Welcome to Blackfire: A rookie agent’s guide for organization owners and admins

By Thomas di Luccio, on Jun 21, 2023

This post marks the beginning of a series designed to guide you through your initial days with Blackfire. Our objective is to help all types of users within your organization to adapt quickly and seamlessly. Today’s installment is specifically tailored for organization owners like you. If you were granted admin rights on the whole Blackfire organization, this post is also for you. Upcoming posts will cover other use cases.

By purchasing a Blackfire subscription, you’ve taken a significant step in improving the performance of your application by putting an observability strategy in place. We couldn’t be more excited to help you on this journey. 

As an organization owner, your primary objective is to ensure that your teams have access to everything they need to use Blackfire fully. You might not be the one actually using the product on a day-to-day basis. But if you are using  Blackfire daily, stay tuned—an upcoming installment will also help you get started on that front.

Organization and environments

First, let’s clarify a couple of words used in the product and its documentation: organization and environment.

An organization is bound to a subscription. It provides the specific features you purchase to one or more users and within one or more environments. You could own multiple organizations or be part of multiple ones. This is commonly the case for agencies using an organization per customer. They could either own those organizations or have access to the ones controlled by their customers.

An environment could be seen as a collaborative bucket of data. The collected observability data (monitoring traces, profiles, test results …) are sent to a specific environment to provide an accurate picture of the health of a specific application.  

Multiple users could access a specific environment to collaboratively improve the performance of the related applications and share information. A good practice is to have one Blackfire environment per application and development environment (development, staging, production).

Your priority: Access management

Your mission agent 00wner, should you accept it, is to invite all the users needed to your Blackfire organization. Blackfire has an extensive Access Management feature designed for this (for more information, here’s a blog post about it, and some documentation.)

New organization members can be added through a form. Then, dedicated members can be granted organization-wide roles: Admin or billing manager.

Admins have the same level of permissions as the owner. Yet, only the owner can delete an organization. The organization admins (admin and owner) automatically get the highest possible permissions on all the organization’s environments.

Granting admin permissions to one or more people ensures that you don’t get to be the single point of failure if you’re unable to take action one day and let your team manage their observability setups.

Managing subscriptions and billing

The billing managers are not taking any paying seats. They can manage the subscription, billing details, and access all the invoices. Billing managers, admins, and the owner can manage the subscription by going on the Organization Billing settings page. There, they can upgrade or downgrade their plan, purchase options such as add-ons, or top-up their monitoring quota. All the invoices are automatically listed at the bottom of this page.

Making the work collaborative with environments  

Once the permissions are set at the organization level, it’s time to get the work started with environments. The owner and organization admins can create environments to organize their observability work. Self-service customers can purchase more environments by checking their Organization Billing settings page. Platform.sh Observability Suite customers have as many Blackfire environments as hosting ones.

Now that your Blackfire environments are set up, it’s time to get back to your mission. Remember agent 00wner. Your not-so-secret objective is to manage access and make sure everyone working on performance can efficiently access Blackfire.

At the environment level, Blackfire Access Management lets you grant contributor and manager access:

  • The contributors can use monitoring and generate profiles on the environment. They can view other members’ access levels and usage data for the environment.
  • The managers have the ability to configure the environment, invite members, and configure their access levels on top of the contributor’s permissions.

The rationale behind this fine level of access management is to blend together your workflow and permission hierarchies. We want to ensure operations can run steadily without being in a situation where the person in charge is out sick and unavailable.

Manage teams in a click (of a mouse, not an exploding pen)

Your mission, agent 00wner, is nearly done. One question remains if you have large teams working on multiple applications. You, or any organization admins, may not want to lose too much time granting, and revoking individual accesses over time.

Blackfire Access Management lets you create teams, then manage their attribution in a click. You could create teams for your developers, Q&A engineers, and even accountants. Then, once a new person joins a company (or leaves), their access can be easily controlled.

See you next mission

And with that, we wrap up our first installment of your journey with Blackfire. I hope you gained a clear understanding of your priorities as an owner or organization admin starting with Blackfire.

Stay tuned for our next posts, which will delve deeper into our features and on the first days of managers and contributors. 

In the meantime, we encourage you to join the conversation on our Slack channel, follow us on Twitter, and engage with the community on Reddit

Welcome aboard, and here’s to achieving great things together with Blackfire!

Happy Performance Optimization!

Thomas di Luccio

Thomas is a Developer Relations Engineer at Platform.sh for Blackfire.io. He likes nothing more than understanding the users' needs and helping them find practical and empowering solutions. He’ll support you as a day-to-day user.