What is most valuable?
It focuses on a much better idea of the end-user experience, of what they’re doing. We're not using end-user monitoring per se, but it gives a much better idea of what it's feeling like for them. We have all these hundreds of different URLs and web pages they can end up going on; be able to track all those individually and separately, and have it all be automated. We don't need to go through and say, "Hey, track these ten pages." It just loads it up, all on its own. It picks up new transactions that come through, new pages. When they release new code, we don't need to go through and manually assign what needs to be monitored.
How has it helped my organization?
AppDynamics allows us to quickly determine where a problem may lie. If a customer complains about slowness there may be hundreds of different servers that could be responsible for the slowdown. AppDynamics allows us to quickly determine where the choke point is. For example, is it a slow database call, a slow webservice call, or maybe a slow method that needs to be re-written by our engineering group? It can take less than a minute to determine where the fault lies. This means we spend less time trying to determine what the issue is, and more time fixing actually it.
The depth of monitoring that AppDynamics offers also means that we are aware of issues very quickly. It is very rare for our customer support to alert us of issues before AppDynamics already has. Most things are fixed before a customer even has a chance to call into our support center.
What needs improvement?
I’d like the mobile app to scale out a little bit better. There have been things that are missing from the mobile app that show up in the desktops. Also, there are some usability things in terms of, how quickly can I get down to active alerts? How can I filter off of those, especially when we have a lot of applications, a lot of tiers, a lot of business transactions? The mobile app gets the job done but it's missing a lot. I often times feel it is easier and faster to just pull out the laptop, boot that up and go through there instead of the mobile app.
The mobile app needs a little bit of work, making sure that the feature set that is available on the desktop, that we can copy it over and do the same thing on the mobile app.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Stability’s been good. We are using the hosted environment and sometimes it's a little bit slow, but most of the time, it works pretty good.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scalability is kind of mixed. One of the problems that we come from is how they do the pricing. It's always per node or per module, but a lot of companies, including mine, know that often times you'd rather have a lot of smaller server instances instead of a few bigger ones. However, because we get charged per instance, all of a sudden that gets much, much more expensive as opposed to doing fewer large server instances.
How are customer service and technical support?
I did open up one incident and it was resolved. I didn't really like the answer that came back, but it worked.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We weren’t really using any solution at all, and that was our problem. We had high-end server monitoring tools and log management, but we never had a true APM in the past. So, we looked around a bit, and this is the one we chose.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
There weren’t any other vendors on the shortlist, as far as I know. I came in after most of those decisions were made. I wasn't involved with that initial discovery phase.
The most important criteria when selecting a vendor like AppDynamics are uptime, usability, and making sure it has the features and meets the needs that we have.
What other advice do I have?
It works great, especially if you don't have anything that's currently doing that type of monitoring. It works great for doing what you need, when you want to track response times and error rates; and especially being able to dig down to individual transactions and see the actual call methods. That's amazing when you’re trying to debug issues and figure out what's causing slowness. So, we love it. It works well.
We’re not using any other AppDynamics products; just the APM right now. We've looked into a few of the other products, but the way our environment is laid out, it doesn't really make financial sense for the time being.