TAG | Enterprise APM
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.Link to this post:
It’s been about 12 years since I last scripted in PHP. I pretty much paid my way through college building PHP websites for small companies that wanted a web presence. Back then PHP was the perfect choice, because nearly all the internet service providers had PHP support for free if you registered domain names with them. Java and .NET wasn’t an option for a poor smelly student like me, so I just wrote standard HTML with embedded scriplets of PHP code and bingo–I had dynamic web pages.
Today, 244 million websites run on PHP which is almost 75% of the web. That’s a pretty scary statistic. If only I’d kept coding PHP back when I was 21, I’d be a billionaire by now! PHP is a pretty good example of how open-source technology can go viral and infect millions of developers and organizations world-wide.
Everyone and their mother is talking about big data these days – how to manage it, how to analyze it, how to gain insight from it – but very few organizations actually have big data that they have to worry about managing or analyzing. That’s not the case for FamilySearch, the world’s largest genealogy organization. FamilySearch has 10 petabytes of census records, photographs, immigration records, etc. in its database, and its data grows every day as volunteers upload more documents. Ironically, this organization that’s tasked with cataloging our past is now on the forefront of the big data trend, as they’re being forced to find new and innovative ways to manage and scale this data.
From 2011 to 2012, FamilySearch scaled almost every aspect of their application, from data to throughput to user concurrency. According to Bob Hartley, Principal Engineer and Development Manager at FamilySearch, AppDynamics was instrumental in this project. Hartley estimates that FamilySearch saved $4.8 million over two years by using AppDynamics to optimize the application instead of scaling infrastructure. That’s a pretty big number, so we broke it down for you in this infographic:
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How FamilySearch Scaled
- From 11,500 tpm to 122,000 tpm
- From 6,000 users per minute to 12,000 users per minute
- From 12 application releases per year to 20 application releases per year
- From 10 PB of data to approaching 20 PB of data
- No additional infrastructure
- Response time reduced from minutes to seconds
- 227 Severity-1 incidents/year took 33 hours each to troubleshoot
- 300 pre-production defects per year took 49 hours each to troubleshoot
- This amounts to a total of 36,891 man-hours spent on troubleshooting every year
FamilySearch estimates that they saved $4.8 million with AppDynamics in two years. That’s a huge number, so let’s break it down:
- FamilySearch would have had to purchase 1,200 servers at approx. $1,000 each, amounting to $1,200,215 in savings
- Those 1,200 servers would cost $2,064,370 in power and air conditioning
- Those 1,200 servers would cost $200,000 in administrative costs over two years
FamilySearch estimates that they’ve reduced troubleshooting time for both pre-production defects and production incidents by 45%, amounting to $885,170 in savings for pre-production and $460,836 in savings for production incidents (based on average salaries for those positions).
To learn more about what FamilySearch accomplished and how they use AppDynamics, check out their case study and Bob Hartley’s video interview on the FamilySearch ROI page.Link to this post:
Welcome back to my series on Deploying APM in the Enterprise. In Part 7: Dashboards and Reports – Get the Business on Your Side we discussed ways of using data collected by your monitoring tools to benefit the business and provide a holistic view to the people who need it. When implemented properly, dashboards and reports can act as a value multiplier to your monitoring investments.
This week we finally arrive at the end of my series. If you’ve implemented the suggestions in my other posts you’re probably an up and coming rockstar in your organization. Now that you’re on the right track you need to avoid becoming a one hit wonder. This post is dedicated to all the one hit wonders out there, and will act as your guide on how to avoid this scenario. So in honor of the one hit wonders of past years and decades I’ll be scattering some song names and artists throughout this post as a reminder of their fleeting fame and glory.
Build and Lead a Center of Excellence (CoE)
The Reason – Hoobastank
“And the reason is you…” – When you’re at the top of your game it can be difficult to figure out what you want to do next. In most organizations you wont maintain your rockstar status for long without diversifying your skill set and securing your next big win. The “What have you done for me lately?” mentality is alive and well in the corporate world. Give the masses what they want (your next hit) by starting a CoE, inviting performance geeks from all across your organization, and exchanging information. You’ll probably hear about all kinds of performance nightmares and have the opportunity to help solve them with your tools and expertise. You will also probably get exposed to cool projects that other performance geeks are working on and get a chance to improve your skills. The CoE is a powerful tool for any organization.
Architect the Future
Epic – Faith No More
“You want it all but you can’t have it…” unless you are the Architect deciding the direction of tooling for your organization. Larger organizations will have architecture review boards or something similar that make decisions on the technology direction for the company. Attend these meetings and find out what it takes to become a board member.
“If you don’t have a seat at the table you’re probably on the menu.” – I have no idea who to attribute this quote to but it’s right on the money. Go get your seat at the table!!!
The Trusted Advisor
You’re a Friend of Mine – Clarence Clemons
“Oh you can depend on me, over and over…” – Being a trusted adviser means that you have built a strong relationship with someone and they value your viewpoint. If you are responsible for solving a problem for the business make sure you take time to nurture that relationship through conversation, email, chat, etc… Be sure to check in occasionally and ask is there is anything that you can help resolve. The more problems you help out with, the stronger your trusted advisor status becomes, the brighter your rockstar shines. It’s a cycle you want to be caught up in. This is a role that adds tremendous value to your organization and to your personal career so make sure you give this the attention it deserves.
I Can Help – Billy Swan
“When I go to sleep at night, you’re always a part of my dream” – I’ve had my work invade my dreams too many times. It’s definitely a sign that you are immersed in what you are doing and is scary and pretty cool at the same time.
It’s really important that you have a running dialogue with your software vendor after you make a purchase. You need to make sure your vendor keeps you updated on new product features, best practices, and their product roadmap. It’s not all up to the vendor though, you need to be engaged at multiple levels described below…
You will find that there are features and functionality that could really help in certain circumstances but that are missing from the product you purchased. This happens with every product if you use it enough and you need to keep a list of these enhancements along with use cases to justify and clarify each item. It also helps the vendor tremendously if you can keep the list prioritized and assign a high/medium/low importance to each line item. This benefits both you and the vendor, a true win-win.
Another certainty when using a software product long enough is that you will need some support when the product doesn’t work as expected. Be sure to stay involved with support cases so that you know how responsive the vendor is as well as what problems have already been encountered so you will recognize them if they crop up again in the future. This level of engagement can also help you avoid issues because you already know the scenario that causes a certain problem.
It’s also vitally important to make sure your vendor is responding in a timely manner. Problems that drag on for too long with too little communication create a bad overall impression and can impact the business. This is bad for you, your business, and the vendor. If you notice a pattern of problems that take too long to resolve or just too many issues be sure to address it with your vendor as soon as possible.
Most vendors will have at least annual users conferences. These conferences are a great time to network with other users and learn how they are solving problems, what kind of issues they experience, and understand their best practices for deploying and using the product. It’s also a time where you can learn about upcoming product features and even get to meet the folks who are directly responsible for your tool. There is a wealth of very specific knowledge at users conferences for you to take advantage of so make sure to get approval and reserve your spot early.
Tracking Your Success
The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades – Timbuk 3
(No quote needed!) – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Document your successes, ALL of them, and translate each success into business value. By doing this you get the following benefits:
- Documentation of your value to the business for raises, bonuses, reviews, etc…
- Track record of past success used in business justification for new products.
- Business justification when it comes time to renew your existing product licenses.
- Credibility in presentations when you are meeting with new organizations or convincing application owners to implement your solutions.
Becoming a rockstar in your organization is a great accomplishment that can be easily tarnished by becoming a one hit wonder. Don’t let it happen to you. Become and expert and constantly look for opportunities to share and improve upon your knowledge and skills.
If you’ve read all of the posts in this series you probably deserve some sort of prize (as if your growing rockstar status isn’t enough). Feel free to tweet to me (@HirschOnAPM) to let me know of this gargantuan accomplishment and I’ll see if I can hook you up with some AppDynamics swag as a prize. Now go forth and be a rockstar!Link to this post: