Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Reserve Bank of New Zealand achieves 4x ROI with AppDynamics

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) is New Zealand's central bank; responsible for operating monetary policy to maintain stable prices, and assisting the functioning of the country's financial system. In addition, RBNZ supplies New Zealand's physical money and oversees and operates the country's payments systems. Dozens of applications are critical to the bank's daily operations, allowing support staff and policy analysts to do their work.

Challenge: Support calls drained resources

Greg Perrott, Software Architect at RBNZ, is responsible for the performance of several critical financial applications. He works with a team of 15 developers on the support, maintenance and enhancement of existing applications, as well as development of new applications. When an end user calls the helpdesk, resources are shifted from proactive to reactive tasks. This meant that Perrott's team was not as productive as it could have been on other projects. “Our ability to deliver enhancements was greatly affected by support,” Perrott said. “There were occasionally periods of a week or more when no development progressed because of ongoing support issues.”

Slow transactions and stalls related to .NET services were persistent problems. Because time-series data was calculated on-the-fly in application logic and memory (rather than using stored procedures in the database) some requests took too long to complete. Perrott's team found they had to extend the time-out period for the client in order to reduce the number of failed transactions. “It wasn't ideal because the end user still had to wait, but at least that way the application would eventually return data,” Perrott said.

Targeting these transactions was an ongoing project for Perrott, but without adequate visibility into the application, it was a daunting task. “Without access to production data we simply couldn't find which areas we needed to redesign in order to improve the slowest services and scale the application,” Perrott said.

AppDynamics for .NET increased visibility

When Perrott began a free 30-day trial of AppDynamics Application Performance Management, the bank was in the midst of another IT problem— clients disconnecting from the services—which was a timely test for the solution. “We had very little information about what was causing the problem, and we weren't able to replicate it in any other environment,” said Perrott. During the trial period, Perrott installed the AppDynamics platform in the production environment and almost immediately found the issue and its root cause. “That pretty well sold us on enlisting the solution full-time,” he said.

AppDynamics has helped us build a stronger argument for getting additional resources when they're needed.

The AppDynamics platform also helped identify issues that were going unreported before. “I started finding things that clearly were impacting end users, but either they hadn't reported them or had reported them in such a way that we were unable to identify the problem,” Perrott said. “Now we're able to fix those things and we're being more effective in our optimization. We're targeting our .NET services with the most load and the longest response times.”

Shift to proactive performance management

The result of this additional visibility is that Perrott and his team spend significantly less time troubleshooting than before. Before AppDynamics, Perrott indicated the team would spend about half of their time on support and QA, which shortchanged enhancements and other development projects. Perrott estimated that the AppDynamics platform has provided RBNZ with over $38,000 in productivity savings in the first year by reducing the time developers spend on support activities.

With AppDynamics there has been an improvement in our ability to provide support, our ability to upgrade the system, and our ability to be more proactive. Now we're aware of problems and can fix them before they impact the business.

In addition, AppDynamics has made a difference in how all infrastructure, development and support functions operate at RBNZ. “There has definitely been an improvement in our ability to provide support, our ability to upgrade the system, and our ability to be more proactive,” Perrot said. “Now we're aware of problems and can fix them before they impact the business.”

AppDynamics has been quite handy because we have visibility into what's going on, what the hardware's doing at the time, and that's helped us build a stronger argument for getting additional resources when they're needed.