Adept Business Systems of Australia is a successful software developer in the ERP, “club” or small casino, and property management sectors. Several years ago, it began top-secret development of a new platform for the commercial real estate industry, code-named “Surga” - the Bahasa language word for “heaven” or “paradise.” The name stuck, and the new software solution became Surga Central in the marketplace.
Surga Central is a 100% cloud-based solution that addresses the complete sales cycle for marketing, leasing and selling commercial real estate. Brokers use the platform to list properties, deliver marketing material to enquirers and track deals to settlement. With the ability to work with clients anywhere, anytime, and on any device as a major selling point, it is absolutely critical that Surga Central consistently deliver “heavenly” application performance.
Surga Central offers a premium solution in a highly competitive marketplace, so continuity and consistent performance are essential. The amount of data being transmitted is huge, drawing on both internal databases and external sources such as Google Maps. Bottlenecks are inevitable, and finding and fixing them before they impact clients is critical to maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
“As we have grown, we’ve understood that we will have bottlenecks in our application,” says Steve Clark, Adept CEO. “We want to make sure that we can trap problems before our customers face them. And if we are in a situation where a customer is calling with a performance issue or some other problem, we want to quickly get to the bottom of what’s going on and resolve it.”
As with any large and complex system, new releases are a potential source of bugs and performance breakdowns. Pinpointing and resolving these issues is a top priority in development, pre-release, and production.
With more and more data passing through the application as Surga Central’s business continues to grow, resource management and scalability are top-level priorities.
All these challenges have at their root one overarching need — to have visibility into applications at every level in order to provide the data needed by the development, operations, customer service and management teams to optimize performance for the customer, and thereby drive revenue and growth for Surga Central. That’s where AppDynamics comes in.
The AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform enables Surga Central to achieve higher levels of performance in every phase of its release cycle — development, staging, and production.
“We have various sprints during the year, and usually bring out two to three new releases of the code every year,” Clark says. “We have a development environment, and we run AppDynamics there. Before the code is finally released, when QA is happy, it’s ready to go to staging, where a whole series of further tests are conducted. And then when it’s ready, we deploy to production. AppDynamics helps us through all three stages.”
In those first two stages, the AppDynamics platform enables the team to find and solve issues before the release ever gets to customers. In the third stage, it allows them to both continue to surface and solve problems before customers encounter them, and to reach speedy resolutions when customers actually do have issues.
The AppDynamics platform has also enabled the development team to solve persistent issues, the sources of which had hitherto refused to be found. “We knew there were bottlenecks and there were issues in the code. We just didn’t know where they were,” Clark said. “And we needed something that would provide the transparency to identify them.” That something was AppDynamics Application Intelligence. Once the application was instrumented with the AppDynamics platform, the errors and exceptions “lit up like a Christmas tree.”
The Surga Central team found it surprisingly fast and easy to deploy the AppDynamics agent into their environment — it took just 30 minutes to deploy the application — and then to begin automatically mapping the network and completing the instrumentation process. In their product evaluation trials, the team found the AppDynamics platform “way superior in terms of deployment” to other products, which required a lot of manual configuration and editing of XML and config files.
Identifying and monitoring transactions is another AppDynamics win. “The end user monitoring is very nice,” says Ibrahim Shahatit, senior system administrator/DBA at Adept. “Especially that it can actually detect transactions that are able to be monitored, and all you have to do is move it from one list to another, and then it will be monitored on the fly.”
Ease of deployment and extreme visibility — network-wide and at the code level — are two top benefits noted by the Surga Central team. Future-proofing their application is another.
“We devote a chunk of our development bandwidth towards identification and resolution of scalability issues, so that we can be ready before they occur,” Clark says. “And AppDynamics is playing a critical part in helping that go forward.”
Rounding out the list of advantages AppDynamics brings to Surga Central is support when it’s needed. “Your support is great,” Shahatit says. “I’ve had a couple of calls with the support engineers, and they were very helpful. So that’s another thing on the plus side.”