Wowcher chooses AppDynamics to monitor cloud migration

Wowcher, a part of the DMGT plc group, is one of the largest and most popular daily deal sites in the United Kingdom. Users go to the Wowcher website to find deals for anything ranging from Thai massages to Michelin star restaurants in London and other major cities in the area.

Challenge: Technology migrations required close monitoring

As part of the acquisition by the DMGT plc group, Wowcher migrated its web application from a LAMP stack to the DMGT's Java platform, but after its tremendous success, it split off the application again and migrated to Amazon EC2. Tony Murphy, Technical Lead and head of DevOps at Wowcher, was responsible for keeping this application performant during the migrations so Wowcher's customers didn't experience a gap in service.

Before Wowcher moved to the Amazon cloud, finding and troubleshooting performance bottlenecks in the platform was difficult and time-consuming. “We couldn't get the information we needed in a time-efficient manner,” said Murphy. “We spent a lot of time looking at log files, trying to figure out what was going on.”

Intuitive platform made tracking performance easy

To get visibility into Wowcher's complex Java environment, Murphy decided to purchase an application performance management (APM) solution. Murphy's team evaluated several APM solutions but found that they were most comfortable with AppDynamics APM.

“With AppDynamics it's very obvious where the problems are,” said Murphy. “Other tools are just harder to use?they require thick-clients and lots of right-clicking. With AppDynamics APM we can see the performance of every single transaction our users make and everything is red, green or orange. If you're looking for what's broken, you just follow the red.”

Because we had that baseline from the AppDynamics platform, we could compare performance before and after the move, and know that we hadn't gone backwards.

Leveraged APM benchmarking to confirm progress

Wowcher began using the AppDynamics platform not long before their migration to the Amazon cloud, and found it was very useful in the transition. “Since we were running the AppDynamics solution before we moved to the cloud, we knew what our response times were and what to expect in terms of user experience,” said Murphy. 

AppDynamics plays a key role in our day-to-day operations. We basically couldn't do without it.

“Because we had that baseline from AppDynamics, we could compare performance before and after the move, and know that we hadn't gone backwards.”

Wowcher also used the AppDynamics End User Experience Management capability to understand how their end users experience their site. “From the CEO down to the sales people, it's very important to us that we can see how the website is performing from an end user perspective,” said Murphy. “There are so many browsers and devices that we can't possibly test them all internally, and end-user monitoring helps us understand where we need to focus our attention for optimization. If there are issues in a browser then we're probably not converting people, which means we're losing business.”

The AppDynamics solutions have become an essential part of Wowcher's online business. “AppDynamics plays a key role in our day-to-day operations,” Murphy said. “We basically couldn't do without it.”