More than three million people—nearly one in three residents of the U.A.E.—depends on Daman to cover their healthcare costs. Its state-of-the-art technology and commitment to ongoing innovation have made it the partner of choice for multinational companies in the aerospace, construction, energy, financial, and media industries.
Yet, as Daman introduced new online services, for both staff and customers, the 140-member IT team found itself in need to monitor multiple systems to ensure the smooth running of the company’s operations. It was nearly impossible to follow Business Transactions end-to-end through a complex environment of Windows, Linux, MS SQL, MySQL, and Oracle technologies.
“We were learning relatively late that key services were not working, usually as a result of user complaints, and we were not being alerted to problems generated by smaller services at all,” Abdullah Nasir Manager Application Support in IT Services recalls. “We had a couple of custom monitoring and reporting tools, but their primary function was alerting and not rigorous diagnostics.”
Daman selected AppDynamics’ unified monitoring solution because of its broad support for a wide range of technologies and app servers and also for features like code-level diagnostics and dynamic baselining. “We liked that AppDynamics was easy to implement with SaaS, as well as with Cloud and On-Prem,” Nasir said. “And agent overhead is less than 2%.”
It also helped that the team realized immediate value when they were able to identify and resolve a memory leak in the service integration layer during a Proof of Concept test. By reconfiguring and tuning the affected servers they improved stability—not a single crash was reported for more than two months.
Every day the Daman team reviews the daily error rates and average response time of usiness Transactions for the past 24 hours.
“We used to spend double the time troubleshooting every critical issue with our in-house applications,” Nasir says. “Now, by leveraging the diagnostics feature with AppDynamics, we can pinpoint the issue immediately. We have cut MTTR (Mean Time To Resolution) in half. It was taking eight hours to identify and check a problem, and now it’s within four hours or less.”
AppDynamics has been especially useful in identifying the root cause of very slow transactions. Nasir notes that, “Configuration visibility into our servers is also clearer now. We are monitoring the JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and memory issues we used to have, and we have increased the level of stability of our servers.”
One example of how improved performance monitoring supports business goals is the Medical Rules Engine. As part of its early digitization efforts, Daman developed what is perhaps the region’s biggest and most complex platform for automating claim approvals based on rules generated by the Medical Standards and Research unit. Daman uses AppDynamics to monitor associated web services as well as calls to the rule engine generated by its core systems. If for some reason the engine does not respond, the transaction is forwarded to a human claims processor, creating delays. Failed or slow transactions negatively impact the services for our customers.
As Daman continues to transform its IT environment for the benefit of their customers and business partners, the AppDynamics solution is slated to play a bigger role. On deck is the implementation of a DevOps process to support continuous development and an upcoming migration from a legacy data center to a private cloud. “It’s a critical project,” Nasir says. “And obviously we want to be able to ensure that the move leads to application performance increasing.”
Looking farther ahead, Bauer sees no end to Daman’s transformation, as new technologies appear on the horizon. But he’s confident the IT department, and the company, will hold onto its leadership position. “Just as we’re leaders in health insurance, we want to set an example of having the best IT team in the region, too,” he says. “AppDynamics is helping us achieve that goal.”