Insight

Insight Enterprises uses AppDynamics to troubleshoot critical ecommerce applications

Insight Enterprises is a leading technology provider of hardware, software and service solutions to business and government clients around the world. With over 5,000 employees worldwide and sales of more than $5 billion annually, Insight has operations in 22 countries, serving clients in more than 180 countries worldwide.

Challenge: Trouble finding root cause of application slowdowns

Insight's employees and customers placed ERP system orders through its eBusiness applications. Because Insight is largely a B2B company, the load on these applications was not heavy, but the high-value of the transactions made slow response times and outages costly for Insight. Dave Young, Manager of eBusiness QA and Support, was hired to make sure these applications performed as well as possible to meet the demands of Insight's customers.

Young quickly discovered that performance issues were hard to find in Insight's highly distributed application. And the existing system for troubleshooting performance problems usually could not locate root cause before the problem disappeared. “My team is first in line when a customer calls to report an issue,” Young said. “Our typical response is to send out a thousand emails asking everyone to check their individual area?when they respond, they say everything's fine. After an hour you find out there wasn't a problem, and yet the customers were experiencing 2-3x slower response times than usual. The majority of the time we weren't resolving issues because they would typically resolve themselves before anyone could determine the root cause.”

Comprehensive APM tools at an affordable price

Insight evaluated several application performance management (APM) solutions but found that the AppDynamics platform provided the best tools at the most competitive price. Young began using AppDynamics APM and realized it was a big timesaver for his team.

The ability to drill down and get to the crux of what's happening deep inside the app is something you can't put a price tag on.

For example, when one of the Phoenix-based applications had been performing badly, the AppDynamics platform helped track and fix the problem. “We were able to go look at a number of transactions in the AppDynamics console and see that the issue was a timeout from a remote function call into our ERP system,” said Young. “We were able to determine not only where the problem was, but what remote function call we were using and what parameters we were passing into it.”

Reduced problem origin detection from over an hour to just seconds

“Using a tool such as AppDynamics APM is key to helping you monitor and visualize any performance issues or bottlenecks you see within your systems, especially when you're dealing with a system as geographically dispersed as ours,” Young said. “Prior to using the AppDynamics platform, it could take us an hour or more to pinpoint the system causing the issue. Now it only takes us a few seconds to identify the root cause.”

With AppDynamics, we're able to pinpoint the system that's causing the issue in a few seconds.

AppDynamics APM has also been valuable in monitoring the frequent changes in Insight's environment. “We generally make six to eight feature set changes deployed twice a month,” explained Young. “The AppDynamics platform has helped us manage the effects of these rapid deployment cycles.”

AppDynamics APM allows Young and his team to quickly diagnose the end-to-end performance in a highly distributed network: “It's just nice to have a tool that you can instantly look at and get immediate feedback on the health of your overall system from one end to the other. That's an invaluable resource to people in my situation?the ability to drill down and get to the crux of what's happening is something you can't put a price tag on.”