How has it helped my organization?
It reduces the time to resolve issues and requires less manpower. When issues happen, we have the whole triage going on and we used to have like 30 people on the call trying to figure out what's going on. AppDynamics cuts that down; you don't need that many people. You need two or three key people going into the console to see what's going on and pinpoint the root cause, as opposed to people trying to figure it out from all different sources. That takes forever, and that's very inefficient.
What is most valuable?
Being able to monitor transactions end-to-end, throughout all the layers, basically, is very valuable; the ability to pin-point issues irrespective of the layer in which they happened. That's really helpful and very valuable.
What needs improvement?
The network diagnostics that they are adding will be really useful. They could add more detail into what is going on in the network. Right now, that is one area where we have to use other tools. That would be very, very useful. I think that should give us a better view of the entire system.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's pretty stable. We haven’t had any major issues, anywhere we implemented it. It's pretty stable and it's very light as well.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability is good for our systems; we have 7+ million lines of code. It works with that big of a system, so it does scale.
How are customer service and technical support?
We have used technical support sometimes, when we had some questions and issues or whatever. They're pretty knowledgeable. They know their stuff and they provide solutions pretty quickly, as well. They have very quick turnover time.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We had IDCAMS from IBM. That was not really useful. They're pretty heavy on the actual JVMs. They don’t help that much with resolving issues or finding issues. We had this challenge where we actually had to use a new system that was built to replace the legacy mainframe system, and it was not scaling at all. With 100,000 users, it was barely working. We had to scale it from 100,000 to 10 million members. That's when I looked around for different solutions, what is out there, and found AppDynamics, and that's what we brought in. It really helped us a lot with scale it.
How was the initial setup?
Initial setup for most of the regular pieces are straightforward but we have a complex system, so we needed to do some tweaks. AppDynamics helped to detect some endpoints and so on. We have custom batch jobs and so on, which usually have a different way of having endpoints. AppDynamics guided us with how to configure those. It took a little time because it's not like a regular web application. It's a very complex healthcare system.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Price can get really expensive sometimes, depending on the type of setup you have. Sometimes you have smaller JVMs instead of larger ones, for some reasons, such as architectural reasons. Because it is priced per JVM, the price can increase pretty fast, into the millions. We have had challenges because we had to justify the price to our clients, as well, when we are putting in certain tools.
It gets a little pricey.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I looked at New Relic as well. We just evaluated it quickly. Because of our system’s complexity, it can't actually track everything in our system. We did not try other things such as Wiley. We knew what that is capable of. We knew the shortcomings, too. We didn't try that, but these two we tried, New Relic and AppDynamics.
When selecting a vendor like AppDynamics, the most important criteria is that the product has to be great. It has to be useful. That's the first criteria. Then, when we need support, we need knowledgeable resources who can help us get through. AppDynamics do a really good job with it.
What other advice do I have?
I definitely recommend it. It's a pretty robust tool. For monitoring APM, all the DevOps and whatever they want to use it for, it's a pretty robust tool. It has all of the features; whatever is needed. I recommend it without thinking twice.
We do have licenses for AppDynamics EUM, but we cannot implement it yet because our system is a little more complex and it's a little older technology, the UI part of it. We'll roll it out at some point, when we get the chance.