San Antonio, TX
Runscope Customer Since
Ensuring that an API powering the business is performing correctly at all times from every location
Automated API monitoring from across the globe that provides the utmost visibility into test failures
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Runscope Gives Keen Ultimate Visibility Into its Mission Critical API
Keen makes data analytics simple and approachable for engineers. The cloud-based company logs, stores and analyzes huge amounts of data for thousands of organizations across the globe. The foundation for Keen’s platform is a robust API used both internally and by customers. Providing an API for data collection and analysis gives customers more control over their data and how it’s analyzed and displayed.
“We live and die by people’s access to our API,” says Cory Watson, Principal Infrastructure Engineer at Keen. “If our API goes down, our customers won’t be able to fully access their data analytics.”
Because Keen’s API is its entire business, having full visibility into the API’s performance to stay ahead of issues that affect customers is mission critical. Watson adds, “If an API endpoint goes down, we need to know where it failed from, how often it failed and why—and we need to know before our customers do.”
Transitioning Beyond Simple Endpoint Testing
To ensure its API is operating correctly at all times, Keen knew that API monitoring was an essential addition to its toolkit. “API monitoring gives us a consistent measuring point that provides us with a holistic overview of how our API is performing,” Watson says. “But building API monitoring and testing infrastructure in-house isn’t free, and that’s not our core competency.”
Watson and his team began using a lightweight API monitoring service, but it left much to be desired. “We used Pingdom initially, but it didn’t provide enough visibility into API issues so that we could debug them quickly,” says Watson. “Simply pinging endpoints to see if they’re up and responding wasn’t enough. We require the full spectrum of HTTP.” Plus, Watson’s team needed automated monitoring from locations like Virginia, Australia and everywhere in between to properly serve its globally distributed customer base.
The turning point for Keen was when intermittent failures began to occur, and the team wasn’t receiving enough data to debug those issues. “Without sufficient visibility into API performance, API failures become easier to ignore,” says Watson. “We needed a solution that made API issues not only difficult to ignore, but quick and easy to discover and solve.”
Watson found Runscope and signed up for a free trial, which was met with instant gratification. After passing Runscope to other team members and receiving unanimous approval, “signing on with Runscope was an immediate, no-brainer decision,” adds Watson. “Our team was impressed with how intuitive the interface is.”
One Solution, Numerous Benefits
Keen uses Runscope for automated production monitoring from multiple points of presence. Many of Keen’s tests run every minute. “I’m based in Nashville, and I don’t hit the same infrastructure that many of our customers do when they experience problems with the API,” adds Watson. “Knowing from where a test failed is one of the most vital pieces of information we get from Runscope, and we didn’t find another solution with that level of reach.”
API monitoring also reduces recurrences of issues because Watson’s team can create a test for an issue and run it on an ongoing basis. “Thanks to API monitoring, when failures do occur, it’s easy to discover and debug the issue because we have a baseline from which we measure,” adds Watson.
Watson recalls a time when one of Keen’s application servers had one small process that wasn’t working, and customers weren’t happy. “I was able to have Runscope point at that endpoint and get really aggressive, testing from every global location,” says Watson. “It was an efficient way to shake down the system and replicate the issue to identify the core problem.” With Runscope, Watson can tell whether an issue like this one is coming from Keen or the customer. No matter the scenario, both parties come out happy thanks to having visibility into the issues and enough data to solve them through Runscope.
In order to notify the team in real-time about test failures, Keen integrates Runscope with both PagerDuty and Slack. “The ability to integrate Runscope into the communications channels our engineers use most often adds tremendous value, and allows us to respond to API failures much more quickly,” adds Watson.
Establishing a Baseline Ensures Future Success
As Keen continues to gain more customers and grow its platform, its API must naturally scale with it. “We have a lot of endpoints to check, and manipulating tests for each endpoint manually uses up a considerable amount of my time that I could be spending on building out our platform,” says Watson. “Runscope gives us fine-grained control over a broad range of endpoints for minimal effort.”
Keen will continue to use Runscope to establish a baseline for numerous scenarios that it can measure against test failures, which will be key as Keen’s analytics platform grows more complex and distributed. However, even with more endpoints to test, Keen is confident that it has its API under control. “I sleep better at night knowing that Runscope is watching our API,” says Watson. “And better sleep for an engineer is always a good thing.”