New features in Azure Application Insights Metrics Explorer

Gepost op 7 december, 2016

Program Manager, Application Insights

Over the past weeks, Application Insights Metrics Explorer introduced several new features that allow more options for visualizing metrics, and simplify chart configuration. This includes new percentage aggregation charts, pinning standard and custom grids to dashboards, ability to control over y-axis boundaries of the charts, and sorting basic and advanced configuration options in chart settings.

Percentage aggregation charts

In many cases the actual value of a segmented metric is not as important as how it compares to the other values in the group. For example, you might want to visualize the percentage of the failed vs. successful requests, where they would sum up to 100%, instead of looking at the raw counts. Or you might want to see the percentage number of the HTTP requests handled by each server instance. To make it possible, we introduced a new percentage aggregation type, allowing users to switch between “Average” and “Average (%)”, “Sum” and “Sum (%)”, etc. Below is a sample chart that is based on the percentage aggregation:

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To configure percentage aggregation, you need to turn on grouping, and select percentage aggregation from the Aggregation dropdown selector of chart settings:

 

Percentage Aggregation and Grouping

Hiding less commonly used advanced settings, unless the user really wants to see them

A common feedback that we caught from new Application Insights users is that there are too many options in the chart settings pane. Some of these options are quite advanced but critical for the experienced users. Mixing basic and advanced options resulted in frustration for the new users who could not identify the essential settings and thus could not configure the charts the way they wanted. What did we do? A new checkbox on top of chart configuration now allows filtering basic and advanced settings. New users are looking at a simpler view. As the user becomes more proficient with metrics explorer, he can add advanced settings by checking the box on top of the chart details dialog:

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Pinning Metrics Explorer grids to Azure dashboards

In the past, you could pin metrics explorer charts to dashboards. Now in addition to pinning charts, you can also pin grids. This small but very useful icon lets you customize your dashboards with those metrics that are better represented in a grid format:

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Ability to freeze lower and upper boundaries of the y-axis on the charts

Freezing y-axis of the charts becomes important when looking at smaller fluctuations of larger values. For example, when the volume of successful requests drops from 99.99% to 99.5%, it may represent a significant reduction in the quality of service. But from the charting perceptive, noticing a small numeric value fluctuation would be difficult or even impossible. With the new option, you can freeze the lowest boundary of the chart to 99%, which would make this small drop more apparent. Another example can be a fluctuation in the available memory, where the value will technically never reach 0, so fixing the range to a higher value may make the drops in available memory easier to spot. The two charts below duplicates the same metric but with and without fixed y-axis boundary:

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To freeze the y-axis boundaries, you need to check advanced settings and specify the desired range under the Y-axis range section of the chart details dialog:

Y-axis range settings