AppDynamics helps Allconnect successfully migrate architecture without disruption
Through relationships with major utilities and home service providers, Allconnect helps millions of consumers save time and money on services for the connected home, including communication bundles, TV, Internet, phone and home security. The company offers a convenient single source for comparing and ordering when customers are transferring or establishing household services and want to ensure they get the best value. Founded in 1998, Allconnect is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with additional offices in Houston, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; and St. George, Utah.
Dedicated to helping customers find the best home services and easily order those services, Allconnect strives to provide a consistent, top-notch user experience. So when the company decided to shift from a flat client to a dynamic client architecture, which required scaling from a handful of servers to upwards of 40 servicing the different functions of the application, it had to be sure that the transition was seamless to customers.
“It was a daunting task,” said Roy Early, production support manager at Allconnect. “We went looking for something that would help us get an idea of what the performance was, where the problems were, where the bottlenecks were, those types of things that are really hard to track down when there are so many different moving parts and pieces of the entire application stack.”
A team at Allconnect evaluated three different application performance management (APM) products to achieve this visibility, and recommended AppDynamics as the solution to deploy in production.
“AppDynamics came in and made it very seamless for us to be able to put the agent on the various Java machines and get very nice flow mappings of where requests were coming in and where they were going to,” said Early. “Any Java errors were caught and displayed with the transaction snapshots, allowing us to do transaction analysis and things of that nature. It gave us the ability to see what the response times were across the system, and an idea of how many calls were coming in per minute, and the number of errors per minute as well. It gives us a really nice dashboard and flow mapping of all our services.”
In fact, the AppDynamics APM solution proved its value immediately. Early recalled, “The moment we implemented AppDynamics into our test environment, it allowed us to see the connection flows, the call times, and was actually able to help us analyze a Java memory leak that would have caused us major issues in production.” He added, “We were able to catch that in the testing phase, which was a huge benefit for us. It allowed us to keep from having down time because as with most memory errors and memory leaks you basically have to take down the JVM and restart, so that would have been most disastrous.”
Since the AppDynamics APM helped Allconnect avoid a problem that could have taken weeks to hunt down and caused several system crashes, Early was impressed. “Right off the bat it paid for itself, just in the testing phase of the system when we first put it in place,” he said.
In addition to the test environment, Allconnect deployed the AppDynamics APM in production to proactively manage performance. “We actually use the metrics to evaluate when we need to do some database maintenance and archiving,” said Early. “The way that AppDynamics manages data over time and gives us the baseline metrics, we can see when things are starting to increase in response time, and are able to then dig in and try to evaluate where the bottleneck is coming from.”
Allconnect also gave the developers access to the dashboard so they could use the data to enhance their code. “It gives them insight that they've never had before, which is I think very unique and cool, and making the whole application more robust,” said Early.
The AppDynamics APM has become an integral part of the IT infrastructure at Allconnect. “I would hate to have to troubleshoot without it because it has given us so much insight into the software stack and where all the different call flows are going,” said Early. He elaborated, “It allows us to evaluate things even at a function and a method level that I never had access to before.”Early would recommend the AppDynamics APM solution to anyone doing service-oriented architecture monitoring, “It's invaluable to us in that case,” Early concluded.