Voices of Unified APM—Part 4

Achieving business objectives

For decades, IT and the Business existed in separate spheres. IT kept the lights on and the computer systems humming, while the Business brought in revenue. But the increasing role played by software in every business function requires a new, collaborative relationship between IT and Business departments. AppDynamics’ customers said one of the biggest benefits of a unified APM is the common language it provides, allowing IT leaders and the Business owners to take action together to realize desired business outcomes.

Conversion rates and CPUs

Daniel Zavalza Torres, IT director of operations at BestDay Travel, described the disconnect that used to exist between his department and his business colleagues a few years ago. “I’d say, your CPU usage increased 80% because you are using document threading in the wrong manner,” and they’re like, ‘What?’ At the same time, they’d complain to me that the conversion rate had dipped 3%, and that information would be meaningless to me because I couldn’t correlate those two things,” Zavalza said. With AppDynamics, the correlation is automatic, and, better yet, Zavalza doesn’t have to explain how threading can affect CPU usage and subsequently, the conversion rate. All he needs to do is search for the slow business transaction and show his business colleague its impact. Everyone now understands that if users experience a lag of just a second, “it will be at a cost for the company,” Zavalza said.

Monitoring change requests

Adam Landau, senior technology officer at Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (PURE)  Insurance, said the White Plains-based, member-owned reciprocal insurance company originally deployed AppDynamics with two use cases in mind: improving the user experience and giving developers a way to measure the performance of their code before and after it was released. But as the team learned more about AppD’s ability to provide business analytics, that became a focus as well. “We are defining business transactions in AppDynamics so that a business user can now use the tool to understand the impact of a change they are requesting in the system,” Landau said. The neutral feedback provided by AppDynamics on whether a change has caused a performance problem fosters effective communication and leads to more productive working relationships.

Common ground with customers

Alfred Wan, senior director of service delivery and operations at SAP SuccessFactors, discovered an unanticipated benefit of AppDynamics soon after the solution was deployed. Part of Wan’s routine involved giving visiting customers a tour of the company’s Global Operations Center at its San Francisco headquarters. Wan was walking through the center with one of the company’s top ten biggest customers when the customer remarked they also used AppDynamics. Knowing they shared the same monitoring solution brought the companies closer together, Wan said. “The ability to have the same analytics that our customers are using, that’s huge,” he explained. “You can’t get that from any other tool. With AppDynamics, our customers see the same analytics that we see every day.”

Machine learning, AI, and unified APM

Adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies has made significant in-roads in recent years with roughly one in five companies now saying they have incorporated AI or machine learning in some areas of their businesses. Meanwhile, expectations are high across industries that new forms of machine intelligence will make work easier and companies more competitive. According to a survey by O’Reilly Media and MemSQL, 74% of respondents believed AI and machine learning would be a game changer. During the Global Tour, AppDynamics customers talked about the various ways AI and machine learning could be useful to their companies. They described scenarios such as end-user monitoring or introducing “self-healing” into IT systems. At the same time, some cautioned that a unified monitoring solution would be critical to ensure that the systems supporting AI were working properly.

Predicting the next action

Nick Mancuso, senior product manager at U.S. Bank, said his working relationship with artificial intelligence and machine learning is still “conceptual.” However, he could see AI being used to retain a customer. “A lot of AI would have to do with the customer experience,” he explained. “What are they experiencing on our apps? What are they experiencing on our website? How can we better predict what our customer is going to do next?”

Running IT with AI

Iain Mackenzie, vice president of performance engineering at Moody’s, predicted AI and machine learning will reduce complexity and make services more dependable. “We are looking at business service reliability,” he said. “We are looking to see how IT can help us run IT. You might call it AI ops or machine learning; I don’t care. If it can provide value, whether in the cloud, in a hybrid environment, or wherever we are, that’s what we will be looking for.”

Water safety with AI

Sandeep Chugh, senior application lead at Ecolab, said his company has been investing heavily in artificial intelligence. By developing the right algorithms and training them on the right data, Ecolab hopes to be able to predict potential problems that its customers may face with water quality—among other projects. But Chugh acknowledges there is always a risk an AI will not have access to the information it needs to function accurately. That’s where AppDynamics will come in, Chugh said. AppDynamics can monitor the AI and all its dependencies. “With AppDynamics, we will be able to verify that the AI we are using is working as expected,” Chugh explained.

Conclusion

Since AppDynamics was founded ten years ago, our Application Performance Monitoring solution has evolved along with changing architectures, advances in computing power, and the increasing availability of bandwidth. The customers who accompanied us on the Global Tour are as committed as we are to putting new technologies to work to meet business needs, and we are grateful to be able to support them as they shift applications to public and private clouds, modernize legacy applications with containers and microservices, deploy IoT and more. It is gratifying to watch our customers’ success grow as their businesses transform. No matter the industry, they are proving the value of unified APM and demonstrating what is possible via innovative technology.

WWT is Taking AppDynamics from the War Room to the Board Room

One question has loomed in the minds of CIOs and enterprise technology leaders for years, “How is  our investment in technology and software, impacting the success of the enterprise?” As advanced technology has helped mature this question over the years, organisations have sought to better understand the importance of technology and applications, and how these areas ultimately affect customer experience. Enter Application Performance Monitoring (APM.)

APM, as a technology, was designed to prevent application failure and to ensure uptime, performance, and an overarching understanding of the ‘application’ versus just the performance of the hardware that it operated upon. This was revolutionary as mean time to resolution (MTTR) had, and continues to, plague the performance and profitability of even the largest enterprises. By being able to quickly identify points of failure, companies could reduce the downtime of applications while simultaneously reducing the amount of frustration, cursing, and otherwise unsavory finger-pointing behavior by development, database, and infrastructure teams, worldwide. The collective database and software engineering community breathed a long overdue sigh of relief.

As app failure war rooms started to become more efficient and effective, more questions began to boil up; “What kind of insight can we gain from APM to help us stop making these mistakes altogether?” and “How can we get smarter about catching failures before they happen?” Enter AppDynamics.

AppDynamics, is taking a fresh approach to APM by leveraging machine learning from the ground up, understanding the business context of applications, which has created a smarter, faster way to begin to sense problems. By capturing Business Transactions at every point across the customer experience, AppDynamics is able to utilize machine learning to understand what ‘normal’ is at all points in time, e.g. during high demand periods for an application, such as the holiday season in retail. This has helped eliminate alert storms and structure I.T more intelligently, to increase application uptime and performance. War rooms across enterprise devops organizations have become, dare I say, civil again.

As APM continued to advance, World Wide Technology, a $10.4B technology solutions provider (and #1 Global Cisco Partner) began to take note of a revolutionary way to utilize APM to move application intelligence out of the war room and into the boardroom.

WWT’s software engineering and research division, WWT Asynchrony Labs, forged a Titan-level partnership (the premier tier) with AppDynamics. As a company that both designed data center-grade technology infrastructure and developed enterprise applications; WWT understood that the combination of software and hardware leads to incredibly valuable intelligence. WWT went to work.

Utilizing AppDynamics’ newest suite of analytics—Business IQ—and the internal management consultancy within WWT, quantitative application performance analytics and traditional business performance data were married. For the first time, APM was now supplying complex, relevant data that could help businesses understand exactly how changes in code, connectivity, and hardware affected the performance of the business. Upgraded a data center? How did it increase the total dollars spent? Changes to the codebase? How did it decrease the abandonment rate of the shopping cart? CIO’s could now trace revenue impact from changes in both infrastructure and code. A revolutionary step forward and a revolutionary partnership.

Changes in hardware, software, and communication technology affect every aspect of the business, but one thing remains the same; the customer experience impacts the bottom line. Delivering consistent, responsive applications that help our customers enjoy their interactions with our businesses are what it’s all about. By understanding how the complex underlying technologies that run our businesses touch each individual customer, makes us more than successful—it makes us all revolutionary.

Tanner Bechtel

Director and Practice Lead, AppDynamics

World Wide Technology

Voices of Unified APM—Part 3

From production to development environments

As AppDynamics has proven its success in production environments, more and more customers are rolling it out in their development environments. In addition to improving the quality of code that is released into production, AppDynamics supports the adoption of DevOps initiatives by providing everyone with access to the same information.

Ensuring release quality

Q2ebanking’s CTO had an idea after reviewing the insights into the problems that were diminishing the customer experience that AppDynamics gave to the operations team. “He wanted to use AppDynamics to see what was coming down the pipe,” said Jacob Ramsey, the AppDynamics administrator. “He wanted to know that the code that was being worked on by developers was actually better than the code that was already in production and that we weren’t introducing regressions.” Ramsey said he has since been working with different teams to roll out AppDynamics in the pre-production environment. “We are starting to see the benefit of having everyone on the same page,” he said.

Lining up for AppDynamics

For Dentegra, the impact of inserting AppDynamics earlier in the company’s software development life cycle is measurable. “We reduced the P1 issues on our Java applications by 64% by rolling out AppDynamics in pre-production,” said Sai Adivi, the director of IT enterprise applications.  The achievement helped to wipe away the last traces of resistance that developers had to adopting another tool. Instead, Adivi said, the developers are now lining up to ask him to integrate their apps with AppDynamics because it helps them write better code.

Containers and Microservices

In the last few years containers—and to a lesser extent microservices—have surged in popularity thanks to the benefits they provide to organizations seeking to modernize legacy applications and increase the agility of their IT organizations. But the same characteristics that make containers so flexible and easy to deploy also limit IT’s ability to monitor them. Companies who are serious about moving to a containerized architecture often turn to AppDynamics for the visibility they need.

“Root cause right out of the box”

BestDay Travel, a leading online travel agency headquartered in Cancun, Mexico, prides itself on maintaining its innovative edge by selecting the best technology tools available. Initially built on .NET in an on-premises environment, BestDay expanded to PaaS and recently rolled out a new container-based platform on Azure using AKS (Azure Container Service). “With AppDynamics we’re able to monitor all these environments,” said Daniel Zavalza Torres, IT director of operations. Zavalza said he tried other APM solutions, but found AppDynamics to be the best match for BestDay Travel’s needs. His teams had been struggling to establish the root cause of performance issues with the tools they were using and had gotten in the habit of blaming each other. “AppDynamics helps you to establish root cause right out of the box,” he said. “It provides a level of insight from the get-go.” After rolling out AppDynamics, Zavalza’s teams were able to stop shifting blame around and focus on problem-solving.

Instant visibility

Q2ebanking is another company that makes heavy use of containers. Jacob Ramsey, the AppDynamics administrator, said deploying AppDynamics to monitor containers was even easier than deploying it to monitor regular services. “AppDynamics is just baked into the container, and it doesn’t matter where the container is spun up,” he said. “The container connects to the AppDynamics controller and provides the monitoring data. I can click on it and see its CPU and memory and the like.” At the same time, Ramsey said, “I can also click over to the server that the container is running on and see how it is performing, which is awesome.”

Voices of Unified APM—Part 1

Application performance monitoring or APM means a lot more to companies today than just identifying and resolving application errors. IT leaders attending AppDynamics’ Global Tour in San Francisco, Minneapolis, New York, and Dallas described how APM has evolved into unified monitoring and become a kind of central nervous system for their companies, keeping track of changes in their environment from one millisecond to the next and monitoring not just applications, infrastructure, and end users, but key business metrics as well. In addition to sharing stories about how their use of AppDynamics has driven increased IT efficiency, more reliable code releases, successful cloud migrations, and closer collaboration with business partners, our customers also talked about how they expect machine learning and artificial intelligence will play growing roles in their businesses in the future.

In this four-part series, we share excerpts of the discussion as it unfolded around the country. Just as the stories told by our customers show how unified monitoring is helping them transform their businesses, so can unified APM help other organizations as they shift to the cloud, adopt new architectures and development models, and look to incorporate machine learning and AI into day-to-day operations.

Getting Started with Unified APM

Companies have traditionally deployed APM solutions in their production environments to gain a deeper understanding of application performance, and this continues to be true today. Many of AppDynamics’ customers said they first turned to a unified APM solution because other monitoring tools were failing them. Their environments were too complex and required too many monitoring tools. Correlating information about a performance issue took too long and often failed to reveal the root cause of the problem.

“I need it right now!”

Dentegra, the leading dental insurer in the United States, first deployed AppDynamics in response to a problem in production they could not diagnose. “It was like, ‘I need it right now!’” said Sai Adivi, director of IT enterprise applications and DevOps, Delta Dental of California. “I just plugged in AppDynamics in production and within 15 minutes we were able to find the root cause.”

The problem stemmed from a recent virtualization project, Adivi recalled. “In relation to that, while we were at it, we found two more memory leaks.” They had been there, Adivi guessed, since the product was built five years earlier. After that, Adivi didn’t need to sell AppDynamics to his CIO. “From there, we began investing heavily in AppDynamics,” he said.

Ease of deployment

Ecolab, a global supplier of water, hygiene, and energy solutions headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota, wanted a more effective monitoring solution that didn’t require additional headcount. AppDynamics’ combination of unified monitoring and hassle-free deployment sealed the deal.

“The ease of deployment of AppD was the biggest factor,” said Sandeep Chugh, senior application lead, Ecolab. “We were not looking for something for which we would have to hire a specific person. We were also really excited that you could get synthetic data, monitoring data, and Business iQ data in one place.” Right out of the gate, Chugh was pleased to see the barriers preventing communication come tumbling down. Without a clear-cut way to identify the source of an issue, engineers had been shifting blame. With AppDynamics, people began taking responsibility, he said.

A troubleshooting challenge

Q2ebanking, which provides digital banking services and is based in Austin, Texas, needed to ensure the quality of their customers’ online experience remained high. But a lack of visibility into distributed applications was foiling the efforts of the operations team. Customers were reporting problems that IT could not recreate. “As every IT professional knows, the most fun problems to troubleshoot are the intermittent ones,” said Jacob Ramsey, Q2ebanking’s AppDynamics administrator.

Deploying AppDynamics finally brought relief. “With AppDynamics I could pull up a flow map and see right away that the VPN between the Dallas data center and the customer had gone down,” Ramsey said. At that point, fixing the problem was as easy as calling the networking guy and sharing the flow map with him. “Whereas before you were talking about a war-room scenario,” Ramsey said. “You’d have a networking guy, a storage guy, a database guy, and they’d all be saying, ‘No, the problem is not here. It is probably over there.’”

“It’s not hype”

Iain MacKenzie, vice president of performance engineering at Moody’s, the venerable provider of credit ratings and risk analysis, said the benefit of being able to drill down from a list of Business Transactions or a visual flow map using AppDynamics, is extremely powerful. “When we hear of slowness or instability, we go straight to AppDynamics,” MacKenzie said. “Not only are we able to identify a slow transaction whether it is in the backend or front end, but we can get to the line of code within seconds. I’m not a salesperson, I’m just a user, and it’s not hype. It’s quite frankly the reality in many cases.”

Customer Spotlight: Carhartt Wins 2018 CIO 100 Award

Today, our customer Carhartt was honored as a 2018 CIO 100 Award Winner by CIO.com and to say that we are thrilled is simply an understatement. It’s an incredible accolade and a nod to the tireless work that CIO, John Hill, and his team have done to transform Carhartt into a premiere fashion and workwear brand.

The CIO 100 Award program recognizes organizations around the world that exemplify the highest level of operational and strategic excellence in information technology – and Carhartt’s digital transformation was not overlooked. Founded in 1889 with just two sewing machines and five employees, Carhartt has since grown into a global brand, overcoming the Great Depression, and embracing the digital age to build a vibrant online sales platform and loyal customer base.

Progressive CIOs like John are leading their companies through exciting change in their industries and we’re thrilled Carhartt chose AppDynamics Business iQ to aid in their digital transformation.

“Retailers live and die by the consumer experience, whether that experience comes in person, through mobile or on the web,” John explains in a press release announcing the win. “It was imperative to understand how to position our business for the evolving consumer needs of today and in the future. With Business iQ, we now have a direct lens into the health of business transactions across our entire digital shopping journey in real time, so we can continue to deliver the highest quality user experience to our consumers.”

I got a chance to steal a few minutes of John’s time to congratulate him on this win and to find out what else Carhartt has been up to. Check out our brief Q&A:

Prathap Dendi: The CIO 100 award is a recognition of the innovation that you and your team have been able to implement. What does this acknowledgement mean for you personally and for Carhartt as a whole?

John Hill: The CIO 100 award is a great honor for Carhartt and represents our commitment as an IT organization to further drive Carhartt into the digital era through innovation, enablement, thought leadership, and collaboration.

Prathap Dendi: What has the past year looked like in terms of collaboration with the IT and Business teams at Carhartt? What do you attribute that to?

John Hill: Increasing collaboration between our business product owners and our IT teams has been instrumental in driving our ability to quickly deliver better solutions that are more stable, efficient, and effective.  The increased transparency in real time access to application/business metrics and data has made these collaboration efforts more effective than ever before.

Prathap Dendi: If you could describe the growth you’ve witnessed over the past year in one word, what would it be?

John Hill: Awesome.

Prathap Dendi: How do your teams feel about having access to real-time data and being able to collaborate more with the business teams?

John Hill: The ability to see in real-time what is happening in the application is key to supporting a 24/7 platform.  The ability to see issues as they happen and trace them back to their root causes has enabled our teams to become more proactive and confident in the solutions they are delivering. The business teams have also embraced the ability to see real time data regarding new features and releases. It has increased the trust and confidence that both teams have in each other.

Prathap Dendi: How have the other executives at Carhartt responded?

John Hill: We have received great feedback from senior leaders as we continue to expose key real-time business data to key stakeholders throughout the organization. This data is empowering leaders to make better, faster decisions that directly impact the business as it happens.

Prathap Dendi: What’s next for Carhartt? What are you hoping to delve into in the next six months, year?

John Hill: Deeper user experience metrics and analysis, complete business process monitoring across additional systems of record.

Prathap Dendi: What has been your experience working with AppD?

John Hill: AppD has been a true partner. They have engaged at every level to deliver a complete solution. AppD brought their extensive APM experience to our implementation and enabled us to hit the ground running. They immediately identified a number of key processes that could be monitored and analyzed through the tool.

I’m so excited for everything that John and the Carhartt team have accomplished, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else is in store for them. Here’s to many more wins like this one!

Take a guided tour today for an in-depth look at how Business iQ puts application teams in a position to drive the business.  

Okta is Driving Fast, but with Eyes Wide Open

The new “speed” conversation

When you’ve been writing marketing about tech companies since the dawn of the millennium, as I have, you hear the topic of speed come up a lot. And rightfully so. It is, of course, a vital metric and, in a marketing sense, a crucial differentiator when selling your product to the masses.

5X faster than the competition.

Fastest throughput.

Etc.

It’s been interesting to watch those performance metrics explode. But a funny thing has happened to the speed discussion. More and more, it’s not really in terms of the measurable, like speeds and feeds. Now, it’s more conceptual. It’s about how fast you’re innovating or responding to changes in the industry landscape and with the demands of customers. This is the direct result of technology no longer servicing the business, but driving the business.

Yeah, your stuff is really fast. But everyone’s stuff is really fast, so it’s not as much of a focus of differentiation anymore. How many of us even seriously consider the performance specs of a laptop before buying it…with one click…on Amazon Prime…hoping you ordered it fast enough so it comes tomorrow and not — gasp — the day after tomorrow.

“Oh! I can get it same day? Meh. How many hours is that going to take?”

It’s not about being fast, because fast is a given. It’s being fast all the time, and being faster to innovate, and being fast enough to stay just ahead of the competition. Because, let’s face it, pretty much no one gets out way ahead and stays there.

Yeah, tech marketing is way different these days. And so much more exciting.

On this trip together

One company that’s very exciting these days is Okta, an identity management company and an AppDynamics customer. They use AppDynamics application performance management to help them follow through on what Hector Aguilar, Okta’s CTO and SVP of Engineering, describes as their “always on” culture. “Always On” even appears in the tab on your web browser when you go to okta.com.

We’ve recently posted a video that was featured at AppSphere 2016, as well as written a success story about our great relationship with Okta.

In the video, Mr. Aguilar payed us one of the most flattering and clever compliments we could have hoped for:

“If we don’t have AppDynamics, where we’re using it, it would be really like driving a car at 100 miles per hour with your eyes closed.”

And there it is again — speed. But not of their product (which is, of course, always on), but the speed in which Okta is moving within the industry. The speed at which they have to operate to meet the expectations of their customers — and their customers’ customers, employees and partners, who are all touch points of Okta’s solutions.

We’re incredibly proud to be helping Okta and other industry leaders concentrate on this incredibly fast-moving, twisty road that we’re all on together.

Please be sure to read the story.

Comparing Healthcare.gov performance improvement vs. J Crew.com slowdown

Each week, we measure the website home page performance of about 30 consumer sites using our Browser Synthetic Monitoring (Beta) tool. A summary of the results with the complete rankings and data for each of the sites is published each week by MobileStrategies360.com.

It’s incredibly interesting to see how these sites change over time and how those changes affect the performance of the site. This week’s results show an interesting contrast in the changes between performance improvements in the HealthCare.gov home page and a slow down at JCrew.com.

When the HealthCare.gov site launched a couple of years ago, it rightly took a lot of criticism for the overall poor performance of the site. This week, at least the home page made significant improvement, moving up eight spots in the weekly ranking from 18th to 10th with an improvement in the speed score, mostly by optimizing the size to reduce the page load size by over half a megabyte (as seen in the graph below).

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 1.07.44 PM.png

There was also a modest reduction in the number of resources loaded on average by six (each additional resource loaded carries a distinct “resource tax” for the performance of the site). The reduction in the page load size had immediate effect on improving the speed of the visually complete time, the first render time, and the overall speed score of the page (as seen in the graph below).

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 1.09.10 PM.png

This represents a standard method of improving site performance by optimizing your content to make it as compact as possible to reduce the amount of data that needs to be transmitted, resulting in faster page load times.

The second interesting movement in this week’s data is that J. Crew went from the fourth position in 3G to eighth almost entirely due to an increase in visually complete time from 8.1 to 9.7 seconds.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 1.16.23 PM.png

This diagram shows the sudden increase in the visually complete time mid-week while the first render and speed score stayed fairly consistent.

The degradation in performance occurred despite the fact that the page weight decreased from 1.5 to 0.89 MB. The elements loaded remained constant and the first render time and speed score were consistent at 5.1 and approximately 5.6, respectively. The diagram below shows the decrease in the page weight over the course of the week.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 1.13.40 PM.png

This visual represents a bit of a conundrum since you would normally expect that a fairly reasonable decrease in total page weight of 600 KB would result in a performance improvement.

If we investigate further, examining individual snapshots from before and after, one of the causes could be an increase in the response available time of the server. It includes the server connection time and the time it takes the server to respond with the first byte of data.

Looking at the two timing diagrams below, we can see that there is a significant increase in the J. Crew server available response time:

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 1.30.09 PM.png

 

Looking at this snapshot from earlier in the week, the server response available time is on the order of one second.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 1.27.38 PM.png

The server response available time in this snapshot from later in the week is closer to 12 seconds.

Similarly, if we look at the individual resource timing from earlier in the week versus later in the week, the following two diagrams show a large increase in the time it takes to create the J. Crew index.jsp (Java Server) page–the main container page for the homepage content.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 1.32.34 PM.png

This resource waterfall timing diagram shows the index.jsp page was taking about 1.7 seconds to download.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 1.31.13 PM.png

This resource waterfall diagram shows the index.jsp of the J. Crew homepage taking about 14 seconds to download.

While these particular snapshots show the extreme changes over the week, they are generally indicative of the trend that occurred over the course of the week that contributed to the increase in visually complete time, which resulted in J. Crew moving down in the index.

Without instrumenting the backend of the website, it can’t be known what might have contributed to the increased time it takes to create the index.jsp. That could be due to a change in the logic used to create the page or some other design change, which resulted in the change. It is critical for companies to understand how changes in website design, architecture, or infrastructure changes can affect the performance of their websites, especially as perceived by the end user. 

Users share their AppDynamics Lite for .NET Experiences

A week has passed since we officially launched our free version of AppDynamics Lite for .NET to the public, and so far its been garnering attention and positive reviews from the APM community. For example, someone from a major Canadian telecommunications company downloaded .NET Lite and informed us on how quickly they were able to gain value from using it.

We’re equally impressed and delighted that they’re heavily pushing our Lite product internally and on the path to becoming an AppDynamics Pro user. Even though we hear praises from customers often, it’s always satisfying to hear about our products delivering real, quantifiable results in under 24 hours.

We also received this blog review from another .NET Lite user just the other day. They deployed AppDynamics Lite to monitor their overall site performance called Everymarket.ru – an open e-commerce market that connects resellers with a community of buyers for products that are discounted when purchased in bulk. The users of Lite are also able to monitor the outbound web service calls to VK.com which is Russia’s version of Facebook to ensure outbound requests to the social site are responsive.

EveryMarket.ru Describes the Entire .NET Lite Experience

AppDynamics Lite looks nice and catchy. Right after installation we started to obtain information about our application and performance metrics immediately. The following screenshot nicely illustrates that there are some hidden errors occurring for three of the business transactions in the following list. We have actually seen these errors before, but it was quite hard to estimate their frequency and severity. Now it can be easily understood from this view here and on the Business Transactions view, though it is limited to only 20 transactions.

The first thing I did after the installation, I decreased the snapshot frequency from 100 to 50. It was more out of curiosity without much purpose. It’s nice to see the historical information about errors and requests presented on one screen. We then changed the default sorting “By timestamp” in order to see errors as they happened by recency.

In this case, the error in question didn’t involve a SQL query. The Bad Request details were quite simple and repeated what we could find in a set of stack trace logs. However, the main advantage for us is that AppDynamics can catch these errors and notify our team immediately by email. Once inside the tool, the information is well organized for faster root cause diagnosis.

In general I found it very useful that AppDynamics operates with business transaction logic. The semantic of transaction is easy to understand and one can have a detailed overview of a precise transaction. And of course the “red bar” matters. In case of many errors it is straightforward that “more red” means “look first”.

From two examples you can see that our .NET Lite users are able to install and run our product with ease while gaining insight into their application’s health and performance bottlenecks to improve upon for faster runtime. If you have a success story using AppDynamics Lite, please let us know!

Customer Success at AppDynamics is More Than Just Software

“Support from AppDynamics is the best I’ve ever received from any vendor. Once again, you’ve met your norm. Thank you for the excellence so many other vendors no longer offer.”   -AppDynamics Customer

If you’ve been following our blogs regularly, you might have noticed we enjoy highlighting quantifiable benefits our customers have gained from using AppDynamics to manage their critical business applications in production. We take pride in their successes – and their success helps not only their organization, but also their personal careers as well. So in today’s blog, I’d like to highlight some of the top-notch work our Customer Success team does.

  • Proactive Engagement
  • Timely Resolution

Proactive Engagement

When it comes to being proactive it’s not just our software that stays ahead of the curve but also our support team that remains engaged every step of the way through effective and rapid resolution. Below are just some examples:

One customer identified a performance issue in their application but were unsure of which remediation was best. Our support team looked at the performance issue and suggested the optimal JVM settings which resulted in 5% improvement in overall application performance for the customer.

Another customer had an incident during their peak traffic time where their servers were periodically hanging, and at the time they weren’t using our product. Once again, using the superhero capabilities of AppDynamics, the support team discovered that they were doing too many minor garbage collections, which was hurting their JVM performance during primetime. This was an issue that had been plaguing their business for three months.

AppDynamics support not only told them where and what the issue was, but also found a number of other issues that which could have lead to serious performance problems in the future such as: slow running queries, a native logger was taking too long to log a message and an inefficient resultset iteration.

Timely Resolution

If you’re a customer and you contact AppDynamics support, you should expect no less than excellent customer support. If your ticket is urgent, our SLAs require that we respond under 4 hours. Zendesk actually released some benchmarks as to how we measure up against the software industry and other companies as a whole. Take a look.

Benchmark Metrics produced by Zendesk based on data from 80 million tickets

But don’t just take our word for it, take a look at what some of our customers have said about our Customer Support team:

“Customer Support is very prompt and to the point answers.”

Timely. Personnel desire to be helpful”

“Very quick and responsive. Far and above other vendors I deal with.” 

Quick answer. Very good service. Thanks!”

“They have been very responsive and in cases proactive.” 

“Great follow through getting a solution to my production issue quickly.”  

Excellent, timely and effective

“Very responsive”

Excellent. All the necessary items were discussed and resolved in a timely manner

Excellent speed and accuracy”

10 on 10!!! Very quick and to the point responses”

As you can see, customer success is what AppDynamics is about. We religiously measure and manage it so we deliver a service which is unrivaled in the APM market. While we can’t guarantee that our software will never have bugs (as no software company ever could), we’ll always guarantee to be there when you need us 24/7.