Gent University

Ghent University selects AppDynamics to optimize online resources

Ghent University (UGent) is a highly-ranked, Dutch-speaking public university located in Ghent, Belgium. It is one of the major universities in the Dutch-speaking region of Europe, consisting of 41,000 students and 9,000 staff members. UGent’s 11 faculties are composed of more than 120 departments offering a wide range of courses and conducting in-depth research in both exact and social sciences.

Challenge: Needed a unified view of multiple JVMs to optimize performance

Students at UGent relied on an online tool to access their university records electronically. Danny Bollaert, application integration engineer responsible for performance testing, operations, and development across the UGent network, noticed an “excessive number of database calls that were slowing down the report generation process,” of these records.

In order to track and understand performance slowdowns, UGent needed an application performance management (APM) solution with the ability to look at multiple Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) at the same time.

AppDynamics delivered distributed transaction tracing

As a consultant, Bollaert was familiar with the APM market. After looking at several APM solutions, he selected AppDynamics for the UGent job because of its distributed transaction tracing as well as its ease-of-use and accessibility.

He found that competitive solutions “did not have good cross-JVM visibility” or were too inaccessible and cumbersome to implement within the UGent network. Of a leading-APM solution provider, Bollaert said, “the solution was hard to get to—you just didn’t know how to get started. There was no demo. You needed to contact licensing and, in this case, that was a very big step.”

With 100 users, the reports could take between 8 and 16 seconds. After optimizing it - even with a 100 users - we got it down to 400 milliseconds.

Reduced report generation from seconds to milliseconds

After installing the AppDynamics APM solution, Bollaert was able to streamline application performance and greatly reduce report generation load times. “With 100 users, the reports could take between 8 and 16 seconds,” said Bollaert. “After optimizing it - even with a 100 users - we got it down to 400 milliseconds.”

Once the AppDynamics APM solution was in place, Bollaert was able to hand over management of the tool to the internal UGent team. The UGent team has been working independently with the solution ever since—a testament to the ease-of-use of the AppDynamics platform.

Bollaert would recommend the AppDynamics APM solution to, “people who have performance problems but don’t have the knowledge and insight to start optimizing the performance.”