What is most valuable?
The easiest thing to do is to find all the transactions that you don't necessarily know about, what they are to discovery. A lot of times it shows you things that you had no idea was going on like performance problems you didn't know existed. It ties everything together and makes it easier to relate one transaction to all the different bits and pieces.
For example, one of our guys found that another system was hitting his system every hour, which was causing a lot more traffic than it should have. It wasn't affecting any other parts of the system and wasn't impacting the users, but was just causing way too much undue load on the system. They were able to track down why it was doing that and get the problem resolved in a week.
How has it helped my organization?
APM gives us easier troubleshooting and notification of issues. We can report off of that data to show application performance improvements over time. For example, we know that in this release, our baselines were X, Y, Z. The next release, we can then say, this was 20 percent faster or this was 10 percent slower. And then be able to figure out what we need to take off or what's just humming along fine.
We also use AppDynamics Infrastructure monitoring and End-User Monitoring.
What needs improvement?
Increasing the 200 business transaction limit would be great. The ability to compare releases a little bit more and with a little bit more accuracy. Right now, it'll show you the previous release and the next release. And it shows you all the numbers, but it doesn't you any relative change between them. You have to do all that on your own.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Overall, stability is very good. We've never had much of an issue with any of the agents. They install quickly and install easily. We have had a couple of glitches in the UI, but support's been very, very on the ball, both responding and handling issues.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability seems to be going pretty okay. The 200 business transaction limit, while I entirely understanding the reasoning behind it, it's just irritating. There's a lot of times I want to monitor more than it will allow and I have to make sacrifices in some things for performance.
How are customer service and technical support?
I look for responsiveness in a vendor. Whether they're willing to work around our schedule, our needs. Just having knowledgeable people on the front line is great. I mean, just all the initial support. Level one helped us and they've been able to answer most of my questions right off the bat. And they generally seeming to care about the product and care about their clients.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We didn't have anything at all. So, it was obvious that we needed something and AppDynamics was just really easy to get going and gave us more than enough information.
How was the initial setup?
Initial setup was fairly straightforward, just to get it up and running. It takes an hour to do the install and the initial configuration. But once you're able to see everything that it can give you, that's when the complexity really comes in. You don't know what issues it will find until it finds them. From that, you can then branch out and build on different types of monitoring. But just getting it going, you run the installer and pick what you want and done.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I wasn't involved with choosing a solution, so I don't know.
What other advice do I have?
Do it right from the beginning. Do a lot of planning. Everything flows from getting it setup correctly originally. And in a lot of ways, if you go and change something, if you need to kind of go back and re-do some things, you're going lose all your data historically. So do it right from the beginning.
I give APM an 8/10 because nothing's perfect. There are times where we had a couple of outages over the past couple of weeks. Just an hour or two where it was not available. We had to increase memory twice on the database monitoring agent. And when that dies, it doesn't respond. It doesn't report and it doesn't notify. So we go in a week later, look at our database information, and just don't have a week's worth of data. And that's an artifact of Java taking way too much memory. It's just little things. Nothing major.