SIPCapture 5 provides the following new features:

  • New captagent that allows lua scripting.
  • Frontend was rewrited from scratch and now it's a full html5 app.
  • New database structure, and full PostgresSQL support.
  • New database backends in the panel, now you can use InfluxDB and ElasticSearch as data source.

SIPCapture review on VUC

Secondly Packetbeat announced that joined Elastic and started a new branch called Beats. Packetbeat provides an interface to monitor our application performance without pain. You can monitor all SQL information, Redis, HTTP information and get some insights of your application.

Packetbeat presentation on OSDC 2015

Finally, statsd module can be added in this list. This module provides some features to monitor your business logic. If you want to deep on this, please read the following posts:

So three monitoring tools. Can we use only one? What is the strengths and the weaknesses of these software? Is all valid for our platform? Yes, but these projects fit for different situations, let me explain:

SIPCapture is an awesome tool, but it only can help with our SIP stack, I love it and I use to work with it. You can check what happens in your calls, and it's pretty useful in the following cases:

  • In a production platform when you need to check what happens in a call.
  • If you run TLS calls, you can debug without SSL keys into wireshark.
  • You can monitor the MOS in realtime in your platform.

Packetbeat is to monitor your application performance. Nowadays Kamailio is using a lot 3 party software (databases, Messages Queues, Cache system). Monitoring errors or timeouts of those 3-party software can be done with Packetbeat without pain.

Business/personal metrics must to be done in statsd. In statsd you can't define what happens in a specific call or specific query, you're measuring the percentile of the metric that you want it's correct, for example:

  • Packetbeat said that your SQL queries took 14ms as average. But in kamailio you found a bottleneck in that query process, so you need to monitor into your code. You can use statsd_timer and found the bottleneck in the specified route.
  • Your average reply time in SIPCapture is upper than 1 second, you need to found the bottleneck into your 5000 lines of code. With Statsd you can measure your routes one by one, so it's easy to found the problem with few lines of code.
  • When new feature is implemented you want to know how many calls are using this feature. Statsd provides a one line code to measure your business statistics.

UPDATE: As Alex point me in Twitter, all the perf stats can be displayed in SIPCapture included Packetbeat metrics and Influxdb metrics sending by statsd. So SIPCapure it's perfect for support and operations. Awesome work made by Lorenzo & Alex.

Some developers changed statsd for Logstash. My personal opinion about that is the following:

  • Logstash need to parse logs. Logs are slow and difficult to compute.
  • For timing functions, you need to write more lines of code. With statsd you only use 2 lines of code to monitor specific lines.
  • Logs can be broken easily in your config file.
  • ES query language is more complicated than use SQL'ish in InluxDB.

Finally for telecoms companies all of the explained projects are useful. SIPCapture is the swiss-knife for support teams. Packetbeat is an amazing tool for all the operations teams and statsd is good for operations team and marketing/business team to make decisions based on the current metrics.

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