I rarely do specific partner or vendor promotion, but this time going to do small exception. Many SharePoint people know Steve Peschka by name from while back and I used to work with him on numerous projects, like with the SP2013 readiness materials for developers and IT pro’s. Steve is one of those guys who are absolutely honest and always highly helpful for others. I personally consider him as one of biggest influencer and mentors during my own journey in Microsoft.
Steve jumped away from the Microsoft wagon while back, but did not go far. He has still continued sharing his wisdom with his Share-n-Dipity Blog. blog and has released a free tool for Office 365 customers to monitor their tenant availability for free. This is really great tool for any customer using Office 365 from monitoring perspective. Obviously we hope and target not to have actual service breaks in the Office 365, but since we are talking about IT systems created by humans, there can be some unexpected situations, which are important to know about.
As you all know, a frustrating problem for cloud customers is that you are at the mercy of the Service Providers to know of any outages. The Service Provider may not know of an outage affecting your tenancy, may not post notifications on their service portals timely or frequently enough - and you are helpless fielding calls from frustrated users. I have seen this happen at multiple customers during outages.
There is a new freemium product designed to help you with these issues called Office365Mon that provides you with health information for your Office365 Tenancy. You can check it out at office365mon.com
What’s the product?
The product provides 24×7 monitoring of SharePoint Online Sites and Exchange Online Mailboxes that are hosted in Office 365. It simulates end-user actions periodically, watching for any degradation in service health. The product sends you email and text-based alerts if it detects any problems. This keeps you in the know of your tenant’s health, before users call and even before Office 365 updates its Service Health portal.
In addition to the monitoring and notification, there are both reports and APIs you can use with the Office365Mon service. Basic reports are also included for free and give you a view into the outages your tenant resources have had, the recent health checks that were issued to it, monthly average response time, etc. You also get a free “My Info” page, which provides you a complete overview of the health of your tenant. Office365Mon recently announced a partnership with Microsoft to be an early adopter of a new Office 365 Service Communications API. By integrating that you can go to one page and see your basic subscription info, the current online status of your services based on Office365Mon monitoring, the health status of all of your Office 365 services, down to the feature level according to Microsoft, the latest messages that Microsoft has made available to your Service Health Dashboard, and your current monthly availability for your tenant services. Here’s a screenshot of all of that data in the My Info page:
If you sign up for the Premium Features you get access to the Advanced Reports, which are a set of graphical reports for your outage history, recent performance history, monthly availability and downtime, and outage reasons. It also includes access to a reporting API that can be used to manually download reporting CSV files or programmatically retrieve report data as CSV or JSON. There is an additional API that can be used to for managing your Office365Mon subscription – who the subscription admins are, what text phone numbers or email addresses are notified in the case of outages, what resources are being monitored, etc.
All of the product features can be managed via the web site at https://office365mon.com, and it’s also mobile friendly so it works really well on a phone or tablet as well. One other thing – the service lets you have multiple subscriptions so it works great if you’re an Office 365 reseller and you want to turn on monitoring for your customers.
Who’s the Product For?
The works for anyone who wants to keep a tab on the service health of their tenant or that of a customer they work with.
- Service Engineer in IT who’s responsible for day to day operations
- Helpdesk Professional who wants to keep a tab on general service issues
- Support Engineer who is working with a given Office 365 customer regarding their reliability issues
- Reseller who wants to know the health of the tenancies they sold
- Consulting professional working on an Office 365 solution
- Sales Specialist to ensure their demo tenancies are in top shape ahead of critical customer briefings
- Super user at your company who is typically first to help your colleagues on their tech problems
- All-around admin at the small business who takes care of everything from sales to IT
How Do You Get Started?
The product is intended to be super easy to sign-up and get started. You sign in with the same account you use to sign into Office 365. The site lets you know what all you need to provide to get your subscription minimally configured. It also implements checks for you along the way – if you add a new notification address, it sends an email to it right away to verify it works. When you add a mailbox to monitor, it validates that it can connect to it right away and lets you know if there are any problems. Once everything is minimally configured it starts issuing health probes within a couple of minutes. It also has a set of links at the top of the page that you can start using right away to see how your tenant is doing.
If you would like to learn more about the specifics of how Office365Mon performs Authentication and Authorization, see this post.
Easy Office 365 Monitoring for Free
There aren’t a lot of free things these days, but all of the basic monitoring, alerting and reporting are free for life at Office365Mon. It’s easy to use and quick to set up. If you want to stay on top of the health of your Office 365 tenant spend two minutes and set up a free subscription.