iJET Takes Risk Intelligence and Mobile Traveler Security to New Heights with AppDynamics

iJET International is a risk management company that analyzes threat levels around the world and delivers vital information to corporations and non-profits so their employees can operate globally with confidence. Beyond threat analysis, iJET’s patented Worldcue® technology solutions and global response services equip decision-makers and organizations with real-time information to prepare for, monitor and respond to potential business risks. iJET tracks 14+ million of its customers’ business trips and more than 100,000 facilities and other assets annually across five continents. This level of service requires peak performance from business-critical applications, and that’s where the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform comes in.

Challenge: Need for resiliency and “full picture” view of operations

From its headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland, iJET is revolutionizing the way risk management solutions are integrated into global corporate operations. However, for iJET to accurately assess risks and protect customers, the company must pay constant attention to application performance. In fact, the company’s current and future success depends on stability and innovation—specifically within the realm of applications and infrastructure.

Nuno Pereira is the chief technology officer (CTO) for iJET. He’s in charge of everything related to technology, both on the software development and operations sides of the business.

Pereira equates success with resiliency. In risk management terms, that means if a customer in Afghanistan senses danger and presses a button using an iJET application, someone in Annapolis is going to get the message and respond promptly and appropriately. “From our perspective, nothing else matters,” said Pereira.
At iJET, the foundation for resiliency is the company’s Java-based enterprise environment. The company runs Oracle databases on the back end and is implementing a microservices infrastructure that is mostly based on Amazon Web Services (AWS), as well as Spring Boot micro-frameworks. iJETS also maintains a thriving DevOps culture and is using Ansible scripting. Front-end technology is Angular JS for web-based services, and mobile packaged apps are based on a hybrid of Sentia and Cordova technologies.

iJET is currently using AppDynamics for Databases and Java Application Performance Monitoring solutions. Pereira and his team are also looking forward to using AppDynamics Mobile Real-User Monitoring for mobile applications.

AppDynamics has given me and all of us an uncanny ability to look under the covers and see what's happening, and immediately get real metrics around error rates.

Pereira has an affinity for AppDynamics solutions for many reasons. He sums up it up this way:

“Personally for me, I came into this job a year ago and inherited 15 years’ worth of infrastructure and a lot of it technical anomalies. AppDynamics has given me and all of us an uncanny ability to look under the covers and see what's happening, and immediately get real metrics around error rates. Also, it allows us to go in and tune our environment to be more reliable to the point that we were getting a lot more information than our managed service provider about the applications that we were running.” 

iJET CEO Bruce McIndoe has also taken note of the positive change that the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform has brought about and finds it liberating to have full visibility into the system. For a long time he was concerned that few people in organization knew how the system really worked. Now, with AppDynamics, new team members are able to see what’s going on immediately, which is a huge plus when hiring and retaining talent. Also, CEO McIndoe couldn’t help but notice how well the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform has allowed the company’s technical operations teams to tune the system. In a recent dramatic spike in traffic McIndoe said, “Our transaction times were flat -- we could see it in AppDynamics, and our customers were happy—things were totally stable.” 

The impact of the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform is also readily apparent to iJET’s developers troubleshooting issues and Quality Assurance fine-tuning JVMs. “To all of us, it's been absolutely game changing,” said Pereira. “Overall, the team is happier; they feel like they're more in control, and I can tell you that the return on investment—you can feel it.”

Benefits: Application transparency, faster incident response, and no fingerpointing

In iJET’s business, there is so much at stake that the company’s technologists must always be working in real time to assess the impact of threats, whether natural, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, or geopolitical, such as terrorist activity or political unrest. This level of vigilance requires constant attention to infrastructure stability, performance and overall reliability. To that end, Pereira and colleagues formed a “SWAT” team with elite members from Development, Quality Assurance, Operations, and Database. Recently, when deploying a next-generation risk-management platform and detecting some performance issues, the tool that everyone defaulted to naturally was the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform.

Our transaction times were flat -- we could see it in AppDynamics, and our customers were happy—things were totally stable.

“They were basically huddled around the room, each one representing a different group and a different skillset, but they were all looking at the AppDynamics dashboard and executing the transactions because all the metrics looked great in QA, in Development and in Operations,” said Pereira. “AppDynamics allowed us to see where all the bottlenecks were, and it made our team that much more efficient and effective,” he added. “We were able to deploy on time with something that was resilient and performing, and I think that's a tremendous success.”

Pereira’s favorite benefit of the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform is being able to quickly determine which transactions are the slowest across the entire environment, which if any are failing, and then connecting the dots. He tells of a predicament he and his team faced with a third-party authentication tool that ran very fast through iJET’s web platform, but incredibly slow through the company’s mobile platform.

“We were getting some customer complaints about this,” he said. Fortunately, the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform revealed the transactions that were taking so long. Pereira was able to drill down to the code, and then took the stack trace to the vendor. “It wasn’t a finger-pointing exercise,” he said. “It was more like, ‘You guys need to fix this,’ and they did.”

Speaking of fixing things, Pereira mentioned to his AppDynamics representative that the AppDynamics per-agent, per-instance licensing model wasn’t a good fit for the microservices infrastructure that iJET had recently embraced. It wasn’t long before AppDynamics changed its microservices pricing model. “For me,” said Pereira, “that shows that AppDynamics is listening.”

iJET has purchased licenses for the AppDynamics Mobile Real-User Monitoring product module, but hasn’t yet deployed the agents. However, Pereira is impressed by how much his team can see anyways, even without the agents. “Just the way AppDynamics injects some sort of correlation ID allows us to see the user experience—how long things are taking and where the requests are coming from—even through our hybrid mobile platform,” he said.

He concluded by saying, “The interesting thing that I credit AppDynamics for is that your stuff works. I mean, that's all I’ve got to say.”