Solar Turbines, a subsidiary of Caterpillar, achieved full-stack observability with AppDynamics, launching a digital transformation and cloud migration journey to allow for relentless innovation and a seamless customer experience.
Monitors interaction of processes, applications, and infrastructure in real-time achieving deep, end-to-end visibility
Enables organization to rapidly detect, troubleshoot, and resolve application performance issues
Reduces Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR), enhances end-user experience, and aids smarter business decisions with reliable data
Challenge: Gaining complete visibility into a complex cloud migration effort
Solar Turbines was focused on driving innovation, agility, and scalability within its IT organization to maintain its competitive edge and deliver a world-class customer experience. To expand its capabilities portfolio, Solar Turbines formed Solar Digital as a Customer Service Group, focused entirely on providing solutions for its customers. The division is responsible for the flawless delivery of over 150 applications that support employees, fleet managers, and customers.
“Organizations can’t innovate fast enough when they don’t have the right services on hand. We can’t respond fast enough or focus on delivery, if we are facing infrastructure limitations and spending time on system maintenance.”Tomas HuszaghSoftware Engineering Manager and DevOps and Operations Lead at Solar Digital
Solar Digital’s on-premises deployment model didn’t allow the organization to respond as rapidly as desired to changing customer needs and market conditions. To enhance the user experience while also driving operational efficiency, Solar Digital decided to migrate to the cloud. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT)—and consumers’ increasingly demanding digital expectations—Solar Digital also recognized that moving to the cloud was an important step in accelerating its digital transformation journey. “Organizations can’t innovate fast enough when they don’t have the right services on hand. We can’t respond fast enough or focus on delivery, if we are facing infrastructure limitations and spending time on system maintenance,” remarks Tomas Huszagh, Software Engineering Manager and DevOps and Operations Lead at Solar Digital.
To migrate successfully and confidently to the cloud, Solar Digital needed a solution to proactively monitor and resolve performance issues. “Cloud migration was a huge milestone for our company, and embracing automated monitoring solutions was a key pillar in our digitalization,” says Huszagh.
As a traditional industrial company, Solar Turbines also has a compact clientele. This means that losing even a single customer because of an outage or non-availability could cost Solar Turbines millions of dollars. For this reason, it was vital for them to be able to quickly detect and repair issues before they impacted end users.
About Solar Turbines
Founded in 1927 and headquartered in San Diego, California, Solar Turbines designs and manufactures energy solutions essential to powering industries and communities. A subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., Solar Turbines’ turbomachinery products have applications in a wide range of industries, including the pharmaceutical, chemical, and food sectors. With more than 8,000 employees worldwide, Solar Turbines plays a critical role in the development and production of oil and natural gas. Solar Turbines’ technology division, Solar Digital, delivers technology solutions in areas such as predictive analytics and machine learning.
Once the decision was made in favor of digital transformation and cloud adoption, Solar Digital started to evaluate the leading cloud platforms. The organization selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the flexibility it provided. “The speed of innovation available with AWS enables our team to swiftly respond to industry changes,” says Huszagh.
As the company migrated more than 90 applications to AWS, Solar Turbines turned to AppDynamics to gain end-to-end visibility and ensure optimal performance. Adds Huszagh, “Our goal for the migration was to ‘know before our customers know’ about any issues. With AppDynamics, we can identify, troubleshoot, and resolve performance issues before customers even notice them. AppDynamics helps quantify the user experience, increases operational efficiency, and delivers continuous observability.”
“With the combined strength of AWS and AppDynamics, we were able to seamlessly migrate to the cloud, optimize application delivery to enhance the user experience, and accelerate our digital transformation journey,” shared Huszagh.
Benefits: Significant reduction in outages and MTTR
Solar Turbines recently encountered an issue in a production database, triggering AppDynamics to alert its IT team to the error. The issue was identified and resolved within minutes, preventing hours of production outage. Prior to AppDynamics, the Solar Digital team would have had to manually sift through logs to identify the cause of the performance issue—a tedious and time-consuming process. “With AppDynamics, the big win for us is observability. We see the entire flow and know about application or infrastructure issues within minutes. Now, we have everything under one umbrella and the efficiency is insane,” says Huszagh.
“Cloud migration was a huge milestone for our company, and embracing automated monitoring solutions was a key pillar in our digitalization.”Tomas HuszaghSoftware Engineering Manager and DevOps and Operations Lead at Solar Digital
To simulate user behavior, establish baselines, and measure performance in a controlled state, Huszagh and his team also use AppDynamics for synthetic monitoring. They've been able to ensure application performance and availability any time from locations around the world, which inspires confidence among customers. "From the other side of the world, we can verify the performance of applications in Singapore using public synthetic agents. With so much variation across devices, browsers, and connection speeds, that’s not easy to do on your own without AppDynamics," says Huszagh.
Using AppDynamics' Experience Journey Maps, Solar Digital’s tech marketing team has been able to identify problem areas within the customer journey and determine the root cause quickly. Experience Journey Maps also inform application owners where to invest development resources and prioritize optimization efforts based on how many users stand to benefit. This generates significant cost savings for the company.
“AppDynamics’ connection between business and software engineering offers a tremendous advantage,” concludes Huszagh. “I haven’t worked with any solution before which can combine both of them, because the mindset of software engineers is different from tech marketing folks. And now you have both users on the same page.”
"The speed of innovation available with AWS enables our team to swiftly respond to industry changes."
Tomas Huszagh, Software Engineering Manager and DevOps and Operations Lead at Solar Digital
The cloud enhances scale and agility, but simultaneously creates numerous smaller endpoints and dependencies to manage, monitor and optimize. That’s why it’s critical for IT teams to have end-to-end visibility and insights into modern application ecosystems including both end users and the business.
Solar Digital, part of Solar Turbines, is committed to digital transformation and migrating to AWS as part of that journey. But this was only made possible by first gaining full-stack observability through a combination of approaches, including data from AppDynamics and Amazon CloudWatch.