AppDynamics addressing Java application performance problems

AppDynamics is one of a large number of application performance management (APM) competitors. AppDynamics' Director of Engineering and VP of marketing talk with Virtually Speaking's Dan Kusnetzky
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

Bhaskar Sunkara, Director of Engineering for AppDynamics and his colleague, Steve Roop, VP of Marketing, stopped by to bring me up to date on Java application performance issues. Thanks for an interesting conversation!

What AppDynamics has to say

As in past conversations, AppDynamics points out that it is very difficult to understand performance issues in complex, distributed, Java-based applications. What should be measured, how it should be instrumented and how those measurements should be analyzed are always the key problems.

The problem may be with how Java manages its own execution environment, called "Garbage Collection" by Java developers, rather than a problem with the application logic. If developers know what is happening, they can modify their code to take best advantage of the environment. This can mean minimizing the impact of the application environment's shortcomings as well as maximizing the impact of the benefits of that environment.

Since applications are tested using a synthetic data set in a test environment rather than using real data in a production environment,  performance issues may not be discovered and corrected prior to the application "going live."

Java-based applications often are at the center of a very dynamic, rapidly changing environment. Application performance management tools that require IT administrators to develop and maintain scripts often lead to a management environment that is several steps behind the actual application execution environment. This is more likely the case if there is a mix of physical, virtual and cloud-based systems hosting the application and its components.

Snapshot analysis

I've spoken with AppDynamics in the past (see AppDynamics Launches AppDynamics V2 and AppDynamics 3 zeroing in on Java workload memory leaks for more information). While their technology looks interesting, it clearly is focused on managing Java-based environments and may not be useful if an organization's application environment is based upon other tools.

AppDynamics is facing competition from suppliers such as Alternity, BlueCoat, CA, ExtraHop,and Solarwinds. The list of competitors goes on and on, but I think you get the point.

I think that products in this area would be of great importance to IT management. AppDynamic's offers some interesting capabilities that would make it possible for organizations to really get a handle on what a Java, .NET or service oriented architecture (SOA) workload is doing. AppDynamics' tools are able to look deeply into the workload and measure what's happening and when. Are the tools being offered by AppDynamics the best? The answer to that question can only be determined by closely examining the organization's needs and what tools being offered by all of the competitors are offering.

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