AppDynamics and IBM Unlock Mainframe Transactions

Today’s digital businesses rely upon a large amount of software systems built throughout the history of the organization. Much of the focus to date has been on systems of engagement such as mobile and web applications, but there are countless systems underneath these newer modern applications.

As applications themselves evolve to the next computing paradigm, whether that be voice, virtual, or augmented reality, enterprises will build these new applications on new infrastructures, spanning hybrid cloud computing. Based on the 2017 Gartner CIO Survey, 44% of IT spending will be on digital by top performers in 2018. Yet shifting additional revenue to digital introduces risk. IDC estimates that unplanned downtime costs businesses between $1.3 – 2.5 billion per year.

AppDynamics has focused on these new applications, which are paramount to digital transformation. Enterprise customers leverage AppDynamics to monitor, troubleshoot, and gain insights into their businesses. The goal is always to improve visibility across all components critical to their digital businesses. Oftentimes, heritage systems such as IBM z Systems mainframes remain critical to enterprises. Examples of this are most prevalent in industries such as finance, insurance, healthcare, and government services. One example of this is card transactions — more than $6 trillion in card payments are processed annually by mainframes.

IBM and AppDynamics already have a strong partnership across a number of different areas, and now we’re thrilled to announce that this partnership is taking the next step by offering deep product integration between both companies. Together, we’re working to integrate IBM’s OMEGAMON application performance management product with AppDynamics to provide transaction visibility into the mainframe.

This product integration extends the visibility of AppDynamics’ Map iQ and Diagnostic iQ into mainframe subsystems such as CICS and DB2, allowing for faster problem identification and isolation from a single end to end transaction path. This integration leverages the most popular monitoring platform on mainframe, built by the creator of the mainframe. This provides the much-needed visibility to the teams managing today’s most complex and mission critical digital business channels into a core technology of these businesses, the mainframe. This data sharing will facilitate collaboration between these often siloed organizations, and enable DevOps teams to understand the mainframe dependencies and performance. This is the deepest partner-driven integration by AppDynamics to date, and there are many exciting plans to continue collaborating to drive this new product offering forward.

Today we’re announcing the partnership between AppDynamics and IBM, which will be swiftly followed by a public beta of this product integration. The team looks forward to inviting mutual customers to use this integration and provide feedback during the development and general availability of this product offering.

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Learn more

If you’re interested in this new product integration, we’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to register your interest in the beta.

AppSphere Speaker Panel: Cloudy With A Chance Of Innovation

AppSphere Day One general sessions ended with a panel of cloud experts led in discussion by Jonah Kowall, research vice president – IT operations at Gartner, with questions prepared by Jonah and also submitted by the audience. The course of the discussion indicated that — like so many things in this time of transformation and generational shift — there’s still a lot of confusion and uncertainty about the vague but huge concept of “the cloud,” and at the same time, great opportunity.
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Some misconceptions dispelled, guiding principles, and best practices offered by the panel:

  • The cloud can be a cost-efficient option, but innovation should be a bigger driver than any anticipated cost savings.
  • Speed, flexibility, faster time to market, speed of innovation, and efficient utilization of resources are all good drivers for cloud adoption.
  • You can’t just lift a chunk of infrastructure and drop it into the cloud. It doesn’t work that way. Assumptions about how things interact, latency, storage, etc. are no longer true. Things have to be re-architected.
  • You have to have a plan and a strategy; otherwise, don’t even start.
  • The network, and network latency, are critical factors for performance in the cloud.
  • The hour-long discussion took a number of paths: the challenges and opportunities of SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS; containers in general and Docker in particular; OpenStack; and others. The discussion ended with a five-year crystal ball look and not much agreement on which aspects of cloud will become commoditized and what services or layers will be the differentiators. But there was no disagreement that the cloud is where we’re moving, and that it will power amazing possibilities for business, and great benefits for consumers.

    The esteemed panel of cloud experts included:

    Mark Quigley, Vice President, Strategy, SoftLayer, an IBM Company
    Krishnan Subramanian, Director, OpenShift Strategy, Red Hat
    Matt Stine, Platform Engineer, Cloud Foundry, Pivotal
    Vibhor Kapoor, Director of Product Marketing, Microsoft Azure
    Allan Naim, Global Product Lead, Google Compute Engine, Google

    Stay up to date with AppDynamics AppSphere on Twitter using the hashtag #AppSphere14

    Database Monitoring for MariaDB and Percona Server

    Both MariaDB and Percona Server are forks of MySQL and strive to be drop in replacements for MySQL from a binary, api compatibility, and command line perspective.

    It’s great to have an alternative to MySQL since you never know what might happen to it given that Oracle bought it for 1 billion dollars. In this blog post I set out to see if these MySQL forks would work 100% with AppDynamics for Databases. If you’re not familiar with the AppDynamics for Databases product I suggest you take a few minutes to read this other blog post.

    The Setup

    Getting both MariaDB and Percona Server installed onto test instances was pretty simple. I chose to use 2 Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) servers running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for no particular reason other than they were quick and easy to get running. My first step was to make sure that MySQL was gone from my RHEL servers by running “yum remove mysql-server”.

    Installing both MariaDB and Percona Server consisted of setting up yum repository files (documented here and here) and running the yum installation commands. This took care of getting the binaries installed so the rest of the process was related to starting and configuring the individual database servers.

    The startup command for both MariaDB and Percona Server is “/etc/init.d/mysql start” so you can see that these products really do strive for direct drop in adherence to MySQL. As you can see in the screen grabs below I ended up running MariaDB 10.0.3 and Percona Server 5.5.31-30.3.

    Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 2.21.48 PM Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 2.23.30 PM

    Connected to each of these databases were 1 instance of WordPress and 1 instance of Drupal in a nearly “out of the box” configuration besides adding a couple of new posts to each CMS to help drive a small amount of load. I didn’t want to set up a load testing tool so I induced a high disk I/O load on each server by running the UNIX command “cat /dev/zero > /tmp/zerofile”. This command pumps the number 0 into that file as fast as it can basically crushing the disk. (Use Ctrl-C to kill this command before you fill up your disk.)

    The Monitoring

    Getting the monitoring set up was really easy. I used a test instance of AppDynamics for Databases to remotely monitor each database instance (yep, no agent install required). To initiate monitoring I opened up my AppDynamics for Databases console, navigated to the agent manager, clicked the “add agent” button, and filled in the fields as shown below (I selected MySQL as the database type):

    Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 3.39.47 PM

    My remote agent didn’t connect the first time I tired this because I forgot to configure iptables to let my connection through even though I had set up my AWS firewall rules properly (facepalm). After getting iptables out of the way (I just turned it off since these were test instances) my database monitoring connections came to life and I was off and running.

    The Result

    Taking a look at all of the data pouring into AppDynamics for Databases I can see that it is 100% compatible with MariaDB and Percona Server. There are no errors being thrown and the data is everything that it should be.

    The beauty of my induced disk I/O load was that just by clicking around the web interface of WordPress and Drupal I was getting slow response times. That always makes data more interesting to look at. So here are some screen grabs for each database type for you to check out…

    MariaDB Activity

    AppDynamics for Databases activity screen for the MariaDB database.

    Percona Activity

    AppDynamics for Databases activity screen for the Percona database.

    MariaDB Explain Statement

    Explain statement for a select statement in MariaDB.

    Percona Explain Statement

    Explain statement for a select statement in Percona.

    MariaDB Statistics

    A couple of statistics charts for MariaDB.

    Percona Statistics

    A couple of statistics charts for Percona.

    If you’re currently running MySQL you might want to check out MariaDB and Percona Server. It’s possible that you might see some performance improvements since the storage engine for MariaDB and Percona is XtraDB as opposed to MySQL’s InnoDB. Having choices in technology is a great thing. Having a unified monitoring platform for your MySQL, MariaDB, Percona Server, Oracle, SQL Server, Sybase, IBM DB2, and PostgreSQL database is even better. Click here to get started with your free trial of AppDynamics for Databases today.

    Where Good Tools Go To Die

    Over the years working in the field of IT I’ve seen many products come and go. Some weren’t all that good in the first place, while others were very promising but ultimately failed to deliver on expectations. When I was working in the large enterprise world, we (those of us who cared) compared notes on what small companies were ripe for takeover and which of the much bigger software companies would buy and ultimately ruin their product. Basically we were betting that some software giant (usually companies with 2 or 3 letter acronyms) would buy a useful product and kill it over time.

    How Do You Kill Software?

    ripWhat do I mean by “kill it”? It’s not like software is a living, aware entity (yet). Here is what it means to me to “kill” a software product:

    • Let it stagnate so that it falls behind the times and becomes outdated
    • “Integrate” it with your other products in a loose (i.e. crappy) way such that it is a pain to configure and provides little value anyway
    • Ignore the needs (new features and functionality) of the majority of your customers and focus solely on the needs of a few large customers who spend the most money and scream the loudest
    • Provide poor customer service after the sale (slow response to issues, unresolved support calls, etc…)

    Who?

    Time to take a trip down memory lane…

    • Remember Cyanea? They were founded in 2001, bought by IBM and rename ITCam in 2004. Currently a high ranking member of my “Promising Tools that Went Nowhere” list. Thanks IBM!
    • And who can forget Mercury and HPs brutalization of Performant Diagnostics? So very young. So very sad.
    • Then there was the absolutely horrific beat down of Precise i3. Precise was bought by Veritas, who was then bought by Symantec. Then when Symantec had brought i3 to the brink of death they sold it to a VC company which brought back the Precise name but did little to revive i3. Another promising tool ruined.

    There have been other similar acquisitions in the past few years and only time will tell if the trend of large companies snuffing out promising tools will continue. You can see a list here.

    Why??????

    Why does it always seem to happen? Why can’t a large software vendor keep a product they purchased relevant? I really believe that it is not so much a case of “can’t” as “won’t”. “Can’t” implies that the company is incapable from a technical perspective. “Won’t” has a much worse connotation. “Won’t” is a calculated decision that the company can realize more net profit by selling a product based upon what it once was than by investing and keeping that product current and relevant (more risk). “Won’t” is about putting Wall Street expectations for your next quarter ahead of the needs of your paying customers. “Won’t” seems like a good idea in the short term but ultimately leads to the death of a product in the long term.

    Choose Wisely

    customer-service

    I really hope your favorite software products are not in the process of being killed by a giant software company. It’s really a shame to watch it happen over and over again.

    When you’re deciding which software products to purchase it is important to understand what type of company you are dealing with. Look at their history, look at their customer satisfaction and Net Promoter scores, ask about their corporate goals and direction. If you choose the wrong company to do business with your new favorite software product might be headed toward an early demise.

    Glassdoor proves AppDynamics is a Great Place to Work!

    AD TeamIt’s been almost two years since I joined AppDynamics and it’s been one of the best career moves I’ve ever made. I used to work at a competitor, and quickly realized I was working for the wrong company. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut feeling when it comes to technology–you’ve either got a product that’s special or you don’t, and I know what it’s like to experience both feelings.

    At AppDynamics the technology is definitely special, but I also joined a group of like-minded people who shared the same passion as I did for application monitoring. The no-compromise approach to figuring out new ways of doing things that couldn’t be done previously, along with a laser-focus on solving real world problems for customers, is pretty inspiring. Things are never perfect at any company but the passion to make our customers successful, and the will to win business professionally, is unique at AppDynamics. We really believe that enterprise software doesn’t have to suck, it should never be shelfware, and it should be affordable by everyone–which is one of the reasons why we created a free product AppDynamics Lite that now has over 100,000 users and our commercial product AppDynamics Pro is reasonably priced.

    In just two years we’ve disrupted an application monitoring market that was previously dominated by expensive complex solutions that quite frankly sucked. This disruption was one of the reasons why Gartner recognized AppDynamics as a Leader in their 2012 APM Magic Quadrant, and we’ve only been selling our product for two years! This speaks volumes for what we’ve achieved in such a short period of time. What’s also great is that our customers are very vocal about their success; our case study page is packed with customer success stories, with several customers willing to publish actual ROI results from their AppDynamics deployments. How many real customer ROI stories have you read recently from any vendor? My guess is not many.

    One online community that provides an accurate inside look at companies is Glassdoor.com. It basically lets employees rate different aspects of the company they work for, from compensation all the way through to culture and leadership. If you search for all the APM companies on Glassdoor.com that are currently recognized in the Gartner’s APM Magic Quadrant, here is what the top 10 looks like:

    Glassdoor APM ratings

    *Glassdoor ratings correct as of 1/10/2013

    I’m pretty proud to work for a company where employees are very satisfied and give their CEO 100% approval. That says a lot about the success and leadership of the company–happy employees also means a happy place to work and trust me, this is pretty important when you spend most of your life at work!

    One company that didn’t score well was Compuware. Only 38% of employees would recommend a friend and only 68% approve of their CEO. Not particularly encouraging when you need your employees to innovate, run through walls, and beat the competition. A hedge fund recently put an offer on the table to take Compuware private–let’s hope those guys can get the employees jazzed.

    If you’re looking for the next challenge, cool technology and a great place to work, you should consider joining AppDynamics. We’ve got 21 positions currently open and we need great people to help scale the great company we’re building!

    With customers like Netflix, Orbitz, Fox News, Vodafone and Yahoo you’ll experience the ins and outs of monitoring some of the largest applications in the world.

    Oh, and you get to work with a superhero like me!

    Appman.

    APM Market Disruptors – AppDynamics vs New Relic

    Last week a performance engineer called Ben Bramley published a blog entitled “APM Market Disruptors – AppDynamics and New Relic“. The purpose of his article was to provide an overview of AppDynamics and New Relic, whilst also summarizing the key approaches each vendor/solution has taken to simplify and disrupt the APM marketplace.

    Firstly, we’re thrilled to be recognized by a blogger, who in this case, had previous hands on experience with Application Performance Management (APM) products like OpTier, CA Wily, HP and dynaTrace. Secondly, whilst it was obviously good (and slightly nerving at times) to read our features and capabilities compared with another vendor (and the APM market in general), it was actually nice to see our freemium and SaaS based go-to-market strategy being recognized as well. I guess these things were actually the main reason why a blogger could access, compare and contrast two next generation APM solutions in the first place. It’s not like IBM, CA or Compuware would make their APM solution available to the masses for evaluation, let alone welcome an independent opinion.

    You can read Ben’s blog article in full here.

    App Man.

    Update: HP does in fact offer their solution (HP Diagnostics v9) via trial, but you’ve got to download and install 4GB of their software.  In the time it takes to do this you could already be up and running with AppDynamics Lite.

    AppDynamics Secures $20 Million in Series C Funding Led by Kleiner Perkins

    When I joined AppDynamics less than a year ago, we were situated in a 6,000 sq ft “cozy” office on 2nd and Brannan. On my first day I was greeted with a MacBook Pro and was asked to find a spare desk amongst the boxes and carnage of a typical startup environment. To my left was a relentless engineering and UI team, and to my right was a fired up sales and marketing team, and a quietly confident Founder and CEO, Jyoti Bansal who made all of this happen. Across the office was a shiny gold bell mounted on the wall, which rang every time AppDynamics closed a new customer. In the last year I can honestly say that shiny bell hasn’t stopped ringing, and is the biggest adrenaline boost one can get while working.

    Gartner publishes 2011 Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring

    On Tuesday, Gartner announced this year’s Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring (APM).   I’ll make a few observations from reading the MQ and then suggest 3 additional criteria that APM buyers should consider to make informed buying decisions.

    APM demand is strongThe research report started with an analysis of the APM market growth at 15% year-over-year and $2 billion in total market spend.  These facts reflect what we see every day – the market for APM is very strong and benefits from the high growth in web-driven commerce.  Web apps just can’t be slow.

    One key APM growth driver is that modern applications have become more difficult to monitor – with more moving parts and a higher rate of change. Gartner summarizes this nicely in their market overview:

    “Unfortunately, at just the moment when executives have become keen about imposing an application-centric view of the world on IT operations, applications have become far more difficult to monitor; in general, architectures have become more modular, redundant, distributed and dynamic, often laying down the particular twists and turns that a code execution path could take at the latest possible moment.”