Saturday, October 16, 2010

What's happening on my site?

My internet site has a series of close to real-time dashboards showing, among other things, internet activity on my site. It is primarily meant as a demonstration tool, but it has prooved useful to me in quickly seeing what's happing on my site (and my servers, since there is also a Perfmon dashboard).

Interesting, over the last couple of weeks, I have seen some suspicious looking referrers from Russia. You can probably still see them on the default dashboard on See the Top Referrers table on the bottom. At the moment the top referrer includes "buy" at the top, and there are a few more suspicious ones lower down. I am used to seeing Google, Bing or my blogspot compete for the top spot.

It's great with Microsoft PerformancePoint dashboards that you can dynamically drill down the table as an ad hoc cube browsing tool. I have drilled down to see the pages from the referrer, the http command (HEAD), the ip address, http return code etc. See picture. You can do this too, simply right click on the chart and take the direction you want. A tip; click the triangle at the top right of the chart and open in a new window to see the chart/grid on a new page.

Although this activity is suspicious, and might represent a potentially malicious attack, it doesn't appear to have had much success. Or perhaps all it wanted to do was populate my logs.

In any case, I feel that the dashboard has shown the value of processing logs and providing an easy and intuitive dashboard to this information. Everyone who has an internet site should have access to information on the site's activity. Also, many of the off-the-shelf web analytic tools only show you a subset of what is really happening. For example, I have Google Analytics, which are quite useful, although they only show me a subset of the activity, which doesn't include these referrers.

Wouldn't it be nice if Microsoft Windows included an install option that went something like

Would you like incoming http activity processed and kept in an OLAP cube for ad hoc browsing?

For more examples of online, close to real-time OLAP cubes and data mining models see

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