“Once you start instrumenting, AppDynamics shows everything that’s connected within your whole environment on the flow map. It lets you look deep into the code. Our previous APM tools couldn’t do that. For example, we could never see Java Virtual Machine (JVM) Heap activity. Now we can observe JVM performance and make sure the proper amount of memory is allocated. That’s helped out a lot. And unlike our previous tools, AppDynamics doesn’t break scripts and it automatically picks up changes without manual intervention.”
Paychex currently hosts 15 Java and .NET applications which run on approximately 2,400 Windows servers and 3,000 Linux servers. In a growing environment, capacity planning and proactive application performance monitoring are essential. Briggs also looks forward to using the analytics capabilities in the new release of AppDynamics to better predict JVM performance needs.
In addition, AppDynamics has also improved utilization of the company’s engineering and troubleshooting resources. “Every time we have a client-impacting issue, we assemble a Red Team of operational personnel from our network group, Unix group and middleware group. AppDynamics helps us figure out exactly who needs to be involved and has helped us resolve issues much more quickly,” explains Briggs.
It didn’t take Briggs long to put AppDynamics’ support staff to the test. “Everyone customer that I interviewed raved about AppDynamics’ technical support. Now, I do too. I’ve called our AppDynamics Technical Account Manager at 2:00 a.m. during a deployment to figure out an issue. Our support from AppDynamics has been awesome!”
Paychex understands the value training plays in getting the most from its APM investment. To date, approximately 100 people within Paychex’ development organization and about the same number in the operations organization have participated in AppDynamics on-site training. “I have 12 engineers on my team, but I don’t want to turn them into trainers—that’s not what they do, and they have other priorities. AppDynamics training helps DevOps and system operations people do their jobs much more efficiently, so it’s not surprising they gave the training sessions fantastic reviews,” recalls Briggs.
Paychex has also replaced another third-party vendor tool with AppDynamics Browser Real User Monitoring to optimize the web experience. According to Briggs, the solution, “shows a user transaction from start to finish, and is just a lot more detailed and flexible than our previous tool. The reporting is much more user-friendly.
When asked which type of company would benefit most from AppDynamics, Briggs quickly stated, “I recommend AppDynamics to any company that has customer-facing online applications. I tell all my friends in IT how much success we’re having with AppDynamics—and why they need to look at it.”
In addition to using AppDynamics APM and Browser Real User Monitoring, Paychex is also evaluating the AppDynamics Database Monitoring solution.