Nasdaq’s Corporate Solutions Technology group manages a sizable portfolio of applications used by companies on and off its exchange, as well as its private markets technology and its corporate web properties. Such a multitude of software created over time, plus new innovations Nasdaq is continuously introducing, results in a diverse and complex ecosystem of technologies and infrastructure. Understanding the application environment holistically is a challenge, and pinpointing issues impacting performance and availability can be difficult given the level of interconnectivity and breadth of the platforms.Traditionally, Nasdaq has monitored and managed its applications using a variety of somewhat disparate monitoring, alerting and log aggregation tools. This broad ecosystem creates inefficiencies in tracing a problem to their root cause.
When Nasdaq decided to go outside for an application performance management (APM) solution, it was looking for something that offered high value right out of the box. The team scrutinized how the solution was architected to gather data, and what kind of usability and traceability it offered right out of the box.“It can be gathering all this great data, but if it can’t trace transactions (that may be failing) through the system to the potential issue, then it’s probably not going to be too heavily used,” Abbott says. “At least not widely across all our constituents from engineering to operations, QA business stakeholders, and management.”
After looking at several of the leading APM solutions, AppDynamics quickly rose to the top. The AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform immediately demonstrated its ability to deliver value right out of the box.
“It worked as it was advertised and it worked very easily,” Poon says. “It was simple to deploy. It took minutes, literally. On our first proof-of-concept, we saw results within an hour.”Comparing it to the other tools in the market, Poon says, “It really stood very well within a DevOps model, in this day and age where there is a lot of complexity within a given application architecture. The flow map that came out of the box just really sold the product during the POC. By seeing how an application interacts with the different components inside or outside of the environment helps our new application development, and it helps in working with legacy code that a developer may not be the original designer for.”
Visibility and rapid time to resolution are the primary benefits AppDynamics brings to Nasdaq, along with the potential to access a whole new level of actionable data. Teams have been freed from the onerous task of scouring logs to pinpoint issues, and time to resolution has been dramatically slashed — from hours or days, down to minutes. The platform quickly points to the offending issues, whether in the code, with remote services, or a database.
Abbott cites “the ability to trace a transaction visually and intuitively through the interface” as a major benefit that AppDynamics delivers. That visibility was especially valuable when Nasdaq was migrating a platform from its internal infrastructure to Amazon.
“We used AppDynamics extensively to understand how the platform was functioning on Amazon,” Abbott said. “Measuring its performance and understanding how the system was behaving on a completely new infrastructure platform.”
Going forward, Nasdaq sees strong alignment between the direction AppDynamics is going and the direction Nasdaq wants its technology to go.“We continue to work with innovative companies such as AppDynamics to support the Business and leverage Devops, Poon Says.