Karavel

France’s #1 Travel Site Karavel Chooses AppDynamics Over Compuware/Dynatrace and CA Wily

Karavel.com is the number one travel site in France, helping millions of travelers reach their destinations around the world. The site receives about 4 million unique visitors a month and processes about 3,000 transactions per minute. More than a decade old, the company had to implement major technology infrastructure changes in order to achieve scale and give its end users a seamless experience. It transitioned from a monolithic WebLogic architecture to a SOA/distributed environment that included more than 200 Tomcat servers, multiple databases and asynchronous web services communicating to multiple web partners.

Challenge: Needed to optimize performance for a new system architecture

Due to their complex architecture, the Karavel Operations and Development teams found themselves facing a variety of issues, including site performance problems as a result of non-optimized SQL queries, open source framework performance bugs and resource leakages. They attempted to resolve these issues using logs as well as thread and memory dumps, but ended up with an average MTTR of more than three hours. Guillaume Postaire, Infrastructure Architect for Karavel noted, “Even after we resolved whatever problem we were dealing with, we still weren't finished firefighting. The resulting post-mortem analysis could take as long as a day. That's why we decided to go out to the market and evaluate application performance management solutions.” Karavel's team looked at a variety of application performance management (APM) solutions, but found they were hard-to-use, costly and unsuitable for the production environment. “We couldn't make a buying decision without having a Proof of Concept in our production environment, which is where we were worried about visibility and root cause analysis,” said Benoit Villaumie, Karavel's Lead Architect. “We found AppDynamics and asked for the 30-day trial license—which we received immediately after doing an online demo with a sales representative. AppDynamics had no problem giving us the trial license keys and logins and letting us do our own deployment in our production environment.”

AppDynamics provided application visibility without sacrificing autonomy

“From the first moment with AppDynamics, it was clear that they had designed an intuitive product that was intended for customers to self-serve and enjoy using to monitor production environments. And we never looked back. AppDynamics delivers great results while being extremely easy to use,” Postaire said. Karavel deployed the AppDynamics APM solution in production without the help of consultants. The team immediately identified a production performance bottleneck due to bugs in the Java framework, thanks to the platform's ability to auto-discover and display full-call-stack latency breakdown for problematic business transactions. Karavel also identified a performance regression problem after a production release was deployed with the AppDynamics platform's ability to automatically baseline the performance of business transactions and compare performance across releases. Even system analysis was vastly simplified since the team could now set up custom dashboards and review metrics related to memory and garbage collector activity. Root cause analysis became much faster and less painful compared to the previous practice of analyzing log files and thread dumps.

Karavel increased application performance, reduced MTTR

“AppDynamics is now used by around 50 people that include business analysts, developers, architects and operations, but it's so easy to use anyone can log in and figure it out—no one needs to ‘own' it,” Postaire said. Crucial business transactions, such as the “search” transaction—where end-users review potential transportation options—improved dramatically. “We've seen a 20% increase in performance across many of our key transactions,” said Postaire. Villaumie pointed out that the AppDynamics solution also greatly reduced MTTR when problems occur. “We no longer spend hours searching for root cause. Typically now it's only minutes.” The bottom line: the AppDynamics platform provided tremendous value while being extremely easy to use. “AppDynamics was approachable and made the entire process easy,” Postaire said. “And the value they've delivered to Karavel is tremendous. Our entire team loves using their solution.”

“We've seen a 20% increase in performance across many of our key transactions.”