Speaker: Clay Graham, Director of Enterprise Architecture at ZipRealty
My name is Clay Graham, I’m the Director of Enterprise Architecture, and my primary responsibility is to maintain and manage the Java environments at ZipRealty, making sure that they’re highly available and that we have a great user experience.
ZipRealty, Inc. is the nation’s largest online residential brokerage. We help people in one of the most important decisions they make in their lifetime – buying or selling a home.
We face a number of challenges at ZipRealty around having such a high-traffic, popular real estate destination. We have a very data-rich application, so database transactions and database availability are key to our success.
We use AppDynamics in our production environment to help us with this. We’ve found that it really has minimal performance overhead, and we find a lot of value in being able to drill right into the transaction to understand the nuts and bolts of what’s going on. If we find there’s latency or something that we think is a little bit out of line, we can drill right into the transaction and get the SQL, then bring that back to product development and our database team to iterate and make it better.
Another area that challenges us is understanding what’s normal. You basically need to have some sort of an idea of what is the standard operation of your system to know what is operating outside of that. One of the great things about AppDynamics is it’s given us the ability to have a baseline, and to understand what’s normal relative to the baseline. With a lot of monitoring tools you have to set thresholds manually, or put rules in place. We found that AppDynamics did all that automatically.
And finally because we’re such a data-rich website we do a lot of integration with third parties and third-party web services, a lot of times it’s very difficult to understand how they impact the user experience in the application. Within one hour of installing AppDynamics we understood all the web service collaborators that were involved in our application and how they affected user experience. It really allowed us to go back to those services and make sure that they were consistent with our level of quality. Overall, AppDynamics has been a really helpful tool in both improving how we iterate within our own organization as well as improving overall end user experience.