AppDynamics selects AppDynamics to monitor AppDynamics.com

Today we announced a great milestone at AppDynamics: We have selected an application performance management (APM) solution to monitor our Drupal/WordPress website, and we decided to go with AppDynamics. In order to get a pretty sweet discount on the product we agreed to sell our souls and do a press release AND a video testimonial. Here are both of those (totally serious) marketing assets. Enjoy.

AppDynamics Selects AppDynamics to Monitor AppDynamics.com

Leading APM Company Chooses Leading APM Company to Ensure Performance of Company Web Site

Today AppDynamics announced that it selected AppDynamics to monitor the performance of its web site, AppDynamics.com. The company’s marketing team evaluated multiple potential vendors but chose AppDynamics due to its unmatched ability to identify bottlenecks and resolve problems in production web sites.

Chris Tiwald, Technical Operations Engineer at Conductor who uses AppDynamics, commented, “I don’t understand why the marketing team at AppDynamics didn’t talk to me for this press release. I’m an actual customer who loves AppDynamics, and I would have been happy to share that we’ve seen amazing uptime, performance gains, and ability to correct critical web site problems fast using their easy-to-use and deploy solution. But if they want to do the press release by themselves, whatever, I’m fine with that, I guess.”

The AppDynamics marketing team selected AppDynamics.com based on its ability to gain 100% visibility when monitoring their PHP environment, its rapid troubleshooting capability, and the solution’s overall ease of use.

“The AppDynamics.com web site drives a majority of the leads that ultimately become revenue for the company, and therefore it’s critical that we find and fix web site issues in record time,” said Greg Howard, Sr. Director of Marketing at AppDynamics. “We’ve found that AppDynamics for PHP does exactly that. Another plus was its simplicity and lack of required configuration—after all, I was a liberal arts major and I need my APM tool to be simple.”

“We evaluated other PHP solutions and found that they were hard to use, worked poorly in production, and had terrible looking dashboards,” said Stephen Burton, Director of Product Marketing and Technology Evangelism for AppDynamics. “Only AppDynamics met the requirements of the AppDynamics marketing team. And I play poker with the sales guy, so that was a plus.”

“If our solution is good enough for the likes of Netflix, Priceline, TiVo, AMICA Insurance, Hotels.com, StubHub, Staples, Insight Technologies, and Cornell University, it ought to be good enough for AppDynamics. Therefore, I’m pleased that the AppDynamics marketing team selected AppDynamics to monitor AppDynamics.com,” said Jyoti Bansal, Founder and CEO of AppDynamics. “As we continue to disrupt the market with our application management solution designed for production environments, we’re seeing companies flock to our new approach and throw out legacy vendors that are overly complex, expensive, and ill-suited for today’s highly distributed applications. Furthermore, this validates that the people I hire have very good taste.”

How To Set Up and Monitor Amazon RDS Databases

Relational databases are still an important application component even in today’s modern application architectures. There is usually at least one relational database lurking somewhere within the overall application flow and understanding the behavior of these databases is major factor in rapidly troubleshooting application problems. In 2009, Amazon launched their RDS service which basically allows anyone to spin up a MySQL, Oracle, or MS-SQL instance whenever the urge strikes.

While this service is amazingly useful there are also some drawbacks:

  1. You cannot login and access the underlying OS of your database instance. This means that you can’t use any agent based monitoring tools to get the visibility you really want.
  2. The provided CloudWatch monitoring metrics are high level statistics and not helpful in troubleshooting SQL issues.

The good news is that you can monitor all of your Amazon RDS instances using AppDynamics for Databases (AppD4DB) and in this article I will show you how. If you’re unfamiliar with AppD4DB click here for an introduction.

Setting Up A Database Instance In RDS

Creating a new database instance in RDS is really simple.

Step 1, login to your Amazon AWS account and open the RDS interface.

 RDS 1

Step 2, Initiate the “Launch a DB Instance” workflow.

RDS 2

Step 3, select the type of instance you want to launch. In this case we will use MySQL but I did test Oracle and MS-SQL too.

RDS 3

Step 4, fill in the appropriate instance details. Pay attention to the master user name and password as we will use those later when we create our monitoring configuration (although we could create a new user only for monitoring if we want).

RDS 4

Step 5, finish the RDS workflow. Notice I called the database “wordpress” as I will use it to host a WordPress instance. Also notice that we chose to use the “default” DB security group. You will need to access the security group settings after your new instance is created so that you allow access to the database from the internet. For the sake of testing I opened up my database to 0.0.0.0/0 (not shown in this workflow) which allows the entire internet to connect to my database if they have the credentials. You should be much more selective if you have a real database instance with production applications connected.

RDS 5

RDS 6

RDS 7

Step 6, wait for your instance to be created and watch for the “available” status. When you click on the database instance row you will see the details populate in the “Description” tab below. We will use the “Endpoint” information to connect AppD4DB to our new instance. (At this point you can also build the database structure and connect your application to your running instance.)

RDS 8

Monitor Your Database With AppD4DB

Step 1, enable database monitoring from the “Agent Manager” tab in AppD4DB. Notice we map RDS “Endpoint” to AppD4DB “Hostname or IP Address” and in this case we are using the RDS “Master Username” and “Master Password” for “Username” and “Password” in AppD4DB. Also, since Amazon does not allow any access to the associated OS (via SSH or any other method) we cannot enable OS monitoring.

RDS 9

Step 2, start your new database monitoring and use your application. Here is a screen grab showing a couple of slow SQL queries.

RDS SQL Activity

The Results

So here is what I found for each type of database offered by Amazon RDS.

  • MySQL: Fully functional database monitoring.
  • Oracle: Fully functional database monitoring.
  • MS-SQL: All database monitoring functionality works except for File I/O Statistics. This means that we are 99% functional and capture everything else as expected including the ability to show SQL execution plans.

Amazon RDS makes it fast and easy to stand up MySQL, MS-SQL and Oracle databases. AppDynamics for Databases makes it fast and easy to monitor your RDS databases at the level required to solve your application and database problems. Sounds like a perfect match to me. Sign up for your free trial of AppD4DB and see for yourself today.

Are your monitoring solutions smart or stupid?

Six months ago I did something really stupid. I foolishly jumped on the social media bandwagon, thinking I could become the first super hero to claim online greatness. Sadly, the only meteoric rise has been the disk space quota for my email server inbox–all thanks to the billion notifications I now get daily from LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. For all I know I could have been poked by He-Man, tweeted by Krusty the Clown or propositioned by Batman to join forces on LinkedIn. Sadly, the amount of crap I get these days from trigger-happy social media apps means I simply ignore and delete 99.9% of messages without ever reading them.