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AppDynamics New Release Brings Big Data and Machine Learning to APM

by Victor Grazi on Aug 14, 2014 |

Leading application performance monitoring vendor AppDynamics today released the Summer ‘14 release of their flagship "Application Intelligence Platform"

According to AppDynamics:

With this latest release AppDynamics brings sophisticated data visualizations and big data techniques for ultra-large scale behavioral-learning and stream processing to the platform.

The AppDynamics Summer ‘14 Release improves the value delivered to development, operations and business teams by providing:

  • Intuitive, powerful drill-down data visualization capabilities, a self-learning business transaction engine that automatically sorts business critical transactions, smart dashboards and advanced analytics.
  • A newly architected big data platform with massively scalable big data infrastructure components such as Hadoop to handle large numbers of events, metrics and metadata.
  • A deeper and broader set of data visibility and collection capabilities with support for new applications that leverage our Automatic Code Injection, and Dynamic Context Propagation techniques for end to end business transaction monitoring.

New features include:

  • Advanced "Flow Maps" apply machine learning algorithms to provide intuitive visualizations of complex topologies.
  • Self-organizing layouts in the dashboard use auto-grouping heuristics to dynamically determine tier and node weightings, to help isolate the most important nodes and tiers.
  • Self-learning transaction engine isolates critical transactions.
  • Smart Dashboards use templates to auto-generate dashboards based on configurable characteristics of nodes or tiers.
  • Scalable event service certified for up to 10 trillion events, searchable in real-time.
  • Hadoop-powered metrics service.
  • Support for .Net Async.
  • Beta support for C++ applications.

This is the first AppDynamics general release to support Java 8 features including lambda expressions and parallel streams.

AppDynamics was heralded by Gartner as the industry leader in both "completeness of vision" and "ability to execute" for the past two years. Other APM vendors in the top right quadrant were Riverbed Technology, Compuware, and New Relic.

InfoQ spoke to Maneesh Joshi, AppDynamics' head of product marketing and strategy about the release and about AppDynamics formula for success and challenges faced.

InfoQ: Gartner has AppDynamics ranked at the top of their magic quadrant for the second year in a row. With a growing competitor base, how does AppDynamics keep ahead of the pack?

Maneesh: AppDynamics is extremely focused on three things - customer satisfaction, technology innovation, and a frictionless go-to-market strategy.

At a score of 84, we boast one of the highest NPS scores across the entire enterprise software industry. Even darling consumer brands have NPS scores in the 50s. There is a tremendous amount of hard work and devout commitment towards customer success that goes on behind such outstanding customer satisfaction scores.

The second area of differentiation is product innovation. The product installs and starts demonstrating value within minutes. Some of our largest deployments that monitored up to 15,000 servers were up and running in under a week. Customers have gotten accustomed to month (even year) long implementation cycles with other legacy vendors.

And lastly, the simplicity of our go-to-market strategy. Not only do our customers get up and running quickly, they have a variety of choices when it comes to deploying the Application Intelligence Platform. They can start with our fully-featured free trial for AppDynamics Pro, and continue with the free-forever AppDynamics Lite after the introductory 15-day period. This gives our customers the opportunity to try the product and see the phenomenal value we deliver for themselves. The platform is also available in SaaS, private cloud, on-premise, or hybrid cloud deployment options.

InfoQ: Production monitoring is a critical service and yet we see many large clients just neglecting this. What are some of the barriers to entry for firms to start profiling their production applications and how do you address those?

Maneesh: Your assessment of the market is accurate. Organizations who tried legacy APM vendors are demoralized by how hard it has been to implement APM and monitor their complex applications. Perhaps it is this disbelief that drives them to our free trial first before they want to make their purchasing decision. We have seen several Fortune 500 companies become believers of our next generation application intelligence vision when they see how easy it is to install and get running with AppDynamics. We've also seen a leading networking equipment company deploy our software to 15,000 nodes and start monitoring them in under a week. All these nodes report back data to a single controller which displays in a single pane-of-glass monitoring dashboard. When you hear customer success stories like this one, you know you are changing the industry.

InfoQ: Is there one main feature of the new release that really distinguishes this from other vendors or earlier versions?

Maneesh: We've always been the preferred choice for large scale modern deployments. These ultra-large scale deployments we are monitoring are exposing us to unprecedented sets of problems. Our engineering team saw this as an opportunity to introduce some of the bleeding edge big data science advancements and push the boundaries of APM. We introduced many sophisticated self-learning algorithms in the visualization and platform layers. In the visualization layer, we introduced intuitive, powerful drill-down data visualization capabilities, a self-learning business transaction engine that automatically sorts business critical transactions, smart dashboards, and advanced analytics. We architected our platform with massively scalable big data infrastructure components such as Hadoop to handle large numbers of events, metrics, and metadata. We've also extended our monitoring portfolio beyond just Java, .NET, PHP, and Node.js, to support C++. However, we know there is more we can do to accommodate our customers, so be on the lookout for even more exciting news in the near future.

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