AppDynamics & Splunk – Better Together

December 13 2012

AppDynamics announced a partnership with Splunk. The AppDynamics App on Splunkbase lets you get to root cause of application issues in real-time.

AppD & Splunk LogoA few months ago I saw an interesting partnership announcement from Foursquare and OpenTable.  Users can now make OpenTable reservations at participating restaurants from directly within the Foursquare mobile app.  My first thought was, “What the hell took you guys so long?” That integration makes sense on so many levels, I’m surprised it hadn’t already been done.

So when AppDynamics recently announced a partnership with Splunk, I viewed that as another no-brainer.  Two companies with complementary solutions making it easier for customers to use their products together – makes sense right?  It does to me, and I’m not alone.

I’ve been demoing a prototype of the integration for a few months now at different events across the country, and at the conclusion of each walk-through I’d get some variation of the same question, “How do I get my hands on this?”  Well, I’m glad to say the wait is over – the integration is available today as an App download on Splunkbase.  You’ll need a Splunk and AppDynamics license to get started – if you don’t already have one, you can sign up for free trials of Splunk and AppDynamics online.

Here’s what you’ll be able to do with the AppDynamics App:

  • View application exceptions that are affecting your business (slow business transaction response times, SLA breaches, etc) in Splunk as events then cross-launch into AppDynamics directly from Splunk for drill-down analysis
  • Correlate performance metrics to Splunk machine data

Basically this integration will allow customers to analyze how their app is performing based on data from both inside and outside the application.  I know, I know – what the hell took us so long, right?  To make up for lost time, take a look at the instructions we’ve posted on the AppDynamics Splunkbase listing to get this setup so you can start using the integration today.

We’re confident this integration will revolutionize the way customers analyze application performance – here’s a before and after example to illustrate my point.

Life before the AppDynamics App on Splunkbase:

Imagine you’re in Application Operations and your team has received over a dozen calls this morning from end users complaining that they are having issues checking out of your e-commerce store and purchasing the items in their cart.  You haven’t even had a chance to grab your daily cup of coffee before a colleague pulls you into a troubleshooting meeting. You clear your calendar for the rest of the day and text your wife to let her know you’ll probably be missing dinner tonight.  During the meeting, you pull up the Splunk console and start to analyze log files for the last 4 hours.  You see very quickly that the issue isn’t on the network, there haven’t been any security breaches, the switches all look OK, and the databases are all behaving normally. By process of elimination you’re pretty confident that the issue is somewhere in the application.  Congratulations!  You now know that the issue is somewhere inside the app… But since your app is a black box you’re still at least several hours, perhaps days away from finding the line of code inside your app that is causing the checkout issue.

No visibility inside your app + no business context for the info you do have =  probably going to be a long day

While you’re in the meeting, your team receives an email from management, “It’s holiday shopping season and our customers can’t purchase our products – we need this fixed NOW!”  Your company is losing money for every minute this issue isn’t fixed, potential customers are flocking to your competitor’s websites, and the stress is giving you enough white hairs that you start wondering if a part-time job at the mall as Santa could be in your immediate future.

Life after the AppDynamics App on Splunkbase:

Same scenario as above – but instead of wasting hours of your day in troubleshooting meetings, the AppDynamics App on Splunkbase lets you get to root cause in minutes with a few clicks.

You go ahead and grab your daily cup of coffee and sit down at your desk.  Next, you open up Splunk to analyze the log files for the last 4 hours.   By process of elimination, you see very quickly that the problem is in the application since AppDynamics is pushing policy violations directly into Splunk as events as part of the integration.

Splunk Blog Image 1

Now you look at the exceptions that have to do with the checkout transaction.

Splunk Blog Image 2

Ok, 480 log events having to do with the checkout business transaction have violated this specific policy you’ve defined in the last 4 hours.  Good to know.  Let’s go ahead and drill down inside the app for a particular exception by clicking the dropdown and selecting ‘Launch in AppDynamics’.

Splunk Blog Image 3

That takes you to a nice topology view of the checkout business transaction and how that looks inside your application.

Splunk Blog Image 4

Next, you click on ‘Transaction Snapshots’ to start looking at individual slow checkout transactions.

Splunk Blog Image 5

Now you double-click one of the slow snapshots to bring up an individual session and… AHA!  It looks like the JDBC call from the Inventory App Server to the backend database is causing the slowdown since 99.3% of the total execution time is spent on that one call.

Splunk Blog Image 6

Finally you click ‘Drill Down’ on the Inventory App Server to see the full call graph.

Splunk Blog Image 7

One final click on the ‘JDBC’ link, and you see the exact insert statement that was consuming most of the total response time for this particular slow checkout transaction.

Splunk Blog Image 8

You copy and paste that into an email to your application development team and they start working on the code.  At that moment, your team receives an email from management, “It’s holiday shopping season and our customers can’t purchase our products – we need this fixed NOW!”  You reply and let everyone know that you’ve already identified the root cause of the issue, development is working on the fix, and everything should be running smoothly within the next 15 minutes.  “I wonder what’s for dinner tonight,” you think to yourself as you sip your (still hot) coffee, “I’m kind of in the mood for Italian.”  You proceed to pull out your phone and make an OpenTable reservation for two from directly within your Foursquare mobile app.

At the end of the week, when it’s time to analyze how your business systems were performing, you can also now pull in application and transaction performance metrics from AppDynamics to Splunk dashboards using our revised REST API. Having too much information is never a bad thing.

Splunk Blog Image 9

We’re confident this integration will give you drastically improved visibility into your IT environments, so I encourage you to download the AppDynamics Splunkbase App today, take it for a spin, and let us know what you think.

Marcus Sarmento
Marcus has over 6 years of B2B marketing experience and is currently a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at AppDynamics. Prior to joining AppDynamics in 2011, Marcus worked at Clearwell Systems (acquired by Symantec) and NETGEAR.

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