FamilySearch saves $4.8 million in 2 years with AppDynamics

FamilySearch International, a non-profit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is the world's largest genealogy organization. Millions of people worldwide rely on FamilySearch to preserve and provide free access to genealogical records of every kind.

Challenge: Needed to keep pace with big data and fast growth

With more than 10 petabytes of data, the FamilySearch service was a challenge to manage, especially as it grew. “We're growing the system at an incredibly fast pace of 300 million new records per year and 300 million new images,” said Bob Hartley, Principal Engineer and Development Manager at FamilySearch. “We're on the path to 20 petabytes of data, and more.” FamilySearch started out with an Oracle database, Java and Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) to power its search engine, but quickly found that this architecture could not support the data. “The amount of time it took to query the database against 3 billion records to return one record was just completely unacceptable to users,” Hartley said. “They don't want to wait minutes.” FamilySearch quickly realized that simply scaling infrastructure was not an efficient way to manage performance and would be prohibitively expensive. They needed to find a way to maximize application performance while the load and data grew exponentially.

AppDynamics helped manage performance in a dynamic environment

With more than 10 petabytes of data, the FamilySearch service was a challenge to manage, especially as it grew. “We're growing the system at an incredibly fast pace of 300 million new records per year and 300 million new images,” said Bob Hartley, Principal Engineer and Development Manager at FamilySearch. “We're on the path to 20 petabytes of data, and more.” FamilySearch started out with an Oracle database, Java and Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) to power its search engine, but quickly found that this architecture could not support the data. “The amount of time it took to query the database against 3 billion
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FamilySearch achieved 10x throughput and ROI without new infrastructure investment

Hartley found that by giving his team access to AppDynamics, they were able to more quickly respond to performance issues that arose in the application. “We've taken the mean-time-to-recovery for our problems from days down to a matter of minutes,” said Hartley. “We estimate we've saved about $460,000 in productivity costs alone, just by reducing the amount of time we all spend troubleshooting issues.”

AppDynamics was able to discover issues that we had been trying to track down in the software for many years.

Improve application performance while increasing load and data—without adding any new infrastructure. “Adding more infrastructure would have been very expensive for us—it would have cost us millions in hardware, power and administration costs. The fact that we've avoided having to do that has been huge for us.” Hartley and his team estimated that the deferred hardware costs amount to nearly $3.5 million in savings for FamilySearch. A year after first implementing the AppDynamics solution, Hartley and his team reviewed their progress and found that throughput increased from 11,500 transactions per minute to 122,000 transactions per minute. In addition, Hartley and his team reduced the response time of their longest-running transactions. We've taken the mean-time-to-recovery for our problems from days down to a matter of minutes. “We didn't buy any new infrastructure, we didn't need any new hardware, and now we're supporting

With AppDynamics we were able to gain an order of magnitude performance improvement. We didn't need to buy any new infrastructure, and now we're supporting 10x the load on the system.

more than 10x load on the system than we were a year ago,” said Hartley. “But the best thing is, our end users would never know—despite our massive scale in load and data, our performance is actually improving. That seems impossible, but that's what we've managed to do with AppDynamics.”

We've taken the mean-time-to-recovery for our problems from days down to a matter of minutes.