A self-service model
A self-service model quickly emerged, with teams adding AppDynamics to new applications as they were delivered. “We changed the culture,” Makar said. Application owners, business owners, and ops team leaders were all given the tools they needed to access the information through AppDynamics. If an application went down, they couldn’t blame the Monitoring Team for not telling them. They were responsible for configuring their own metrics and alerts.
Goodbye to war rooms and alert blizzards
The results? Far fewer outages and no more calls in the middle of the night. “I can’t remember the last time we had a war room scenario,” Makar said. “The outages that occur are solved so quickly, we don’t need to go into big war room scenarios anymore.” On a per application basis, the average number of problem tickets has declined 67% since AppDynamics was implemented.
By configuring AppDynamics to send all alerts to PagerDuty, alerts are put through an on-call process and teams are only alerted when there is an issue they need to respond to. This is a big improvement over the blizzard of indiscriminate email alerts and text messages that used to be part of a DevOps engineer’s daily life.
Using data to solve business problems
Makar finds he couldn’t stop talking about the data that is now available. “AppDynamics collects so many more metrics than what we saw with other vendors,” he said. Not only is the data indispensable for troubleshooting, but it also is valuable for everything from capacity planning to monitoring the performance of the bank’s infrastructure over time. “Our CIO came up with multiple different KPIs that he wants around performance, availability, mean time to resolution, and mean time between service failures,” he said. “We’ll be automating these reports on a quarterly basis.”
Makar is particularly excited about the opportunity to use the data to solve business problems. Project and loan-related information that is collected along with user activity can be mined for insight. “As our investment officers go through projects, we’re seeing project IDs and the stage of workflow that they’re in,” Makar said. “We’re able to put together reports for management now that give them a better sense of how the business is performing in real time and where the issues are cropping up. And I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what we can do with the data analytics capability today.”
A year and a half into the AppDynamics implementation, Makar marvels at the difference the application monitoring solution has made. “AppDynamics has changed the culture so much, I don’t think we could live without it,” he said.