Root Cause Analysis

You just received a text message alert that your website is not responding properly. Good to know, but what is causing this?

A unique feature included in all CA App Synthetic Monitor professional website monitoring plans will help you find the answer: Root Cause Analysis.

What is Root Cause Analysis?

All monitoring issues found by CA App Synthetic Monitor are logged in the customer account and customers get alerted according to their settings and preferences. Although the information in the alert tells you what the problem is, a more detailed analysis, or Root Cause Analysis, can be helpful in determining the actual cause of the issue. The CA App Synthetic Monitor Root Cause Analysis functionality collects additional information just after the problem arises and makes it available through the customer "logs" dashboard. The screenshot on the left shows a logs page with an error including additional Root Cause Analysis information.

The screenshot on the right shows a view of the actual Root Cause Analysis information for a specific error that was triggered.

Root Cause Analysis icon in logs Root Cause Analysis details view

How does it work?

When an issue is found and has been confirmed by another monitoring station (if needed), the Root Cause Analysis is triggered.
Currently the Root Cause Analysis entails:

  • Perform a traceroute from two monitoring stations to find the actual routes that were used in the tests.
  • A screen dump (image) of the web page in question (for http-s monitors only) in two sizes.
  • The source HTML of the web page (for http-s monitors only) if available.
  • Relevant checks: results from previous and subsequent checks for the same monitor.
  • A detailed analysis of your domain name set-up.
  • DNS analysis from two monitoring stations to see if the host names are resolved properly.

In your logs you will find this icon Route Cause Analysis right next to the (confirmed) error pointing to the Root Cause Analysis report. Note that this icon will be present only for the first confirmed error in a straight sequence of errors. There is another icon that might appear indicating that the log file has additional information (e.g. for http/https, scripting, or dns/domain monitors) that looks like this Detailed analysis.

Real world examples

Root Cause Analysis for a website monitor

In this example a simple monitor for a website was triggered because the webserver returned an error response (Internal Server Error). Click on the icon below to inspect the full information available from the Root Cause Analysis.

Click to see Root Cause Analysis sample.

Root Cause Analysis for multi-step transaction monitoring

In this example a complex monitor monitoring the correct behaviour of an API was triggered because this API returned an unexpected response at the third step. Click on the icon below to inspect the full information available from the Root Cause Analysis.

Click to see Root Cause Analysis sample.

Give it a try!

Sign up for a free 30 day trial subscription, set up some monitors, and simply wait until errors and the Root Cause Analysis show up :-).