The Test Factory

The Test Factory uses AppDynamics to replace New Relic for deeper and more accurate insight into their .NET application stacks hosted in Azure

The Test Factory offers online assessment tools targeting the corporate and education industries. In addition to online testing, The Test Factory delivers a full workflow around testing for their customers, including tools for content authoring, user management, and reporting. The engineering team at The Test Factory utilizes an entire Microsoft stack for their web-application architecture hosted in Azure - including C#, .NET, and SQL Server. By using AppDynamics, The Test Factory replaced their previous monitoring tools to achieve optimal performance and SLA.

Challenge: Lack of diagnostic data into production performance problems

Equipped with New Relic, the engineering team at The Test Factory lacked insight into performance problems in their production environment. Even when problems were detected, deep diagnostic data to fix the underlying issues were not available. "With New Relic, we did not have the right diagnostic data for issues in production. We could not reproduce bugs and found it near-impossible to diagnose issues," says Paul Fleming, Solutions Architect at The Test Factory. "However, with AppDynamics, we were able to view the problem line by line, with exact details of the code problems," said Fleming.

Debugging our environments was extremely tricky at the time. Then with the introduction of AppDynamics, these problems have gone away.

After implementing AppDynamics, The Test Factory team immediately gained new insight they lacked previously into existing performance issues. Fleming recalls, "debugging our environments was extremely tricky at the time. Then, with the introduction of AppDynamics, these problems have gone away."

Solution: Deeper diagnostic insight and comprehensive technological coverage into production health

Immediately upon using AppDynamics, the engineering team began to see the benefits of their new unified monitoring platform. David Duke, Infrastructure Manager at The Test Factory, recalls that with AppDynamics, "it's just very easy to detect within a few clicks things that were the root cause or the root problem".
Having their application stack entirely hosted in Azure, the engineering team benefited from a smooth installation process. "There is not much you have to configure with Azure; it just works," recalls Duke. Once enabled with AppDynamics, the infrastructure team began to collect diagnostic data that were not available to them before. "AppDynamics has offered us the ability to debug software issues that we previously could not," says Fleming Fleming.

It's just very easy to detect within a few clicks things that were the root cause or the root problem.

Benefits: AppDynamics monitors the entire application lifecycle in both production and staging environments

The Test Factory teams follow both their production and staging environments with AppDynamics. In staging, potential deployments are exposed to synthetic traffic loads in order to filter potential production problems. By using AppDynamics, The Test Factory can filter performance bottlenecks, errors, and exceptions before those problems are introduced to their customers. "Having AppDynamics there in the production environment, even the staging environments, it's given us insight into everything that's going on all of the time," says Fleming.
The Test Factory team has a new perspective into the internals of their software deployment in production and has significantly optimized their application performance. They have been able to deliver gracefully on their customer SLA and improve their user experience. "Performance is probably the biggest area that we've had improvement [in] from AppDynamics - thanks to not just the platform, but also the team behind AppDynamics," glows Fleming.

Performance is probably the biggest area that we've had improvement from AppDynamics - thanks to not just the platform, but also the team behind AppDynamics.