One of the most important things for any site is reliability and performance, to ensure the users are getting the best experience when accessing the site. The goal of monitoring is real-time visibility into the health and performance of the application in order to minimize the time it takes to discover and resolve a problem. HCL Commerce enables real-time monitoring and metrics through a framework that also includes Grafana dashboards to display the Commerce metrics.

Monitoring Framework:

There are three parts to the monitoring framework. The first is a fully customizable presentation layer that enables you to use your preferred tools to report and analyze your systems’ performance. The second, the Prometheus toolkit, provides flexibility for the presentation layer to be vendor neutral. It is considered an industry-standard data-representation language. Finally, Prometheus gets its data from the fully customizable Micrometer library, which “scrapes” the data from your containers.

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Presentation Layer:

Since HCL uses the Grafana for reporting in our internal testing, we have provided these dashboards out of the box. They are available for download here and can be used when setting up your reporting dashboards for 9.1 Commerce Site. They are easily imported into Grafana to use “as is” or can be customized as needed. Grafana is deployed with Prometheus Operator and extends Prometheus’ basic charting capabilities. Most applications that support Prometheus also make Dashboards available like Redis, Nginx, Kubernetes and Kafka to name a few which can be found here.

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The Commerce Grafana dashboards include, Java, Rest Performance, Cache, Ingest and Store among others.

To demonstrate the dashboards, we did a small 50 user test to show how they can be used. We can monitor the state of the JVMs on any pod, by monitoring the CPU, Threads and Memory. It is easy to see if a problem arises with any of the JVMs in our Commerce Kubernetes Environment.

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Java Detailed Metrics example

One of the most important metrics is the ability to monitor cache utilization as it will have a direct impact on the performance of a site. With HCL Cache, you have the ability to have local cache and remote caching with Redis. Here you can see an example of one of the dashboards that shows local cache. It allows you to drill down into specific caches and monitor size and hit/miss ratio. You can use the Redis dashboard to monitor the remote cache.

 

HCL Cache example

Another important metrics for performance is Rest performance. Since the implementation of Docker, most of the calls from storefront to backend services is via REST API calls. Being able to monitor their performance is critical to a successful site. As you can see, using the metric endpoints, we are able to see the type of REST calls made as well as the response time.

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Rest Performance example

Prometheus:

Prometheus is a popular monitoring framework that is widely adopted by many monitoring tools. It is part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. Prometheus is a standard metric exposition format and a database to store metrics. One of the biggest advantages of using Prometheus framework is that you are not constrained by a single reporting tool. Most of the popular tools like Grafana, New Relic and others provide support for the Prometheus format. It uses a simple “text based” metric format: name{ label=value label=value}. 9.1 Commerce uses Prometheus Helm Chart

Prometheus metrics are the base for the OpenMetrics standard that is supported by several vendors. Scrapers automatically add labels to help identify the source:
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Micrometer monitoring:

HCL Commerce uses Micrometer libraries to scrape data from each container that is enabled with a metric endpoint. All the containers within Commerce environment can be enabled for metrics and are enabled by default when using Commerce Helm Chart. Metrics can also be easily implemented from custom code. There are numerous predefined meters available, but one of the main advantages is the ability for users to customize and add their own meters. Timers, Gauges and Counters are all configurable and customizable to allow for monitoring on specific events and resources. For more information on enabling metrics in Commerce, please see Knowledge Center

As you can see the implementation of metrics in Commerce allows for real-time visibility into the health and performance of the site. HCL Commerce provides sample Grafana dashboards that can be used to help monitor your site. They show how the implementation of metrics can be utilized when setting up your monitoring reporting tool.

 

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Further Reading
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Marketing & Commerce | March 5, 2021
Overview of HCL Commerce Content Manager
Every major release of HCL Commerce must have 3 WOWs designed to deliver value to our customers. We group these WOWs into categories - World-Class Experiences, Optimized Merchandising and Cloud Native. Today’s example is part of World-Class Experiences and our new HCL Commerce Content Manager capabilities. In our recent (9.1.4.0 and 9.1.5.0) releases, we enhanced our headless React based Reference Storefronts, EmeraldPlus (B2C) and SapphirePlus (B2B) with an embedded Content Management System (CMS). All the sample data necessary to support these storefronts has been loaded into the Content and Digital Asset Management system so that business users can take control of the store experience. EmeraldPlus (B2C)                                                     SapphirePlus (B2B) Let’s clarify a few terms before we dive in. Digital Assets – these would be your product images, attribute swatches, marketing content images, documents and videos. Web Content – this would be an assembled home hero image. The content would include the background from your digital assets, plus some overlay text as well as a call-to-action button perhaps. E-Marketing Spots – these are spots on a page where you can display content, products, etc. using the HCL Commerce Management Center. The EmeraldPlus and SapphirePlus reference storefronts display elements in E-Marketing Spots. Integrated Marketing Content Tools: From within HCL Commerce Management Center, we have added a menu item for “Content”. This is where you will launch in to either the Digital Asset or Web Content modules, depending on the task you are working on. We’ve also simplified logins by providing Single Sign-on capabilities to preserve user authentication when working with both tools. Within the Marketing tool of Management Center, we have created a new content type called...
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Marketing & Commerce | March 5, 2021
How Search Powers the Future of Commerce
Recently I have been working with Ray Wang, Principle Analyst and Founder of Constellation Research on a thought leadership report on Search called How Search Powers the Future of Commerce. The report highlighted the key strategies leaders should take to enhance their search to drive real business benefits like: 35% more page views 41% more customer time spent on site 49% higher add-to-cart rate Ray’s perspective is always insightful and the more we talk, the more I learn. Add to the mix one of the resident HCL Commerce experts, Brian Gillespie, Director of Product Marketing, I feel I am taking a fast track to understanding both the business and the technical side of search. However, you too can benefit from their knowledge. HCL is hosting a fireside style chat with Ray and Brian on March 9 at 10am ET and you are welcome to join in the fun. Will it be the Battle of the Titans or will they align on their thinking? Whichever it is, I promise it will be fun, with not a single PowerPoint slide in sight. We will have deep discussions on the key topics like personalization and search in the customer journey; Is the hype about AI real? And where should you focus your efforts on search to beat your competitors? Not only that, we will go rapid fire with questions at the end to keep Ray and Brian on their toes. If your business partners are asking for help: Understanding the customer. Looking for ways to make better business decisions in merchandising products. Engaging the customer in new ways like voice and image search. Learning from every interaction instead of relying on rules! Register Now or Watch On-Demand after March 9, 2021. It promises to be one of the hottest sessions in 2021.  
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Marketing & Commerce | February 9, 2021
Finding Friction in the Shopping Funnel with HCL Unica Discover
We’ve all been there. You’re shopping online for something you need – that perfect gift for Mother’s Day, or even something as mundane as your groceries, and something goes wrong. Search is taking forever, the pick-up calendar isn’t working right on your phone, or maybe it’s just a big fat error message. So irritating, right? And what do you do when you get fed up with all the problems? You abandon and probably don’t go back! Now flip it around. You’re running an eCommerce site and now you’re the one causing problems! At least, that’s how your customers see it. So, what do you do to help them? What do you do to make sure that everyone is getting the best possible experience? Simple, you go back to your kindergarten lessons and follow the Golden Rule. Remember your own bad experiences as a shopper and make sure your customers don’t run into the same ones. “Think of shopping cart abandonment as the flip side of the customer engagement coin” Once you’ve committed to “what” you need to do, now you just need to learn “how” to do it. This is the challenging part but think of it like a game and you can have fun turning all of those frowns upside down! First, think of shopping cart abandonment as the flip side of the customer engagement coin. Everything you do to optimize engagement reduces abandonment and everything you do that contributes to abandonment will ultimately reduce your customer engagement (and loyalty). One solid tactic is to implement tooling that provides both quantitative and qualitative insights across the customer journey on each of your digital shopping touchpoints. It’s like x-ray glasses for your apps. Similar to the visibility that a business analytics platform provides, a customer experience analytics solution can give...
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