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Learn why and how you can effectively monitor SaaS applications.

Monitoring SaaS Applications with Datadog

Learn why and how you can effectively monitor SaaS applications.
5
min read
|
by
Mike Christensen
November 2, 2023

What is a SaaS application?

Software as a Service (SaaS) is a licensing model where software is licensed on a subscription basis, allowing users to connect to the application remotely over the internet. SaaS applications are hosted by a third party, so the user typically doesn’t have to install, update, or maintain any infrastructure, hardware, or software. Some commonly used SaaS applications are Salesforce, Microsoft O365, Zoom, and even Datadog itself.

Why monitor SaaS applications?

As organizations increasingly replace critical functions of their business with SaaS applications, a need arises to monitor these applications to ensure business continuity.  Sometimes, monitoring SaaS applications can seem like a black box where you typically can’t install traditional monitoring software.

Although SaaS vendors usually have SLAs and we hope that they have their own monitoring configured; imagine a scenario where we have a critical application that goes down and the first to notice is your user base. Here is what we are trying to avoid - your end users seeing a problem before you or your monitoring tools do.

How to monitor SaaS applications with Datadog

  • Prioritize your SaaS applications based on your business needs
    If one user isn’t able to access the application, how big of an impact to your business is it? How about one hundred, or one thousand users? Make the most of your time and focus your efforts where it matters most.
  • Collect data on your SaaS application:
    Start by checking Datadog Integrations. Datadog has a number of pre-built integrations for SaaS platforms that they themselves have created or others, like RapDev, have added via the Datadog Marketplace. I always say to utilize this as your first option, because integrations will typically have best practices in mind and can include things like pre-built dashboards and monitors that are specific to the SaaS application you are trying to monitor.
    Check your SaaS vendor for URLs or APIs that can be monitored with Datadog synthetics. Some SaaS vendors provide endpoints that can be used to collect status and performance data and Datadog has different types of synthetics that allow you to monitor APIs. They are both easy to configure and very useful for detecting problems quickly and cheaply. Datadog Synthetic API tests allow you to monitor simple API calls from response codes or bodies to SSL certificates. Browser synthetics can provide coverage for more complex scenarios by allowing you to record a transaction and monitor it on a schedule. Datadog has locations across the globe you can use to run synthetics, as well as having the option to host a synthetics “private location” in your network.
    Check your SaaS vendor for other ways of monitoring the platform. Some Saas vendors provide things like RSS feed alerts or email notifications that can be ingested by Datadog. You can ingest RSS feed events into Datadog with the RSS integration, which allows you to keep using Datadog as your single pane of glass for observability.
  • Utilize your observability data
    Dashboards: Create dashboards to visualize your data over time. With Datadog, you can create template dashboards that you can filter by tags. Dashboards can help visualize different data points historically, all on a single view.
    Monitors: Alert you when things go wrong. It is imperative to define who responds to alerts and what action they should take. Sometimes when you are monitoring a SaaS application, typical actions like looking into the infrastructure or logs may not be available. At a minimum, define an escalation path to the SaaS vendor. Keeping monitors in Datadog will allow you utilize existing workflows for alert destinations like Pagerduty, Slack, and ServiceNow.

Still need help monitoring a SaaS application?

RapDev has worked directly with customers to create Datadog integrations for SaaS applications critical to their business. Examples of this include Microsoft Teams, Terraform Cloud, Github, Spacelift, Zoom, and Office365. For a full list of RapDev integrations, visit the Datadog Marketplace or our Products Overview page

Written by
Mike Christensen
Michigan, MI
DevOps Engineer with a passion for containers, cloud infrastructure, monitoring, security and application management. Being from Chicago and currently residing in Michigan, I aim to bring "Midwest nice" to DevOps.
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