AppDynamics Summit New York 2017: keynote noteworthies

Application Performance Management (APM) specialist AppDynamics hosted its 2017 Summit #AppDSummit event in New York this week and CWDN was listening to the proceedings in full.

AppDynamics CEO David Wadhwani took the stage to kick off proceedings.

Wadhwani noted that every [user or machine] action initiatives millions of lines of code across multiple methods in a variety of datacentres in a multiplicity of different environments. For developers, Wadhwani says he sees more and more departments now working to adopt more Agile work methods that embrace the elastic nature of cloud.

Hardening up brittle services

With too many brittle services out there relying on outdated legacy structures, Wadhwani attempts to justify and validate his firm’s technology proposition by saying that the health and agility of any customer’s technology stack now also reflects and describes the health and agility of that same firm’s business.

Rowan Trollope, SVP and GM of IoT and Applications at Cisco joined this event’s keynote to explain how he, as a core software application development professional at heart, understood that there needed to be a more vertical integration of the total [new] stack of application components now being built in the componentised world of cloud, containers and microservcies.

“We want to build self-driving infrastructures where we appreciate that infrastructures will become more intelligent, more automated and more secure. We need to always understand what is important to the business owner and be able to drive application services to deliver on that basis,” said Trollope.

So as the vertically integrated software defined network now gets smarter, Trollope says that the most exciting part of how AppDynamics now works as part of Cisco is how the teams themselves are now working to build out a wider vision.

It’s all about end-to-end visibility  (from the end user, through the applications, all the way down to the infrastructure).

The suggestion here is that we should imagine a world where every technical decision that is made makes a direct [ultimate] impact upon every user through applications and then onward therefore to a business. But, deeper, that world runs in a universe where systems are self-healing and self-optimising. This is what AppDynamics says it is building.

I/O importance

Keynote presentations at this event also touched on the role of I/O (Input/Output) in APM.

According to AppDynamics, the role of I/O professionals increasingly includes not only justifying the cost of running the IT infrastructure, but also, more importantly, providing business executives with metrics and data that support business operations.

However, the firm insists that while the I/O team is comfortable monitoring network availability, application uptime and application response times, the business ultimately cares about how those things translate into revenue, cost, risk or some other business value metric.

Unified monitoring vision

What AppDynamics stresses is highly important is creating a single unified vision for monitoring through one platform and one User Interface.

The one platform monitoring vision from AppDynamics extends across: end users; application performance; database; server visibility… and now with a new IoT visibility offering, plus also a new network monitoring capability.

Looking at the platform scope that AppDynamics says it now brings to market, the software here is able to monitor every business transaction being executed within a given network through the diagnostics that it offers.

Application fabric & topology

As we all now look to getting this whole cloud migration process to happen, we know well that migrating all applications with all their associated methods and dependencies will be tough. The whole ‘fabric’ described here then becomes an even more complex ‘topology’ if we consider the fact that cloud apps, once running, will be deployed under a variety of different post-deployment billing methods for every instance in hand.

With this cloud centricity in mind, AppDynamics welcome Barry Russell from AWS to explain how AppDynamics has partnered with the cloud giant to also extends its APM vision (and capabilities) into the kinds of cloud deployments now happening… but all with a view on user experience (which should also channel to business success, as we have said).

Business iQ

This event would be incomplete without the a mention of Business iQ, the firm’s brand label for its line of application-centric and business-centric dashboards.

“Real time services inside Business iQ has allowed us to really see how changes in our IT stack [and its applications] really affects our end users,” said John Hill, CIO of AppDynamics customer and durable clothing wear seller Carhartt. “Most of the time we spend with the AppDynamics team was focused on understanding what each transaction in our system really meant and so then trying to model that out.”

Hill explains that his team works with AppDynamics to manage promotions management to analyse how promotions are working and [live] tune and monitor his company’s application propositions in real time.

Also noted in this main session was the notion of so-called ‘Business Journeys’ — this is the concept of being able to author, join, monitor and manage elements inside any given application in terms of its process steps.

If we take the example of a mortgage, this total process would involve loan applications, document verification, credit check, underwriting and then onwards to loan approval… all of which go together to form a total business journey.

In summary, AppDynamics has presented a keynote session with a surprisingly dovetailed mix of both corporate messaging (hey, we just got acquired, so here’s some roadmap and vision) alongside some deep dive practical product demos (hey, here’s some method architecture monitoring demos played out live by application owner developers)… and that’s a heady mix.

Transaction log message analytics alongside IPO stories, yeah really… now you know why people talk about distributed abstracted hybrid technologies, the same obviously goes for keynotes.