The recently released SeUM 1.5 is so chock-full of great new features that it would be nearly impossible to cover them all in a single blog posting. so over the course of the next few months I’ll be highlighting many of these new features in a series of blog postings. Today I’ll take you on a tour of SeUMs new Integrated Cloud Player Provisioning Portal

One of the most common questions we receive when discussing SeUM with customers is, “Does SolarWinds offer a Software as-a Service (SaaS) solution for monitoring  websites and internet accessible web apps”? Many of the customers who asked us this question were already utilizing expensive hosted SaaS solutions and were simply fed up with the exorbitant cost of these services. In usual SolarWinds fashion, we wanted to bring our customers the benefits of distributed monitoring that SaaS-like offerings provide but allow our customers to do it themselves faster, easier, and at a tiny fraction of the cost of what they were currently paying. Case in point, as of the time of this writing, the cost of an Amazon EC2 reserved instance starts at less than $100.00 a year. At those prices you can monitor more web sites & applications, more frequently, from more locations, and still save the company money. Making you an IT Super Hero.

Within SeUM 1.5 we’ve incorporated a simple, easy to use Amazon EC2 cloud player provisioning tool designed to streamline the process of monitoring websites and web based applications from the cloud. The idea was to provide customers the ability to monitor their web based services from various geographical locations around the globe. Deploying players to the geographical regions your users or consumers are likely to be located provides you insight into how those web based offerings are performing for those users. Leveraging the cloud allows you to inexpensively monitor performance and availability from locations beyond your data center, central office, or remote office locations to where your mobile work force, home offices, or customers are located.

Creating Amazon EC2 Cloud Player instances is handled through the SeUM web console. The only prerequisite is an Amazon EC2 account which can be created in just a few minutes. You will find the option to Add Location in the Cloud under Settings -> SeUM Settings -> Manage Player Locations as pictured below.

SeUM Cread Cloud Player

The wizard will then walk you through to process of creating a new Amazon EC2 instance in the cloud, complete with the SeUM Player pre-installed and pre-configured for your environment. Simply enter your Amazon EC2 access key and secret key which can be found by logging into your Amazon EC2 account. Once there, click on your account name in the top right corner of the screen and select Security Credentials. Scroll down to Access Credentials. Here you will find the Access Key and Secret Key that was automatically generated when you first created your Amazon Web Services EC2 account. Copy and paste these credentials into the SeUM Cloud Player Portal to begin creating your cloud player instance.

EC2 Security Credentials   EC2 Access Credentials

Add a Transaction location in the cloud

Next you’ll be asked to provide a name for this cloud instance, as well as create a password for authenticating to this AMI should you need to connect to it via Remote Desktop (RDP) in the future. You’ll then need to select a geographical region where the SeUM Player will be deployed. There are seven distinct regions to select from. It is recommended you select the region closest to where your end users and/or customers are located. This will ensure the synthetic transactions being played back from these locations accurately reflect your end users experience.

Enter Details for the VM you want to create

The only thing left to do now is select a cloud instance size. There are three default EC2 sizes you can select from, or optionally you can chose Advanced if you need to create a custom tailored EC2 instance for higher CPU or Memory needs. In almost all cases selecting one of the three default instance sizes of small, large, or extra large is plenty sufficient for most customers needs. To aid you through the decision making process we’ve included an EC2 sizing calculator that can be found by clicking Recommend a size for me.

recommend a size for me

The EC2 sizing calculator asks a series of four questions, and based upon the answers provided, it will recommend an instance size best suited to your needs, while ensuring you’re not paying for unused capacity.  You can see the recommended instance size highlighted in blue in the screenshot above. To accept the recommended size simply click Select the recommended size and the cloud instance size recommended by the calculator will be automatically selected for you.

Now that all the hard work is done it’s time to review our changes one last time.

Review and create your virtual machine

Once you’re satisfied all settings are correct click CREATE VM and the Amazon EC2 instance will be created. It usually takes a minimum of 10-15 minutes for the instance to start for the first time. You can monitor the status of your newly created cloud player from Manage Player Locations under Settings -> SeUM Settings. You can also start assigning any of your existing SeUM 1.0 recordings to this cloud player instance even before it’s started. As soon as the SeUM Player comes online, the assigned recordings will begin being played back from this newly created location, monitoring the performance and availability of your web-based services.

Starting EC2 Instance