Webcast Fridays are 20-30 minute presentations every other Friday that show off some of the more interesting work we do hoping you will find it informative and inspiring.

I have the honor - and pleasure? - of kicking off our first ever Webcast Friday. I show a couple of ways I use Tableau to analyze web traffic from Apache. The real benefit of using Tableau here is that I can easily spot trends or track issues that may be affecting our hosted sites. This has been an after-hours project of mine for some time, so I'm excited to finally talk about it. 

The Need for Speed ... to Data

There are several ways to track web data for your hosted sites. For some people, Google Analytics is enough. But if you want to track your web data directly from Apache, you'd usually have to parse through boring log files. And most times, you don't need to get that intensive. You just need a quick, high-level overview of your traffic - not to mention something that's visual. Tableau seemed like a great tool to achieve this.

On the webcast, I show a few dashboards depicting web traffic from some of our hosted sites. These dashboards may not be the cleanest or the prettiest, but I set them up just to get the information I need in a quick manner. The first two views show us bandwidth on our server and all of the calls being made to our websites. The next dashboards dig a little deeper into what's happening on specific sites and pages as well as where these issues are originating. 

These different views help us to identify and investigate anomalies, be it brute force attacks or even a simple content boom from a popular blog post. We can also see the different types of requests, bandwidth consumption from specific users and pages, how fast our pages are loading and more. To sum it up, these Tableau dashboards do a great job of providing the quick overview we need to identify and resolve issues with greater speed.

Catch the Next Webcast Friday!

Webcast Fridays is a new, bi-weekly occurring video series for us! You can catch the videos live every other week, or you can find them posted here on the blog. If you have a subject you'd like us to talk about, feel free to let us know in the comments. Until next time.