Application Performance Management (APM) solutions have been around for just over a decade. Unfortunately due to their high price tag the only organisations who benefited from APM in the last decade were large enterprises that had millions to spend. Today, things are a little different with solutions like AppDynamics who are changing the game so everyone can afford and benefit from APM. We’re making APM affordable for everyone but thats just one part of the story, we’re actually making APM easy to deploy and easy to use for anyone.
The problem is that everyone in the business and IT has different skill sets and backgrounds, but they all need to be on the same page when it comes to understanding why an application is running slow or down. Managing apps is a team sport, its not about individuals, its about communication and collaboration. Just like San Francisco Giants proved this week in the world series, everyone played their part from the pitcher to the panda.
APM Intelligence for Everyone
At AppDynamics we’re laser focused on making our solution easy to use for everyone no matter whether you’re a first time user, APM novice or APM ninja. Our new role based access control (RBAC) capability in 3.6 means the right users now get access to the right features and information, so they’re not overwhelmed by data they don’t understand, or have context into. We want to give business users access to dashboards and reports and hide the low-level macro view which developers require for root-cause analysis. Everyone these days thinks monitoring is about collecting the right data or metrics, its actually more about presenting data in a context that people can understand so they can make smarter decisions on fact rather than emotion.
Simplified User Interface
In 3.6 we simplified user navigation by 30% and several views by as much as 90%, which is a pretty big leap considering our previous user interface wasn’t exactly complex. A key design consideration for 3.6 was actionable data, presenting data in a way that makes it easy for anyone to understand so they can communicate effectively with teams. We dropped terminology and labels that we’d previously invented and replaced them with standard industry terminology to describe information that users are familiar with. For example, if you want to troubleshoot slow response times, you click on the view “Slow Response Times” and you see all the slowest business transactions in your application, one click then shows you how those transactions actually flow and perform across your application infrastructure, one more click then shows you their code execution so you can pinpoint the root cause. We could have made this troubleshooting process more complicated, just so you feel a sense of accomplishment drilling-down through thousands of metrics and views…but we didn’t because we think other vendors do a pretty good job at doing that already. Simple is scalable, the more users that understand and benefit from APM the bigger the impact APM will have on their business.
The End of Alert Storming
We also made a giant leap in 3.6 with user notifications, providing a single unified event console that is now personal to each user. Users can now pick what events and alerts they want to see in AppDynamics, so they’re only informed when something relevant happens in the application that impact their responsibility. For example, developers can get notified of code deadlock in production, infra support can be notified if the servers are maxing out on CPU and business users can be notified if their key business processes and transactions are being impacted. If events aren’t relevant to the users who receive them they are nothing but noise and crap – they actually make IT less productive because no-one takes any notice of what lands in their inbox.
Make AppDynamics Viral in your Organization
Imagine your in charge of a brand new monitoring solution in your company, and suddenly you get 50 users e-mailing you for access to it. Now imagine you work in a large enterprise and 2,000 users want access to your new shiny tool – pop quiz hotshot what do you do? Well, you could spend the next 2 weeks sleeping in the office manually creating user accounts, delegating the right access, permissions and features to each of your users. Or you could simply just point your monitoring solution to your existing LDAP or SAML provider so it can authenticate, authorise and map relevant roles and permissions for each of your users. Its the difference between 2 weeks and 2 minutes of configuration. With AppDynamics 3.6 we now deliver out-of-the-box integration with LDAP and SAML so you can provision AppDynamics user accounts in seconds and go viral! This works both for on-premise and SaaS deployments using industry standard protocols for user directories.
X-Ray Visibility for Asynchronous and Multi-Threaded Transactions
The majority of business transactions in mission-critical applications these days are still synchronous from a users perspective. Users send a request, wait, and get a response back from the application. What’s perhaps not apparent in many cases is that some business transactions can actually spawn several asynchronous processes in the background, or use multi-threading to reduce latency and improve concurrent processing. For example, you might visit a travel website and perform a flight search, or you might use a price comparison site to compare prices for a product. In both scenarios a single business transaction will spawn several asynchronous child transactions to contact the different airlines, booking engines or product retailers. Some will complete fast, some will be slow and others may not return a response at all. If you support an application like this then you want to see which asynchronous and multi-threaded transactions are contributing to the overall end user experience for the originating business transaction.
With AppDynamics 3.6 you now can, with complete visibility into asynchronous transactions and the underlying code execution of any associated threads. It’s pretty cool stuff and we’ve already seen several customers use this new capability to find bottlenecks they never knew existed in their application. Remember, you can only manage what you can see, as a result we’re pretty stoked about this new feature, no other vendor provide this type of visibility right now in production at the thread level.
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