AppDynamics Now Offers More than 100 Extensions

At AppDynamics, it’s been our mission to equip enterprises with true Application Intelligence. As the expanded application ecosystem grows, many enterprises are using a combination of legacy, contemporary, and cutting-edge infrastructure components. So today we’re proud to announce we now integrate with over 100 extensions so users can leverage performance insights like never before. We strive to create a seamless extension ecosystem to merge with your current toolset.

The Application Intelligence Platform is open, extensible, and interoperable to fit any business need. Through our extension ecosystem, AppDynamics Exchange, our community comes together to share knowledge and contribute back extensions that provide deep integrations to the tools modern enterprises frequently use.
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A few extension categories I’d like to highlight are:

Monitoring extensions – integration metrics from other monitoring systems and services such as Apache, RabbitMQ, CouchBase, IBM DataPower, and Apica.

Alerting extensions – allow creation of custom notifications to integration AppDynamics’ health rule violations and events with alerting or ticketing systems such as PagerDuty, VictorOps, ServiceNow, and Atlassian JIRA.

Cloud auto-scaling extensions – integration cloud orchestration functionality such as creating, destroying, restarting, configuring, and validating machine and image instances. These include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

REST API & SDKs – enable retrieval of data from the AppDynamics system, including application and infrastructure metadata, metrics, events, and transaction snapshots. AppDynamics developer SDKs are available on Github. Through our API, you can download our Java SDK and the Python SDK.

With these integrations, users can monitor metrics within a business context, rapidly remediate issues, and automate baselining to detect glitches. Extensions also leverage the core Application Intelligence Platform including APM, mobile, and analytics.

Using AppDynamics and our slew of extensions, companies can help foster a DevOps culture and enable IT Ops, developers, and business professionals understand their application data, troubleshoot performance issues, and make strategic business decisions.

Come check out our community of extensions here, and download a FREE trial of AppDynamics today!

Black Friday Horror Story Averted with Alerting and Monitoring

AppDynamics recently announced the launch of our Application Intelligence Platform, which is the underlying infrastructure that delivers our portfolio of products to customers. A key component of the Application Intelligence platform is the notion of extensibility – we can integrate with many of the existing tools you already have in place so you can leverage AppDynamics analytics in the tools and dashboards your team knows and loves with minimal effort. These extensions as we call them are available on the AppDynamics eXchange section of our Community for download, and customers even have the option to submit extensions they’ve written themselves to be included in the eXchange.

To illustrate the power of the 75+ extensions we’ve published in our community, I’ll walk you through two scenarios that involve several common technologies that are prevalent across our customer base.

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Before AppDynamics:

Jerry has been tossing and turning all night long. In fact, he’s had difficulty sleeping the past three weeks. His sub-optimal sleep patterns are in large part a result of the production application environment he is responsible for. “Things always seem to break in the middle of the night,” Jerry complained to his wife earlier that day.

As the DevOps lead for their company’s mission critical ecom app, Jerry is copied on most urgent application related alerts so that he can help manually forward the details he gets from his current monitoring tools to the admin from his team who happens to be on call at the time. Tonight, he only received 5 such notifications which is less than normal, but still sufficient to wake him up throughout the night. As he squints in the darkness and his eyes adjust to the bright screen, he sees a new notification that troubles him… “SSL Certificate Expired?” he mumbles to himself. “How is that possible?”

He checks the clock – 5:30AM. The person who handles the SSL Certificate isn’t going to be awake for a few more hours. Jerry’s heart drops because he knows that for every hour his ecommerce application is down it costs his company about $10,000 of revenue. “Why wasn’t this on my radar?” Jerry says. “We could’ve planned for this.”

Jerry gets to work early and starts sending emails and calling stakeholders to schedule an 8:30AM conference call. By 9:15AM the action items and deliverables are clear. By 10:30AM the SSL Certificate is renewed and the ecom store is back online servicing customers. Whew. “That could’ve been a lot worse than just 5 hours of downtime and $50K of revenue impact,” Jerry reasons with a colleague.

Back at his desk, Jerry looks at his calendar, his next meeting is ‘testing & capacity planning’ which is a weekly recurring meeting with him and his team.

Jerry’s company is preparing for the holiday season (Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc.) which is still a few months away but for ecommerce stores, these peak seasons are huge operational and business challenges. You know that $10K per hour of revenue metric?  During those peak days in the holiday season that quadruples to $40K of revenue per hour. The ecommerce store can’t have any hiccups during that time or the impact would be massive, and that’s why this particular recurring meeting leading up to the code freeze are very important.

Jerry greets his team and looks over the shoulder of one of his sys admins. She’s just got the application infrastructure diagram drawn on the white board and has the first load test done and now they are analyzing the results. Looks like most of the synthetic tests they’ve run completed with relatively few errors and utilization was within the acceptable range even as the load increased over the duration of the load test. So far so good.

Jerry moves on to peek over the shoulder of his DBA who is currently analyzing the Cassandra cluster metrics after the load test. Disk I/O looked good and memory looked OK. Over the course of the next hour Jerry’s team tests 6 different load testing and failover scenarios. Today’s tests are done – until next week.

“Everything looks good… a little too good,” Jerry says to himself. “My team and I understand things like utilization and throughput but how does that translate to things my boss and the rest of the business care about?”

If only there was another approach to monitoring that would save Jerry from the fire drills, cut down on the constant testing and debugging, and give him a real-time view into how customers were engaging with his ecommerce application…

Luckily for Jerry, AppDynamics does just that…  Let’s look at this same situation one year later.

After AppDynamics:

Jerry wakes up from a great night’s sleep and checks his email for the daily AppDynamics events digest that gets sent to him with all of the application events over the last 24 hours. Only one event in the digest. Ever since Jerry’s organization invested into AppDynamics’ products that are delivered on the Application Intelligence Platform, his dev team has gotten code-level visibility into the root cause of performance issues inside his ecommerce application and has substantially cut down the number of bugs in the software. That means less production issues for his team to deal with downstream.

Using the PagerDuty alerting extension, the one issue that was sent in Jerry’s digest triggered the creation of a help ticket and was automatically assigned to the technician on duty with no manual intervention on Jerry’s part.

By the time Jerry checked on the status, the issue was already resolved. Nice.

On his way to work, Jerry smiles and thinks about last year’s SSL Certificate debacle. Since installing the SSL Certificate Monitoring extension from AppDynamics, his team has been able to build a dashboard that shows the number of days left until the SSL Certificate expires. No more SSL Certs expiring without anyone knowing ahead of time.

Jerry arrives at work and goes to his recurring ‘testing and capacity planning’ meeting that his team sets up every year around this time. Since deploying AppDynamics and installing two additional AppDynamics extensions – the Cassandra monitoring extension and the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud connector extension – his testing and capacity planning work for the holiday season has gotten a lot easier.

First, AppDynamics has given him and his team a great topology view that has relieved them of their needs for Visio diagrams and whiteboarded architectures. Being able to have a real-time view of how the different components of an application interact with each other, and have that map update automatically as new code is released, was hugely valuable for Jerry’s team.

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Second, during Cassandra testing, in addition to getting basic metrics like disk I/O and memory, the Cassandra extension provides configurable metrics like:

  • Cache size, capacity, hit count, hit rate, request count

  • Total latency, statistics, timeout requests, unavailable requests

  • Bloom filter disk space used, false positives, false ratio

  • SSTables compression ratio, live tables, disk space, compacted row size

  • Row size histogram

  • Column count histogram

  • Memtable columns, data size, switch count

  • Pending tasks

  • Read latency

  • Write latency

  • Pending and completed tasks

  • Compaction tasks pending and completed

  • Timeouts

  • Dropped messages

  • Streams

  • Total disk space used

  • Thread pool tasks: active, completed, blocked, pending

By leveraging these metrics, Jerry’s team is able to get granular visibility into Cassandra performance and see exactly where performance bottlenecks occur. This visibility has cut down the time needed to test their Cassandra implementation drastically. Pinpointing exactly where the performance issues are and what caused them enable Jerry’s team to proactively address Cassandra performance issues before they affect end users.

Finally, while capacity planning, Jerry now leverages the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud connector extension which allows his team to easily scale up and scale down in the cloud automatically based on policies that can involve a number of rules including:

•       Overall application health (load, response time, number of slow calls, etc.)

•       Business transaction health (load, response time, number of slow calls, etc.)

•       End User Experience health (pages / iFrames / AJAX requests per minute, first byte time, DOM ready time, etc.)

•       Databases & Remote Services health (calls per minute, errors per minute, etc)

•       Error rates (exceptions, return codes, etc.)

This year, Jerry’s team is putting a few different health rules in place that will automatically scale up the AWS EC2 resources when certain load & response time metrics are breached and scale down when those metrics go back down to a normal level. Jerry has also added an authorization step to these workflows that will alert him and ask for permission before spinning instances up or down. That way, they only pay for the EC2 resources they need to use and Jerry still has full control.

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Jerry leaves the testing meeting with full confidence that his team has a good grasp on the upcoming peak season and has the visibility in place that will allow his team to quickly deal with any performance issues as they arise.

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As you can see, Jerry is in a lot better spot this year than he was 1 year ago. By leveraging AppDynamics he has one platform that can easily connect to the rest of the technologies he already uses and provide him a single UI in which he can manage the performance of his environment.

If you’d like to try AppDynamics for free and test drive some of the extensions we’ve highlighted in this blog post, click here.

AppDynamics and PagerDuty: Unicorns … only real.

Unicorns, those magical mythical creatures that many have searched for but never actually found. One of our customers recommended AppDynamics to their associates and compared us to “Unicorns … only real.” This analogy is really great since Enterprises have been searching for “software that just works” but up until recently haven’t been able to find it. So now that we’ve found them, lets talk about 2 awesome Unicorns, AppDynamics and PagerDuty.

Unicorns

Recently we released a couple of blogs about the AppDynamics and PagerDuty integration. If you haven’t had the chance yet you can check them out here and here. I had some time to sit back and really think about what these two companies and our  integration mean to the IT world and I want to share those thoughts with you.

I’m a person that has worked in many sizes of company from really small startups (less than 20 employees) to really large enterprises (more than 250,000 employees) and a few in between. IT support levels vary greatly within these different size organizations. In particular, the ability to detect problems and notify the right people quickly is an issue in the SMB world (at the companies I worked for anyway).

One of the reasons for this problem lies in the costs associated with traditional monitoring and alerting systems. Beyond the up front purchase price there is typically the ongoing configuration and maintenance costs which can drive TCO excruciatingly high in no time. When thinking about SMB, taking into account the high purchase price, high setup cost, and high maintenance costs it’s no wonder very few companies invest in the software they need to monitor and manage their environment properly.

Enterprise Software Sucks

Taking it a step further, it’s a shame that large enterprises have to pay these exorbitant costs and suffer through “Enterprise Class Software” that takes an army of highly paid consultants and/or employees to setup and maintain.

This is why AppDynamics and PagerDuty is a big deal to me. Enterprise quality software that is as easy to use, configure and maintain as consumer software while not sacrificing functionality. This was unheard of 5 years ago. Thankfully, things are changing rapidly for the better. AppDynamics and PageryDuty allow any company to quickly deploy, configure, manage, identify, isolate, alert, troubleshoot, automate, repair, etc… All of this done better than the Enterprise Class products of 5 years ago and at fraction of the TCO.

Specifically, here are a few of the things that are way better when you use AppDynamics and PagerDuty:

Monitoring

  • 90% less configuration and management work with better results.
  • Isolation of problems down to the node, page, transaction, or line of code level.
  • Automatic remediation of known problems.
  • Reduced dependency on “The Expert” who actually knows how to set up and use the monitoring tool.

Alerting

  • Ability to interface with modern devices (like sending push notifications to iOS and Android)
  • Easy to use graphical interface for configuration of advance rules.
  • On call scheduling so you don’t have to “pass the pager”. Yep, there are still pagers out there.
  • Automated escalation of alerts that have not been responded to yet.

When it comes right down to it we are in a time where software is being re-invented and every company from the biggest to the smallest need to re-evaluate their strategy and take advantage of the amazing tools at their disposal. Here’s your chance to catch a Unicorn, don’t miss out by looking the other direction.

Click here to start your free trial of AppDynamics and catch a Unicorn for yourself.

Intelligent Alerting for Complex Applications – PagerDuty & AppDynamics

Screen Shot 2013-04-16 at 2.39.00 PMToday AppDynamics announced integration with PagerDuty, a SaaS-based provider of IT alerting and incident management software that is changing the way IT teams are notified, and how they manage incidents in their mission-critical applications.  By combining AppDynamics’ granular visibility of applications with PagerDuty’s reliable alerting capabilities, customers can make sure the right people are proactively notified when business impact occurs, so IT teams can get their apps back up and running as quickly as possible.

You’ll need a PagerDuty and AppDynamics license to get started – if you don’t already have one, you can sign up for free trials of PagerDuty and AppDynamics online.  Once you complete this simple installation, you’ll start receiving incidents in PagerDuty created by AppDynamics out-of-the-box policies.

Once an incident is filed it will have the following list view:

incident

When the ‘Details’ link is clicked, you’ll see the details for this particular incident including the Incident Log:

incident_details

If you are interested in learning more about the event itself, simply click ‘View message’ and all of the AppDynamics event details are displayed showing which policy was breached, violation value, severity, etc. :

incident_message

Let’s walk through some examples of how our customers are using this integration today.

Say Goodbye to Irrelevant Notifications

Is your work email address included in some sort of group email alias at work and you get several, maybe even dozens, of notifications a day that aren’t particularly relevant to your responsibilities or are intended for other people on your team?  I know I do.  Imagine a world where your team only receives messages when the notifications have to do with their individual role and only get sent to people that are actually on call.  With AppDynamics & PagerDuty you can now build in alerting logic that routes specific alerts to specific teams and only sends messages to the people that are actually on-call.  App response time way above the normal value?  Send an alert to the app support engineer that is on call, not all of his colleagues.  Not having to sift through a bunch of irrelevant alerts means that when one does come through you can be sure it requires YOUR attention right away.

on_call_schedules

Automatic Escalations

If you are only sending a notification and assigning an incident to one person, what happens if that person is out of the office or doesn’t have access to the internet / phone to respond to the alert?  Well, the good thing about the power of PagerDuty is that you can build in automatic escalations.  So, if you have a trigger in AppDynamics to fire off a PagerDuty alert when a node is down, and the infrastructure manager isn’t available, you can automatically escalate and re-assign / alert a backup employee or admin.

escalation_policy

The Sky is Falling!  Oh Wait – We’re Just Conducting Maintenance…

Another potentially annoying situation for IT teams are all of the alerts that get fired off during a maintenance window.  PagerDuty has the concept of a maintenance window so your team doesn’t get a bunch of doomsday messages during maintenance.  You can even setup a maintenance window with one click if you prefer to go that route.

maintenance_window

Either way, no new incidents will be created during this time period… meaning your team will be spared having to open, read, and file the alerts and update / close out the newly-created incidents in the system.

We’re confident this integration of the leading application performance management solution with the leading IT incident management solution will save your team time and make them more productive.  Check out the AppDynamics and PagerDuty integration today!