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Announcing ThousandEyes Custom Webhooks

By Chris Villemez & Brian Tobia
| | 10 min read

Summary

ThousandEyes has released its next evolution of our webhooks platform with the ThousandEyes Custom Webhooks feature. This enhancement enables customers to easily ingest ThousandEyes alerts into any third-party IT Service Management (ITSM) or Information Technologies Operations (ITOps) tool, such as Splunk, Webex® by Cisco, or Microsoft Teams.


Introducing ThousandEyes Custom Webhooks

Today’s IT operations landscape requires a complex plethora of tools and systems, not just to keep the lights on, but also to assure excellent user experience of critical applications and digital services. Detecting performance problems is only half the battle, however. The other essential function is alerting the necessary stakeholders so that quick action can be taken to remediate and restore performance.

The operators of these services must now contend with on-premises infrastructures as well as cloud, multi-cloud, and hybrid architectures. The growing complexity of the ITOps ecosystems built to support these infrastructures, coupled with the increasing demands on operations teams to resolve incidents as quickly as possible necessitates an evolved and integrated approach with the many third-party monitoring platforms, ITSMs, and other associated IT collaboration and infrastructure tools.

With the availability of ThousandEyes Custom Webhooks, customers can easily and seamlessly configure ThousandEyes to send alert notifications to any third-party system capable of ingesting webhooks by providing a flexible JSON payload that customers can define to best meet their needs. This facilitates reliable integration of ThousandEyes into your ITOps ecosystem, greatly increasing operational efficiency and reducing the duration of service impacts.

Modern IT Operations and the Integrated Ecosystem

Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) is the constant bane of infrastructure managers, with the unrelenting pressure to continuously drive down this time. After every incident, the question inevitably becomes: “Can we do better next time?” A critical aspect of this is getting the right data into the right hands as quickly as possible.

IT teams today rely heavily on collaboration systems to inform and communicate. Other complex tools, such as ITSM platforms, are used to track and facilitate the management of the many application and infrastructure systems relied on by their users. Webhooks are simply an automated and lightweight method of sending alerts between applications or other IT systems. With ThousandEyes’ new and powerful webhooks, customers can send alerts to any third-party system they prefer, whether that is Slack, Microsoft Teams, Splunk, Webex, or any other system that supports webhooks. 

The enhanced flexibility with ThousandEyes Custom Webhooks gives customers simplified yet very granular control in defining what data is sent from an alerting perspective. IT operators now have the ability to add dynamic variables and fully customize the alert data that is sent to help better triage issues, route to the appropriate teams, define severity, and even add runbooks. 

By simplifying the configuration process with our Custom Webhooks, IT teams can drastically reduce the management overhead and the time it takes to deploy third-party tool integrations. With this new centralized view, you can see all of your ThousandEyes integrations in one place and easily assign them to multiple tests.

Flexibility and Simplicity With Custom Webhooks

The configuration of ThousandEyes Custom Webhooks lives in a new Alerts sub-menu in the UI called Integrations. All Custom Webhook information will be here, simplifying the management of all of your integrations. 

Figure-1-ThousandEyes-Custom-Webhooks-Integrations.jpg

To create a new integration, the process is very straightforward. See here for the full documentation on this feature. Now, we’ll walk you through the basics of the configuration. 

To get started, click the New Integration button at the top right to open a new integration configuration window.

Figure-2-ThousandEyes-Custom-Webhooks-New-Integrations.jpg

Here, you’ll first need to populate some initial key fields: a name for your integration, the URL of your destination webhook or third-party server, and the type of authentication needed for the third-party system to accept the webhook. ThousandEyes supports the options of no authentication, basic username and password, token, and OAuth code authentication methods, so you’ll want to choose the appropriate method for your third-party system.

Figure-3-Add-Custom-Webhooks-Integration-ThousandEyes.jpg

You can start by selecting a Preset Configuration from the pulldown menu. This will load a configuration template that is pre-built to work with certain specific third-party integrations. Currently, a template is provided for Slack, Splunk, AppDynamics, Microsoft Teams, and Webex by Cisco. This greatly simplifies the configuration for these specific integrations as the pre-built templates are designed to work with the syntax that these third-party tools expect. You also have the option to select a customizable generic template to work with any other third-party tool that supports webhooks.

Figure-4-Preset-Configurations-ThousandEyes-Custom-Webhooks.jpg

The power of customization comes into play with the ability to configure the data sent with each alert. There are three areas of customization here. The first area for customization is the Headers, where key-value pairs can be added to the alert header, such as Alert ID or any other desired variable. Note that the Headers field contains key/value pairs that make up the webhook’s HTTP header and functions as metadata for the webhook.

Figure-5-ThousandEyes-Custom-Webhooks-Headers.jpg

The second area of customization is the URL Query Parameters, which are the parameters appended to a URL and designed to help define content or actions taken when integrating into a third-party system.

Figure-6-ThousandEyes-Custom-Webhooks-URL-Query-Parameters.jpg

Lastly, there is the Body field, where you can define the data sent in the body of the alert itself. The Body uses JSON format and can include static or dynamic key/value pairs. You can type directly into the Body text box to customize the payload of your webhook to meet your integration needs. This field also features auto-complete, which will help show you available variables and datatypes that can be added in.

Once the integration is configured, the new Integrations sub-menu makes adding alert rules to your new integrations very easy without leaving this screen.

Figure-7-ThousandEyes-Custom-Webhooks-Splunk-Integration.jpg

Below is an example configuration of a ThousandEyes integration with Splunk.

Figure-8-ThousandEyes-Custom-Webhooks-Splunk-Integration.png

Below is an associated example view of ThousandEyes alerts as seen in Splunk with webhook integration.

Figure-9-ThousandEyes-Custom-Webhooks-Alerts-Splunk-Integration.png


Click here to watch a brief video showing a demonstration of the new ThousandEyes Custom Webhooks with an integration with Splunk.

Conclusion

There is a strong business need to improve IT operations as this is often tied to the monetary cost of performance impacts and outages. The goal of such operational tools that support this is to continuously reduce the time to restore digital services and to quickly remediate performance hits to applications and infrastructure. 

There’s a reason we refer to this as ITOps ecosystems, as it’s recognized by IT leaders that no tool or platform can afford to be an island in today’s highly demanding environment. Concepts such as “single pane of glass” or “automated incident response” are implemented in an attempt to gain the needed operational efficiency and to improve the cost effectiveness of individual solutions by uplifting their collective capabilities. 

“Together we are stronger” is therefore the motto of ITOps architects and, in light of this, integration between tools is absolutely crucial. This is necessary to ensure not just full visibility of our applications and their performance, but also that every IT operations tool and platform is partaking in the bigger picture of improving the reliability and uptime of our deployed apps and services. 

ThousandEyes helps teams to quickly identify performance fault location and service ownership; other processes are needed to ensure that the alert notifications get to those that need them and that the integrated third-party systems get the right data to best help those tasked with resolving the issue. A fully integrated IT ecosystem can be achieved with the help of our new ThousandEyes Custom Webhooks.

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