Savage Services Corporation provides materials management and transportation services for the electric, coal, natural gas, petroleum and other industries. Since it was founded in 1947, Savage has grown from a single truck hauling coal and timber in Salt Lake City to an international leader in tailored materials management and transportation solutions.
Darrell Swain, a software development manager at Savage, is responsible for applications that handle Savage’s internal business processes. Operations throughout the US and Canada require that these applications run at a high level. The IT help desk had basic network and database monitoring tools to troubleshoot problems, but these were no help when performance issues were caused by problems in the application itself.
In order to troubleshoot these problems more effectively, Swain needed to find a monitoring solution that would give him and his team deep visibility into the application layer.
The obvious solution for this problem – lack of visibility – was a profiler. However, some problems were difficult to discover and time consuming to simulate. The usefulness of a profiler in a production environment became evident. Swain and his team evaluated a few different profilers, but found that none suited the needs of their production application. “They were too intrusive. -- we couldn’t run them in production,” Swain said. “But production is where we could most easily identify problems.” What Swain needed was a tool that gave him the depth and detail of a profiler, but with a fraction of the overhead. Then he found AppDynamics.
In a Proof-of-Concept of AppDynamics’ Pro product, Swain and his team found what they were looking for: a production-ready Application Performance Management (APM) solution. They had access to code-level detail for performance problems, and they experienced “negligible” overhead in production. Furthermore, they found that AppDynamics was “easy to use and quick to deploy.”
Today, most of Swain’s team uses AppDynamics. “Visibility has improved – we can now see which processes are taking more resources and clean up those processes,” Swain said.
AppDynamics also allows Swain to be flexible in his IT strategy. With AppDynamics’ floating licenses, Swain can move his monitoring capabilities from one cluster of servers to another in anticipation of code releases and important launches. This flexibility allows Swain to keep every component of his application healthy without absorbing too much of his IT budget.
With AppDynamics, Swain has found everything he was looking for in an APM solution. It provides powerful profiling capabilities, but it runs in production without bringing down his application. “For highly distributed environments—or even simpler environments where the application is critical and needs to be monitored closely in production—AppDynamics is the best solution I’ve seen,” said Swain. “It’s become an integral part of our application performance management strategy.”