AppDynamics Spring ‘17 Enables APM for More Developers

There have long been silos of information and talent within enterprises as each team works on their part of the big puzzle, building applications to move the business forward. However, the pieces of the puzzle are getting bigger in number with the adoption of microservices and multi-cloud strategies, and more complex to assemble as multiple frameworks and programming languages coexist within an application. In this complex ecosystem, developers, operations, and business teams do their best to align and anticipate what the requirements and interdependencies are, but many enterprises don’t realize the full picture.

To build a successful business in this era of high velocity, high customer expectations, and increasing complexity, enterprises must create trusted teams across business, development, and operations (BizDevOps) to execute at peak effectiveness. Today, AppDynamics releases its Spring ‘17 release with features and capabilities that will enable closer collaboration between these teams.

Developer Toolkit

As part of Spring ‘17, the new Developer Toolkit brings APM into more stages of the software development lifecycle to let developers optimize for performance early in their process. Business Transaction (BT) developer mode enables a single BT to be isolated and captured so developers can test specific functionality or microservices without artificially increasing the overhead of the entire application. BT developer mode enables them to develop and release faster with less risk by tuning functionality early. Using Business Transaction Live Mode, operations and development can use sampled live application data to fine tune their BTs and ensure all business relevant values and interactions are captured.

For mobile developers, Spring ‘17’s toolkit brings an arsenal of new capabilities, including Xamarin support, allowing them to release these mobile applications faster and with confidence, having performance and crash information for this new framework. Additionally, mobile developers get automatically configured smart alerts that identify new crash types on each version of the application and alert them with aggregated root cause as well as each individual user and session impacted to resolve faster.

The AppDynamics Developer Toolkit also brings support for Go language for developers to instrument their applications. This new capability allows for full visibility into the entire application tiers so every single customer interaction is traced from touch to code to infrastructure.

Deeper and wider with Enterprise iQ

Enterprise iQ is at the core of the AppDynamics App iQ platform and allows it to scale with the largest and most complex environments. In Spring ‘17, we’re expanding agent and license administration capabilities to support our largest deployments with over 100,000 agents. The new Universal Agent for Java and Server allow for ease of deployment and upgrades across large or dynamic environments. New license management capabilities streamline administration across enterprises and give the ability to set license quotas and view consumption across the organization.

Bringing Business iQ to development

AppDynamics’ new Spring ‘17 brings a wealth of new features and capabilities to help teams build trust and align initiatives. From tying mobile application quality to business outcomes using the Developer Toolkit to providing streamlined administration and management across the largest and more complex environments with Enterprise iQ, the Spring ‘17 release focuses on enabling application success across the organization. With the App iQ platform, enterprises are able to stay at the forefront of innovation and release faster and with less risk to stay ahead of the competition.

Enterprise iQ License Management Demo

At AppSphere 2016, we gave attendees a glimpse into the future of our new license management system. As we continue to grow in large enterprises and gain broader adoption across more parts of the organizations we service, our customers have asked us to help their administrators manage license entitlements more easily.

Imagine the challenge of allocating licenses across tens of thousands of application nodes for operations teams in different business units located in various parts of the world. Without the right tools, planning and predicting license utilization can quickly become tedious and time consuming.

In building a reimagined enterprise-grade license management system, we focused on ease of use, scalability, and configurability. In our demo at AppSphere 2016, we showed off a few key areas of focus.

License Usage Visualization


Figure 1: Peak license usage across agent modules over the past four hours.

In the newly designed license usage page, admins can see organization-wide license utilization across all agent modules in a single view. As you can see in Figure 1, we’ve selected .NET, which pops up a more detailed usage chart. When we switch the time range to a different period, all associated charts update in real-time.

Our platform is able to measure license consumption over time down to minute granularity. This is extremely useful for customers with highly volatile traffic patterns.

License Entitlements and Rules

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Figure 2: Different teams can be assigned different access keys.

A large financial institution may have different teams focused on institutional banking, commercial banking, and compliance, for example. Each team has different needs in terms of technology. In our license management system, we’re able to create rules which allow you to allocate a pool of licenses for each team and get a real-time view into how these licenses are being utilized. We’ve also made it a lot easier to move licenses between teams or between agent modules.

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Figure 3: Entitlement settings allow users to allocate licenses for different agent modules.

Once a rule is created, an access key is generated. This access key can be shared with members of the team for application instrumentation.

License Scopes

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Figure 4: Application Scope and Machine Scope can be added as part of a rule to automatically include applications or machines that match a set of criteria.

As part of rules, we’ve added a powerful capability called Scopes, which allows admins to automatically apply rules to specific applications or machines by using regular expressions and naming conventions.

For example, if we have applications for user testing, we can prefix all of these applications with “user_test” and match this prefix as part of a scope. This applies equally to machines as well, so only machines named “user_test” will consume licenses. All of these features are critical for large enterprise deployments and make it easy for admins to manage their licenses.

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AppSphere 2016 Demos Overview: Enterprise iQ and Business iQ

We saw many exciting demos at AppSphere 2016 which showcased new capabilities of the App iQ Platform. To pull off these live demos on stage, numerous cross functional teams put in months of planning and weeks of setup and rehearsal to make sure each demo was delivered successfully.

Enterprise iQ: AppDynamics Improves Enterprise APM Support

Years ago, “enterprise” for us meant any customers with ~10,000 agents in production. Today, we’re supporting customers that are scaling up to ~100,000 agents. It’s no surprise that more and more companies are adopting a micro services approach to delivering software. Administering thousands of agents and nodes is no easy task, but with Enterprise iQ we’re making it simple and configurable.

Demo: Universal Agent

The first demo at AppSphere focused on our Universal Agent which is a small package that can be installed on a server with a simple shell command. The Universal Agent discovers environment variables and processes which it reports back to an AppDynamics controller which in turn issues commands back to the agent.

The Universal Agent can install and update agents automatically and works with npm, rpm, puppet, chef, or even your own private repositories. In the demo, we showed how Universal Agent set up AppDynamics for a standard Java Tomcat application. We also showed how easy it is to upgrade an agent from an old version of AppDynamics to a new one. Once agents are installed they automatically begin reporting performance metrics to AppDynamics.

Demo: License Management

The second demo was all about our new enterprise focused license management system. We’ve added new visualizations which help customers instantly see exactly how their licenses are being utilized. For example, we can view Java license consumption over time with minute granularity. This makes it easy to know when certain micro services need more licenses.

As part of our new Enterprise iQ license management system, we can now deploy license entitlements with different access keys. This allows us to control the number of agents consumed by a given key. If you’re a large financial institution you can now carve out specific licenses for different business units.

We’ve also added scopes to Enterprise iQ which are powerful rules that use regular expressions and naming conventions. For example, we can use scopes to make sure that only certain machines used for user acceptance testing may consume licenses. Scopes can be saved and used over and over. No more calling and chasing people down who have used up too many licenses!

Demo: Network Visibility

One of the most exciting new features announced was network visibility which is currently a black box for many APM solutions. At AppSphere we showed how our customers can now shine a light onto the black box of network performance and begin measuring throughput through all of their systems.

Our network visibility dashboard does not rely on SPAN & TAP methods. Instead we monitor ingress and egress traffic by marrying the five-tuple of source and destination IP and port, as well as protocol. Once you toggle the network dashboard you will see an overlay of the underlying net flow data and key performance indicators such as bandwidth, packet loss, and throughput.

Demo: Business iQ

Last but not least, we showed a demo of Business iQ that walked customers through each and every step of the creation of a business-focused dashboard. First we turned on analytics and added a data collector. Data collectors allow you to specify classes and methods to collect parameter and return values.

Once we have data collectors turned on we can begin to create metrics for anything we can think of. Once a metric is built we can create health rules to alert us when something strays from baseline.

As part of Business iQ we also showed a new and improved funnel widget that includes conversion rate and abandon rate. All of these new features are part of Fall ‘16 and make it easier for IT to begin driving business outcomes.

If you’d like to try out these features for yourself, take our free trial for a spin.