Jostle Builds Radically Responsive Intranets with AppDynamics Application Intelligence

Jostle Corporation is on a quest to disrupt the enterprise software marketplace. An award-winning Vancouver-based software design firm, Jostle’s primary objective is to build “a radically better intranet” for every customer, where workplaces are incredibly vibrant and productive. Jostle software feels natural and is fun to use. It nurtures lively internal communications, discussions and collaboration. So, it’s no wonder Jostle’s intranets deliver employee participation rates that are 5X industry norms. 

Challenge: Need for speed of software delivery

Jostle is a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business. But, not surprisingly, the company’s customers expect their intranets to deliver responsiveness on a par with on-premise software. “Everything the company does has to be fast,” said Teg Ryan, director of technical operations at Jostle. “All of our users expect to get their documents or have a discussion in our application without any kind of glitch or delay,” he added. “So, we use AppDynamics Application Intelligence to monitor every aspect of response time levels. If there’s slowdown, we can easily drill down and find exactly where in the stack is causing a problem. Our mean time to recovery has been cut in half given the visibility that we have now.”

Our mean time to recovery has been cut in half given the visibility that we have now.

Solution: Comprehensive monitoring of the entire software stack

Jostle is heavily invested in Amazon Web Services as well as other cloud providers to serve their Java based web application. The Jostle team builds and tests the intranets they design using industry best-practice tools like Jenkins, Ansible, Google Web Toolkit(GWT) and Hibernate. Jostle designs and builds IOS and Android mobile components as well. Today, the Jostle team is monitoring around 20 production servers and using AppDynamics Application Performance Monitoring to track both database response time and front-end web response times. According to Ryan, his team is constantly driving down both of those numbers because of how quickly they can see issues and fix them.

In addition to the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform, which Jostle has now been using for about three years, Ryan and his team evaluated products from New Relic, AppNeta and others. They were looking for a solution that would have a low performance impact on their existing software. Ease of configuration was important, too, as Jostle employs “a pretty lean team” of IT pros and developers. But the number one selection criterion was comprehensiveness. “We wanted to make sure it monitored the full stack from tip to tail so we could find problems without having to use multiple tools,” said Ryan.

We wanted to make sure that it monitored the full stack from tip to tail so we could find problems without having to use multiple tools.

Benefits: Full-scale visibility, fast issue resolution and low impact, all in a single solution

AppDynamics has helped Jostle go from highly limited visibility to a hugely well-instrumented environment. “Prior to implementing the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform, visibility was a big issue,” said Ryan. “We were relying on a hodgepodge of different monitoring tools, and when you do that, there are black holes that you just can't see into—black holes that cause big trouble if there’s an issue in one of them,” he added. Now those black holes are gone. Slow databases are a thing of the past, too. “Prior to deploying the AppDynamics Platform, we had a bug in our code that was causing a query to fire millions of times over and over again,” said Ryan.

AppDynamics Database Monitoring uncovered the bug and the Jostle team fixed it in a matter of minutes. Application development timelines have also improved since the company began using the AppDynamics solution. In fact, Ryan mentioned that, because Jostle’s developers have access to the AppDynamics dashboard, they resolve most issues much earlier in the process than they used to, long before they ever reach production. This has helped reduce the workload on the operations team and promote their culture of DevOps.

Near-zero performance overhead is also a big plus. “I've always been impressed by the low impact the AppDynamics software has on ours,” said Ryan. “How it instruments everything without any serious configuration is mind-blowing. I haven't quite figured out how you do it yet.”

How it [AppDynamics Application Intelligence] instruments everything without any serious configuration is mind-blowing.