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FusionReactor 9 has been released, with improvements for Cloud and on-prem users

Great news for FusionReactor users: FR9 has been released. Those using it may have noticed they are getting a notification in the FR UI about the update.

This won't be an elaborated post on all that's new in FR9. That will need more than one post as some of the new features are substantial. Indeed, I will at least do a part 2 post with link for where you can find far more on what's new than you may readily find, in FR resources you might otherwise miss.

Instead in this part-1 post I just want to point out what's new (improved or fixed), and indicate what aspects apply to users only of the FR Cloud feature, and what aspects apply to users of the on-prem version as well. (I will also briefly explain the difference between those, for folks not aware.)

I'll also point to info on how to update FR (if you may not do it often), and finally discuss what resources do exist about FR 9, which again I will elaborate on in part 2.

1) Separating the features for on-prem vs cloud users

Before I discuss the new features, listing what applies to FR Cloud and what to on-prem, let me first distinguish those for folks not aware of the differences.

FR Cloud vs on-prem, in brief

First briefly, EVERYONE who uses FR has a FusionReactor on-prem (on-premises) implementation. That's the classic Java agent implemented within in your jvm, which may be implemented either manually or via the FR automated installer. (More on that distinction here.) To be clear, the on-prem agent does the metric gathering and offers the classic UI (such as at port 8088) which most FR users would be familiar with. The on-prem agent and UI also offer the FR production debugging feature, and also passes to the cloud FR profiles, event snapshots, logs, and much more.

As for FR Cloud, its separate from FR, and came out a few years ago. It's an option available to those running FR Enterprise or Ultimate (not Standard or Developer). With it, information from the on-prem implementation (that same agent above) is sent up to a cloud database (that the FR folks manage for you), where there is then a very different FR UI (and to be clear: both the UI and DB are accessible ONLY by you). The FR Cloud UI does indeed offer a LOT that's quite different, including some capabilities not possible in the On-prem UI (but the reverse is also true). And FR9 has added still more to the FR Cloud/SaaS interface and capabilities.

Update: In fact, the day I posted this entry (Sept 13, 2022), there was no single FR web site page or even doc page I could point to that really distinguished the two. I wished to, so I offered those couple of paragraphs, but I couldn't make this post be all about that distinction. :-) Well good news: the FR folks took that to heart and responded overnight by creating a new page that DOES distinguish between the two. Check it out:

FusionReactor On-prem APM vs SaaS APM

But I will leave here one more thing I'd said yesterday (which that page currently does not point to): for those currently running the FR On-prem license who may want to switch to Cloud, see this "migration" page. The process is not an actual "migration", other than of license keys. Let's move on.

The new/changed/fixed features, split for FR on-prem vs Cloud usage

So for now, I'm just going to take the bullet points from the release notes, and split them into my sense of what applies to those using FR on-prem (perhaps only that) versus those which apply to only those using FR Cloud. (Again, technically, if you use FR Cloud, you do ALSO have the on-prem implementation, whether you use its available UI or not.)

Some might argue, "Charlie, that's not helpful. I thought you were going to ELABORATE on the changes". Again, I said at the outset I would not, and to be clear this post is really first and foremost my attempt to help folks make sure they know there IS a new version. Other resources will come out and just SAY there's a new version and POINT to the release notes (and such resources pointing those out are indeed helpful.) I just wanted to do a LITTLE more than that in this post, regarding that list of features. I WILL point out in the last section here where and how you can find out MUCH more about these new features, whether as they exist now or as may come out in the near future as more people explore FR 9.
a) So with all that as preface, here are the features/changes/fixes that benefit only those using FR Cloud:

  • New Feature: Implement a Log shipper within FusionReactor
  • New Feature: Implement a log scraper within FusionReactor
  • Improvement: Allow customer to specify their own labels on logs
  • Improvement: Add a group tag to any log sent from the FusionReactor agent if system property is set
  • Improvement: Disable the shipping of FR agent generated logs by default and add options to send different types of logs with config
  • Bug: Prevent Synthetic Transactions Having a Negative Duration in the FusionReactor Cloud

Note that some of them MAY involve you configuring things in the on-prem UI or config files, to enable/manage them, but the only BENEFIT will be for those who see the results of that effort as presented in the FR cloud UI

Also, of interest to some to hear: there are even aspects of changes made in the FR Cloud UI that will benefit you even if you have NOT yet updated the FR on-prem agent to the new version. For instance, some of the new screens in the "dashboard" section will apply even to older FR versions (the logging aspects of the dashboard will only work for FR9 customers, I have been told).

b) And here are the features/changes/fixes that benefit those using FR On-prem (which is everyone using FR, including those using FR Cloud):

  • New Feature: Implement an Exception log with errors tracked on transactions
  • New Feature: Implement multiline log block rollup with Regex patterns
  • New Feature: Implement log obfuscation with Regex patterns
  • Improvement: Add UI control for switching on/off exception stack traces log
  • Improvement: Add UI control for switching on/off FusionReactor log
  • Bug: JDBC Date parameters aren't wrapped in quotes when passed in as Lucee cfqueryparam
  • Bug: Query parmaters (sic) are not obfuscated in Crash Protection emails

Again, see below for more (and more to come) ABOUT some of these features. And I do plan to do more elaboration in a future post. I just wanted to get this out ASAP. (Trust me: even just a "simple" post like this takes hours to write.)

Finally, note that the FR release notes preface each of those bullet points above with a number, which is for the FR ticketing system which is private. That can be helpful to some, sure, but I opted to leave them off for the sake of simplicity.

2) How to update to FR9

Now that you know what's new, you may be motivated to update to it (and I hope you will). Or perhaps you're on an older version than the last FR 8 update, 8.8.0, and you may want to consider now at least updating to that.

Good news is that if you are currently using FR, updating FR (whether for a point release or a major release like 9) is pretty easy.

How you do it depends on how you have implemented FR on your instance (of CF, Lucee, Tomcat, or any java app server or application). Note also that the upgrade is free, if you are on an FR subscription (which is all that's offered on the FR pricing page any more).

As for updating FR, I did a post on the topic in 2018. There I cover how to go about it, whether you implemented FR using the automated installer, or using the manual process (of "dropping in the fusionreactor.jar"), or if you may be using Commandbox (which has built-in and configurable support for updating FR within itself).

3) Where to find more info on FR 9

Finally, as I mentioned there are resources discussing what's new.

Many people would see only the FR release notes, a docs page that is updated whenever FR itself is update (new versions or point releases), but those are always VERY terse: mere bullet points. This is true even for FR 9 (which for now is technically 9.0.0).

Even if you saw that already, folks would be forgiven if they kind of yawned, either not finding what's mentioned to be too impressive (given the brevity), or thinking "well that's all about FR Cloud, and I don't currently use that". That's why I offered the split I do in the previous section. (And as I also discussed above, you may want to reconsider using FR Cloud if you have not, ESPECIALLY with these new features.)

Anyway, given that this is a new version (FR 9), there are indeed new docs pages about its new features. The most obvious place some may start is this what's new page. And you'd again be forgiven if you found it and thought "that's not much more than the release note bullets". But note there are indeed links below the bullets for two new doc pages, called "Introducing Dashboards" and "Introducing Log Monitoring", which are also reflected on the left of the docs page as sibling subsections, and worth your digging into right away, if you use or might consider FR Cloud. And those pages offer videos as well.

And there's even still more I have found that is NOT linked to from those pages. Again, in the part 2 of this post, I will elaborate on all the resources I've found about what's "new" in FR9, and I will update that as more may come, whether from the FR folks , myself, or others.

Until then, go forth and explore FR9, both what's new in the on-prem and in the cloud UIs (and more).

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