Citrix is a leader in virtualization, networking and cloud services to enable new ways for people to work better. Citrix solutions help IT and service providers to build, manage and secure virtual and mobile workspaces that seamlessly deliver apps, desktops, data and services to anyone, on any device, over any network or cloud. With annual revenue in 2013 of $2.9 billion, Citrix solutions are in use at more than 330,000 organizations and by over 100 million people globally.
Spencer Schwab, Staff Application Engineer at Citrix Systems, was responsible for the functionality of the company's core applications—gotomeeting.com, gotowebinar.com, gototraining.com—and made sure they were up all the time, available to customers and had enough capacity. “The biggest challenge of keeping gotomeeting.com up all the time, along with anything else we're running, is trying to find out really where the problems are,” said Schwab.
“Getting visibility into what's wrong is hard because everything is really complex. So I've been spending a lot of time troubleshooting some specific problems in production.” Citrix knew there had to be a better way of pinpointing performance issues and getting visibility into its complex architecture.
Citrix began evaluating application performance management (APM) solutions. “So in the beginning after I set up the AppDynamics platform, it looked really good. I liked a lot of things about it,” said Schwab. “There were other companies that looked really good, too. So we brought them in and did an evaluation.”
Citrix found that other solutions hindered system performance rather than enhanced it and couldn’t deploy them in production. “Some of the other competitors we were looking at would crash our servers,” said Schwab.
“We couldn't even get them in production because our servers would crash in test. With the AppDynamics solution that wasn't the case.” He added, “When our resources got really heavy and the AppDynamics platform was running, it actually has backup algorithms that kept it from crashing our servers.
The AppDynamics solution’s production-ready, low-overhead architecture proved to be a good fit for Citrix, making it the clear choice. Once deployed, the platform began to deliver immediate value. “Everything just fell together,” said Schwab. “The ease of implementation, the maintenance, the value you get right out of the box is just amazing.”
“I'm starting to get my life back,” said Schwab, who would previously spend extra hours manually searching various log files to identify root causes. “To be able to look at something that tells me – in a very complex, distributed environment, with 95% confidence – where the problem is within a couple minutes, that's huge. I don't have to pour through tons of logs, tons of data, tons of graphs, through slow systems to try to find that.”
Schwab recommends the AppDynamics platform for anyone in an operations, development or architecture role that's trying to manage any kind of server?even standalone servers. “But really, when you get into the distributed transaction model, it just makes sense. What the AppDynamics platform does, the way it visualizes things and shows them, the way it breaks down into your transaction snapshots - you dig into the code and you actually see exactly where your latency is,” Schwab remarked.
“I have a big vision for what the AppDynamics platform can do for our business. It can honestly help us scale and focus on what we need to focus on, what's right for our customers, for our code,” concluded Schwab.