Why I Joined AppDynamics

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In his own words, Jonah Kowall describes why he chose to leave Gartner and join AppDynamics

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve accepted a role with AppDynamics as VP of Market Development and Insights, helping AppDynamics expand into new markets both in terms of addressing buyers and in additional areas where technology can be applied. At the same time, I will be running much of the public insights we’ll be focusing on as we expand. If you’re unfamiliar with my work, I’ve been a research VP at Gartner within the IT operations management team for the last four years, leading much of the research focused on availability and performance monitoring including leading both the APM Magic Quadrant and the Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics Magic Quadrant. After having spent my first week at AppDynamics, there is a lot going on to say the least. Things are moving very quickly here, and the amount of autonomy and free thinking is great. I was fortunate enough to know most of the executive and senior management well from my time at Gartner, making the transition easier than expected.

Continuing off of my blog post at Gartner, I was excited to have been following AppDynamics closely since the company was created, and have gotten a much deeper view into the company over my four years with Gartner. Being a technologist at heart, this posting is going to delve into some fundamental problems within monitoring. The fundamental issues I see with monitoring, both from my personal experiences and that I have heard regularly in discussions with end users, are these:

  1. Why do I have so many tools?
  2. Why do each of these tools only focus on one domain or silo?
  3. How come users tell me about service issues before I can detect them?
  4. Why does problem isolation take so long?

AppDynamics is the only company in the market today which seems to be interested and actually able to execute on solving these issues. Today, APM tools are helping with problems three and four when deployed properly (this is a topic for another blog post), but they clearly do not help with one or two in fact, they make it worse. They do solve short term pain easily, and when used strategically can prevent problems three and four. The vision and strategy of AppDynamics, if executed upon correctly, solves these issues. I’m here to help make that happen, not only because it needs to, but because the complexity in software and infrastructures will get much worse than it is today.

Today’s infrastructure monitoring tools are dated, hard to use, and detached from the business and application. By merging together unified monitoring and APM and creating a way to recognize and trace the business transaction across infrastructure, a tie from the end user through the components is finally possible. This not only means looking at transactional performance, but also component health. Other vendors in monitoring today focus above the infrastructure line (APM) or below the application line (infrastructure monitoring). That needs to change.

Using an advanced analytics engine, underpinned by open source technologies, which can run in the data center or in the cloud (SaaS), is a winning architecture. This will allow the solution set to have a common technology base leveraging a common data store, something industry analysts have been writing about for years, and yet allow it to be extensible beyond the specific data the monitoring tools generate and require to be analyzed. Analytics are only useful with context, and the most important context for digital businesses is the user. This is something CIOs are having trouble handling today —  trying to move closer to that user —  and providing the business context is what the movement towards digital business is all about. I look forward to this journey, and will be writing more often both for the technical APM users, and the CIOs who are struggling to handle our fast moving industry.