How to know your site is up, and manage access in the Acquia toolset
by Michael Cooper
I’m exceptionally proud to announce the general availability of some new features for the Acquia toolset: Uptime Monitoring and Teams & Permissions.
Over the last several months we’ve gone through a careful beta phase; rolling these tools out to limited sets of users, gathering their feedback, refining, bug-fixing, and making sure they fit the bill. Now, with hundreds of customers using these features we’re ready to take the “beta” label off and offer them to all.
Teams and Permissions
The first goal of the Teams and Permissions (T&P) feature is to simplify the work surrounding adding and managing user access in the Acquia toolset. Instead of adding users one-by-one to each subscription, subscription admins can create teams, associate sites with those teams, and add users to the teams. Any user in a team then has access to any site associated with the team. This means adding a new developer is a task that takes under a minute. Each user also has a role in the team and that role defines a set of permissions. Subscription admins can create as many roles as they want, customizing the permission sets for each.
This brings me to the second goal, which is the ability to define granular permissions for the features and functionality in the Acquia toolset. There are over 45 distinct permissions, outlined here, and any combination of those permissions can be added to any role, giving admins finely tuned control over access to functionality.
The “last mile” of the T&P feature was to change the way SSH keys are added in the UI. Before T&P, a user had to add their key to each site one by one. Additionally, adding that key gave the user SSH access to all servers, as well as GIT access (if the site was using GIT).
With this final update, users now add their SSH keys on their Acquia user profile page under the “credentials” tab. The system then looks at all the subscriptions a user has access to and if they have been granted the permission to SSH and deploys the keys to all the servers powering those sites. An added bonus is that the permission to SSH into production vs non-production servers now exists. This means that access to production systems can be further restricted while leaving the developers with access to dev and staging environments.
Uptime Monitoring is the first major part of our Site Health functionality. What this offers is one-click enabling of an external site monitor that is able to bypass caching and determine if your site is really up or not.
Because (unlike generalized services) Acquia knows Drupal, our Uptime Monitoring service can ask your site some very specific questions about how it’s running and provide you with some detailed insights when issues do occur.
The service requires your site to have the Acquia Connector module installed which provides a light-weight “canary” URL that we can poll securely. This provides us with a base-line check that says your site can parse its PHP code, talk to the DB and send a response. We hit this URL every minute and if there is an error (no response or a 500) we put the site into an escalated scan queue where we query more pages.
If all the other pages load fine, then likely it was a short blip caused by a code deploy or a cache clear. We note it, but don’t raise the alarm. If other pages also throw errors, then we know your site has a problem and we send out alerts. This means we don’t have to wait several minutes for more than one failure, we can spot an issue, test other pages and know within a minute if your site is OK or not. This also results in many fewer false positives as well as better visibility into intermittent issues.
The Uptime Monitoring service will provide details about any issues it detects:
- DNS failed to resolve
- Unable to connect to server
- Site partially down (some URLs we monitor not responding or throwing errors; we let you know which is occurring)
- Site is entirely down (all URLs are throwing errors)
- Site is A OK
You can learn more on our docs site.
Any customers with Acquia Cloud Enterprise sites can use Uptime Monitoring. Enable it on the Insight overview page for your site.
We value your opinions, click the tab on the left side of any page in the UI and fill out the form to let us know what you think of these or any other features we’ve released recently.