What APM vendors can learn from building supercars

From AppDynamics Blog 3 June 2013

McLaren this year will launch their P1 Supercar, which will turn the average driver into a track day hero.

What’s significant Screen-Shot-2013-06-03-at-2.16.18-PMabout this particular car is that it relies on modern day technology and innovation to transform a drivers ability to accelerate, corner and stop faster than any other car on the planet–because it has:

  1. 903bhp on tap derived from a combined V8 Twin Turbo and KERS setup, meaning it has a better power/weight ratio than a Bugatti Veyron
  2. Active aerodynamics & DRS to control the airflow so it remains stable under acceleration and braking without incurring drag
  3. Traction control and brake steer to minimize slip and increase traction in and out of corners
  4. 600Kg of downforce at 150mph so it can corner on rails up to 2G
  5. Lightness–everything exists for a purpose so there is less weight to transfer under braking and acceleration

You don’t have to be Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher to drive it fast. The P1 creates enormous amounts of mechanical grip, traction, acceleration and feedback so the driver feels “confident” in their ability to accelerate, corner and stop, without losing control and killing themselves. I’ve been lucky enough to sit in the drivers seat of a McLaren MP4-12C and it’s a special experience – you have a driving wheel, some dials and some pedals – that’s really it, with no bells or whistles that you normally get in a Mercedes or Porsche. It’s “Focused” and “Pure” so the driver has complete visibility to drive as fast as possible, which is ultimately the whole purpose of the car.

How does this relate to Application Performance Monitoring (APM)?

Well, how many APM solutions today allow a novice user to solve complex application performance problems? Erm, not many. You need to be an uber geek with most because they’ve been written for developers by developers. Death by drill-down is a common symptom because novice APM users have no idea how to interpret metrics or what to look for. It would be like McLaren putting their F1 wheel with a thousand buttons in the new P1 road car for us novice drivers to play with.

It’s actually a lot worse than that though, because many APM vendors sell these things called “suites” that are enormously complex to install, configure and use. Imagine if you paid $1.4m and McLaren delivered you a P1 in 5 pieces and you had to assemble the engine, gearbox, chassis, suspension and brakes yourself? You’d have no choice but to pay McLaren for engineers to assemble it for with your own configuration. This is pretty much how most APM vendors have sold APM over the past decade–hence why they have hundreds of consultants. The majority of customers have spent more time and effort maintaining APM than using it to solve performance issues in their business. It’s kinda like buying a supercar and not driving it.

Fortunately, a few vendors like AppDynamics have succeeded in delivering APM through a single product that combines End User Monitoring, Application Discovery and Mapping, Transaction Profiling, Deep Diagnostics and Analytics. You download it, install it and you solve your performance issues in minutes–it just works out-of-the-box. What’s even great is that you can lease the APM solution through annual subscriptions instead of buying it outright with expensive perpetual licenses and annual maintenance.

If you want an APM solution that lets you manage application performance, then make sure it does just that for you. If you don’t get value from an APM solution in the first 20 minutes, then put it in the trash can because that’s 20 minutes of your time you’ve wasted not managing application performance. Sign up for a free trial of AppDynamics and find out how easy APM can be. If APM vendors built their solutions like car manufacturers build supercars, then the world would be a faster place (no pun intended).


AppDynamics releases powerful database monitoring solution, extends visibility beyond the application layer

AppDynamics logo


1st APM vendor to bridge application and database performance with a single view.

AppDynamics, the next-generation Application Performance Management solution that simplifies the management of complex apps, has announced the release of AppDynamics for Databases to help enterprises troubleshoot and tune database performance problems.  This new AppDynamics solution isavailable immediately and offers unmatched insight and visibility into how SQL and stored procedures execute within databases such as Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, Sybase, MySQL and PosgreSQL.

AppDynamics for Databases addresses the challenges that application support teams such as Developers and Operations face in trying to identify the cause of application performance issues that relate to database performance.  As many as 50% of application problems are the result of slow SQL calls and stored procedures invoked by applications—yet until now, databases have been a “black box” for application support teams.

“Giving our customers critical visibility and troubleshooting capability into the cause of database problems makes AppDynamics absolutely unique in the APM space,” said Jyoti Bansal, founder and CEO of AppDynamics. “Application support teams constantly wrestle with database performance problems in attempting to ensure uptime and availability of their mission-critical applications, but they usually lack the visibility they need to resolve problems. We’ve equipped them with a valuable new solution for ensuring application performance, and it will enable them to collaborate with their Database Administrator colleagues even more closely than before.”

With its new database monitoring solution, AppDynamics has applied its “secret sauce” from troubleshooting Java and .NET application servers to databases, allowing enterprises to pinpoint slow user transactions and identify the root cause of SQL and stored procedure queries. AppDynamics for Databases also offers universal database diagnostics covering Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, Sybase, PostgreSQL, and MySQL database platforms.

AppDynamics Pro for Databases includes the following features:

  • Production Ready: Less than 1% overhead in most production environments.
  • Application to Database drill-down: Ability to troubleshoot business transaction latency from the application right into the database and storage tiers.
  • SQL explain/execution plans: Allows developers and database administrators to pinpoint inefficient operations and logic, as well as diagnose why queries are running slowly.
  • Historical analysis: Monitors and records database activity 24/7 to allow users to analyze performance slowdowns in the database tier.
  • Top database wait states: Provides insights and visibility into database wait and CPU states to help users understand database resource contention and usage.
  • Storage visibility for NetApp: Provides the ability to correlate database performance with performance on NetApp storage.

“It is great to have a tightly integrated way to monitor, troubleshoot and optimize the performance of our key applications and the databases that support them,” said Nadine Thomson, Group IT Operations Manager at STA Travel. “We’re enthusiastic about the ability to use deep database, Java, and .NET performance information all from within a single AppDynamics product.”

AppDynamics for Databases is available now; get a free trial here.