AppDynamics Winter ’16 News

Today’s post features a guest article by Anand Akela, Director of Product Marketing for APM at AppDynamics.

Not long ago at AppDynamics AppSphere™ 2015, we announced the AppDynamics Winter ’16 Release (4.2) that brings significant enhancements to our Application Intelligence Platform to provide essential support for businesses’ digital transformation initiatives.

The new release extends the capabilities of AppDynamics’ application-centric Unified Monitoring solution, providing greater visibility into the user journey with detailed user sessions support, and expanded monitoring with Server and Browser Synthetic Monitoring and support for C/C++ applications. It also brings major upgrades to AppDynamics Application Analytics solution to provide richer, deeper insights into users, applications, and the correlations between application performance and business metrics.

Enhanced Unified Monitoring

AppDynamics Unified Monitoring provides end-to-end visibility from the end-user through all the application layers and their supporting infrastructure, enabling comprehensive management of end-user experience and application health.

In addition to general availability for Server Monitoring and C/C++ language support, the new release also introduces more than two dozen new extensions to expand AppDynamics’ monitoring capabilities to more application and infrastructure components, including many for Amazon Web Services. In addition, the new release brings numerous functional and usability enhancements for Java, .Net, Python, PHP, Node.js and Web Server monitoring solutions.

General availability of application-centric server monitoring

AppDynamics Server Monitoring is an application-centric server monitoring platform that proactively detects and helps quickly resolve server performance issues in context of business transactions. As a key component of the AppDynamics Unified Monitoring solution, server monitoring complements application and database monitoring to provide the end-to-end visibility needed to improve end-user experience and reduce monitoring complexity.

Server Monitoring provides comprehensive CPU, memory, disk, networking, and running processes metrics for Linux and Windows servers. With the new solution, customers can drill down (see figure 1) to detailed server metrics directly from the end-to-end application flow map when troubleshooting application performance issues.

Fig 1 : Drill down directly from the application flow map to view server details.

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We are also announcing the Service Availability Monitoring (SAM) pack, which will be available as an add-on to Server Monitoring to help customers track the availability and basic performance metrics for HTTP services running on servers not natively monitored via an AppDynamics agent.

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Fig 2: Service Availability Monitoring

General availability of C/C++ monitoring SDK

With the new release, AppDynamics now also supports monitoring of C/C++ applications via a monitoring SDK that enables the same real-time, end-to-end, user-to-database performance visibility as other supported languages, for rapid root-cause analysis and issue resolution.

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Fig 3: C/C++ Application Performance Monitoring

These powerful capabilities are now available for C/C++ applications: automatic discovery and mapping of all tiers that service and interact with the C/C++ applications, automatic dynamic baselining, data collectors, and health rules, as well as managing key metrics including application load and response times, and key system resources including CPU, memory, and disk I/O.

Expanded Amazon Web Services monitoring with new extensions

Concurrent with the Winter ’16 Release, AppDynamics announced the availability of two dozen new extensions, including 19 for monitoring Amazon Web Services (AWS) components. These extensions are now available at the AppDynamics Exchange, joining more than one hundred extensions to enable monitoring application and infrastructure components not natively monitored by AppDynamics.

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Fig 4: Extended coverage of AWS with new extensions

Powerful End-User Experience Monitoring

The Winter ’16 Release adds support for real-user sessions, providing a rich and detailed view into the user journey — what actions users take on a browser or a mobile device, step-by-step, as they move through the funnel, and how application performance impacts their journey. In addition, Browser Synthetic Monitoring becomes generally available. Together, Browser Synthetic Monitoring, and Browser and Mobile Real-User Monitoring with user sessions support, provide a comprehensive view of performance from the end-user perspective in a single intuitive dashboard.

Sessions monitoring as part of Browser/Mobile Real-User Monitoring

With the Winter ’16 Release, AppDynamics Browser and Mobile Real-User Monitoring now tracks and captures a user’s entire journey on a website or mobile app from the start until a configurable period of inactivity, or start-to-finish of a transaction sequence. Sessions can be viewed for individual users or a class of users. Sessions data is important for understanding funnel dynamics, tracking conversion and bounce rates, and seeing where in the sequence users had issues or disengaged. Performance issues and health violations and their causes are captured throughout a session, and the correlation with business impact can be captured, especially in conjunction with AppDynamics Application Analytics.

General Availability of Browser Synthetic Monitoring

Browser Synthetic Monitoring enables enterprises to ensure availability and performance of their websites even in the absence of real user load. Incorporating the highly regarded, open-source WebPageTest technology, Browser Synthetic Monitoring eliminates the variability inherent in real-user monitoring, and provides accurate measurements for baselining performance, competitive benchmarking, and management of third-party content performance. In addition to reporting on availability, Browser Synthetic Monitoring can be scripted to measure a sequence of transactions simulating an actual user’s workflow, including entering forms data, log-in credentials, and actions to test and ensure application logic.

Because it is a cloud-based solution, enterprises can scale their synthetic monitoring up or down as needed, schedule measurement jobs flexibly anytime 24/7, and choose which of more than two dozen points of presence around the globe they want to measure, and with which browsers. Measurements can also be set up to automatically re-test immediately on error, failure, or timeout to reduce or eliminate false positives for more intelligent alerting. There’s no need to wait for the next available testing window, by which time conditions may have changed. Browser Synthetic data can be viewed side-by-side with Browser and Mobile Real-User data in a single dashboard; Browser Synthetic Monitoring snapshots are also correlated with AppDynamics’ server-side APM for end-to-end traceability of issues.

Enhanced Application Analytics

AppDynamics Application Analytics is a rich, highly extensible, real-time analytics solution that gives IT and business teams deep insights into customer behaviors, and illuminates the correlations between application performance and business metrics. The updated Application Analytics provides support for more data sets, including all of AppDynamics APM data, log data, and APIs for importing/exporting external data sets; a custom SQL-based query language that enables unified search and log correlation with business transactions; a number of user interface enhancements and new out-of-the-box data widgets; and role-based access control.

These improvements allow enterprise users to immediately access rich customer profiles and behavioral data, and to quickly and conveniently perform customized queries to get the insights they need to more effectively engage their customers and make decisions that optimize business outcomes.

Advanced Query Language – AppDynamics Query Language (ADQL)

Application Analytics makes data accessible via the SQL-like, dynamic AppDynamics Query Language (ADQL), which enables advanced, fast, and nested data searches across multiple datasets, and supports rapid ad hoc analyses in real time.

Event Correlation between transactions and logs

Business, marketing and performance data is typically siloed and in many different formats. Application Analytics auto-correlates business transactions data from APM and log data from machine agent to provide unprecedented end-to-end analytics into the digital user journey, and the corresponding impact on business metrics.

Out-of-the-box visualization

This release introduces many new out-of-the-box visualization widgets to create interactive custom dashboards to provide actionable data. New out-of-the-box widgets include funnel widget to track drop off; user conversion widget; and widgets to do ad hoc analysis (multiple X and Y). Analytics widgets can be saved to custom dashboards, and reports can be scheduled for users and senior management.

Role-based access control

In addition, role-based access control is added to AppDynamics Application Analytics, enhancing security for sensitive business and customer data, while at the same time simplifying access for users within the context of their permissions. It now enforces strict access control to analytics data by job function and supports flexible data access control by data type. It also unifies multiple logins thereby improving user experience and adoption inside organization.

An enhanced platform that is an essential pillar of digital transformation

As the world becomes increasingly defined by software, enterprises of every description are pursuing digital transformation to satisfy user expectations for always-on, always effective engagement, and to realize the competitive efficiencies and advantages of digital delivery. The AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform, with the far-reaching enhancements of the Winter ’16 Release, is designed to provide the next-generation application support needed to help enterprises achieve the user experience and operational success that is at the heart of effective digital transformation.

To read more about AppDynamics and the other popular APM solutions on our site visit the APM page today!

HP vs. Juniper vs. Cisco vs. Avaya: Review Roundup for Ethernet Switches

This week we present a Review Roundup of the latest reviews of ethernet switches from the IT Central Station community. To see full product comparisons on IT Central Station:

Read what our real users have to say about the solutions they are using:Ethernet Switches- Cisco vs Avaya vs Juniper vs HP

HP – “Some valuable features include cost per Gigabit Port, Layer 3 Capability, POE SupportBy reducing the need for an in-line power source over Ethernet using injectors for small devices, we are able to power wireless access points. Additionally, cameras, and telephones from a single device. ROI is 350% due to stability in the product, low power use, and administrative requirements such as down time.” Read the full HP review.

Avaya “One of the reasons we selected this product was the per port cost ratio as it is very low while compared to other similar products. The device can be remotely managed using various remote management protocols like SNMP, RMON, and HTTP etc. We did face problems while finding the right connecting cable for administering the device, but once the device is on the network it can be easily managed. We also found the web interface for managing the device, to be very useful.” Read the full review here.

Cisco – “EA Cisco Network Structure consisted of 3 Layers (Core, Distribution & Access). We used the FWSM (Firewall Services Module) to route the traffic and as a gateway to get to the WAN. As a result, we were able to collapse the Core Layer into the Distribution Layer with a few blade modules (FWSM, SUP & Ethernet).” Read the full review here.

Juniper vs. Cisco “I prefer Juniper for the following reasons: Cleaner separation of data plane from control plane, hierarchical config design and easier rollback; I think there are less bugs/vulnerabilities in Junos vs IOS. ” Read the full review.

Visit IT Central Station to read more Ethernet Switch reviews including HP, Avaya, Cisco, NETGEAR, D-Link, Brocade and many more. You can also look at helpful comparison pages like Cisco vs. Juniper, Brocade vs. Netgear to help your research!

New Webinar: Assessing the Impact of Product Reviews for Tech Marketing

Reviews with Product Suggestions InfographicProduct reviews are the #1 most sought after content by serious tech buyers based on research from firms like Gartner and Forrester.

How do you assess the impact of reviews? Is missing review content critical to your content marketing strategy? And how do you budget for it in 2016?

We’ll share with you our experiences with companies such as HP, Oracle, Salesforce, and VMware that have added customer reviews as a key component in their marketing plans.

Your host will be Thomas K. Cheriyan, VP at IT Central Station and Gartner alumni who will share and present research from Gartner and Forrester regarding the current impact peer reviews have with enterprise tech decision makers and how peer reviews will impact sales and marketing initiatives in 2016 and beyond.

Register for the event here.

Best Practices to Prevent Privileged Account Abuse

Today we feature a guest blog post from SolarWinds. Check out this informative article about Best Practices and your SIEM solution.

If you are the IT security manager of a company that has even more than one system you have two scenarios:

  1. The system admins have individual super-user access to each of the datacenter servers.
  2. The admins share the privileged user credentials to those servers.

The former is best practice, and the latter a headache; especially if one of them becomes malicious, for any reasons. steampunk_victorian_magnifying_glass_icon_mk6_by_pendragon1966-d5h4eq9

In scenario #2, when a server goes down, you won’t be able to quickly identify who made what changes, whether accidentally or deliberately causing service disruption. In all probability, you may guess who the malicious person is, but it will be hard to prove as it’s a shared account. Now, what if you have hundreds of servers, and 50 system administrators sharing credentials? This is all getting to a level that’s too complicated to deal with while investigating security breach.

The 2015 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report states that more than half of the security incidents (55%) were from privilege accounts abuse. Roughly, that’s about 44,000 incidents. And, that’s a worrisome figure, though not unmanageable with the right security strategy and tools. This may be an insider threat, or simply a case of using a compromised super-user account from the outside – it could be one of your ex-employees. You may never know if you don’t have the right tools and processes in place.

So, what’s the best way forward?

Stop sharing passwords

Sharing passwords among system admins or using service accounts only complicates credential management, and makes tracking difficult from an investigative or audit standpoint. Look for a solution that will integrate with your existing active directory setup, and one that will help you create groups and delegate permissions individually. When someone does login with administrator or privileged accounts, you should be alerted or receive a regular report to review that activity.

Collect and manage logs centrally

Having a centralized console to automatically collect, monitor and audit events relating to super-user accounts helps in faster incident response or breach mitigation. You may dig into the specifics of each and every log file, and analyze patterns. If this exercise is manual, it’s cumbersome and inefficient. You have to automate it with the right tools and security strategy.

Setup Notifications/alerts in case of an anomalous activity

Create individual notifications/alerts for each type of login event that applies to a group or groups. Clearly define the correlation logic with respect to a specific activity, number of events within a time interval, and the resulting actions. Examples:

  • Sending an email to the IT manager when a new member is being added to an admin group
  • Alerting when multiple administrator logon failures are happening in a span of 1 minute

 Become compliant & schedule audits

Regulatory compliance standards such as PCI DSS, SOX, HIPAA, etc., require that you have full accountability of your super-user accounts and activities. Periodic audits of the administrator account or admin group accounts is essential to not only identify anomalous behavior(like account changes, user logon/logoff, software installs, failed logons, stopped processes, etc.) but also to comply with industry requirements and audits.

Whether you manage a startup environment or an enterprise, curbing privileged account abuse should be one of your top priorities in your security policy. The policy must do away with manual time-consuming log analyses and threat detection, and move towards an automated solution encompassing security information and event management.

The Enterprise Tech Buying Process is Changing: Q&A with IT Central Station’s CEO

Recently our founder and CEO Russell Rothstein sat down with the folks at Fluke Networks for a Q&A session about the rapidly changing enterprise tech buying process. Here is an excerpt of the interview:

Q: Can you tell us the story behind IT Central Station?

Executive Interview SeriesRussell: I’m a firm believer in starting a business based on helping people solve business problems. In developing IT Central Station, we talked to lots of tech buyers and decision makers who consistently mentioned the difficulty of due diligence. One CIO I talked to, for example, was frustrated that his staff had to spend hours sifting through websites to collect information. Buyers like this want access to their peers to learn from their experiences and get reliable information outside of what is provided by analysts and vendors. In fact, Forrester research shows that tech buyers seek out peer experiences and product reviews more than any other type of non-vendor content. IT Central Station fills this need by providing a platform for crowdsourced vendor-neutral reviews of hardware, software and services and guides users to a network of enterprise technology professionals.

IT Central Station also just made sense. People today increasingly check Yelp rather than a food critic’s column and TripAdvisor rather than travel columns and books. IT Central Station serves a critical gap in the market with our peer content.

In order to ensure that this content is unbiased and based on real experiences, we have a triple validation process including community monitoring, interviews and LinkedIn. This process provides transparency, which helps buyers know which users are in similar industries to allow them to make the most informed decisions about how a product will fit into their work environment.

Read the full interview here.

Be a part of the review revolution! Join IT Central Station to access over 8,000 product reviews from your peers. Register here.

SolarWinds LEM vs. LogRhythm vs. AccelOps: SIEM Review Roundup

This week’s review roundup includes a selection from recent reviews of Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions, and was written by IT Central Station community members.

SIEM technologies provide real-time analyses of security alerts, can log and track security events, and can generate reports based on those data. Choosing the right SIEM solution for your business can help ensure the smooth operation and availability of your network. Our community members have shared a range of informative reviews, giving readers real world experiences with a range of SIEM solutions. Read what our real users have to say: system-lock-screen

SolarWinds LEM – “We were suffering from a lack of visibility into our logs, so we implemented SolarWinds LEM. After building a few rules and alerts, we were notified when events happened before our end users notified us. Many times we were able to fix an issue before a call to the helpdesk was made. The initial setup was very easy to start getting logs to the solution.” Read the full SolarWinds LEM review.

LogRhythm – “LogRhythm allows our IT/IS teams to quickly identify issues across the enterprise. Searches can be performed using any known value, IP address, hostname, username, event….Report-building is in Crystal Reports and has a limitation. A non-editable template must be created, then the report is created against the template.” Read the full LogRhythm review.

AccelOps – “It gives greater visibility via the dashboards into the real-time status of the network. Additionally, it also provides specific alerts and performance monitoring… Ping monitors (STMs) are highly configurable, but…we have to go through three different processes and 30 minutes to get the ping monitor up with email notifications. It should have an easier way to configure some of these more common monitors.” Read the full AccelOps review.

Visit IT Central Station to read more reviews of SIEM solutions, including SolarWinds LEM, and IBM Q-Radar, and HP ArcSight. You can also check out interesting side by side comparisons as well!

HP Testing Tools Review Roundup: HP Quality Center and HP LoadRunner

This week’s review roundup is two testing tools – HP Quality Center and HP LoadRunner. Reviewers on IT Central Station have a lot to say about these solutions. Here are a few examples:HP

HP Quality Center – “Valuable Features include the test suite upload feature, Document builder and the test run process. Helps in providing an archive of test suites for easy regression…crashes a bit more often than I would like it to. Majority of the tests done by my company are manual so QC serves majorly as a depository for our client.” Read more here.

HP LoadRunner – “The feature I find most valuable is the ability to find performance issues before putting a new application live. LoadRunner is the standard choice for performance testing before any critical applications are allowed to go live, preventing any performance issues. LoadRunner is a well-rounded, polished tool.” Read full review here.

Another user writes the following about LoadRunner:

“HP LoadRunner has been a gateway into the implementation of other invaluable HP tools such as Application Lifecycle Management products. In general, there has been a vast improvement to the performance and output of the company since the use of this product has been initiated, and everyone has seen positive results in the form of fewer problems, greater visibility and faster response times to issues that will come through. Having a central database for problem solving tools and resources has also contributed to the efficacy of our staff individually and as a team.” Read the full review here.

Visit IT Central Station to read more reviews of other testing tools solutions including SOAtest, TOSCA, JMeter, and more!

QlikView vs Tableau Comparison

QlikView vs Tableau Review

Check out IT Central Station’s new Review Face Off on for two of our most popular Business Intelligence tools, QlikView vs. Tableau. Each solution has reviews written by real members of the enterprise tech community! To see a detailed comparison between the two products, check out IT Central Station’s Qlikview vs. Tableau Comparison.

Microsoft BI Review vs SAP BI Review
QlikView Review vs Tableau Review

Take a look at these quick summaries from out top reviewers for each product:

BI Expert at a media company with 101-1000 employees:

“I would never propose QlikView, or any other single tool, as THE definitive data visualization and dashboard tool for every organization, but it did best meet our particular needs.”

Developer at tech consulting company with 1-500 employees:

“Tableau is always pushing the limits, and their new version is certainly packed with features to be explored and used.”

Here’s more of the Face Off—click each one to see all the reviews for each product:

QlikView vs Tableau

Now take a look at this line up of the industry’s top Business Intelligence Tools on IT Central Station and add your perspective. You can comment on these reviews, check out what others are saying, or add a review of your own. Also make sure you check out  QlikView alternatives and Tableau alternatives.

 

  Ibm                              qlikview                jT-HJYJg_400x400              

Cognos Enterprise    Tableau              QlikView                OBIEE

Join the “face off” by getting involved in the Yelp for the tech-buying community.

Every review on IT Central Station has been verified to be an authentic review by a real user. You can count on the Station Master, Russell Rothstein and his team to continue to provide you with the kind of tech-buying community source that will shape the future. Take a look at how it all started here.

 

Microstrategy vs. Tableau Review Roundup

Today’s Review Roundup is all about BI Solutions. In this post we’ll highlight several of the real user reviews comparing Microstrategy and Tableau posted on IT Central Station. Here are some key points from our community:steampunk_victorian_magnifying_glass_icon_mk6_by_pendragon1966-d5h4eq9

Arpit Agrawal, a tech Consultant says: “No tool in this world can meet each one of these requirements, but in my experience MicroStrategy provides a complete product, which meets most of the customer requirements…When we talk about MicroStrategy the first thought that comes into my mind is the core focus of the company, which is to deliver Business intelligence solutions, unlike other companies, which have their focus on different horizons. This, according to me, is the core strength of MicroStrategy as a company. ” Read his complete review here.

Marcel Magalhães, a Technical Business Executive says: “We are still measuring the ROI on this product but my overall advice I would give to others looking into implementing this product is that if they are looking at a platform (traditional BI and data discovery), Microstrategy is the really one good choice.” Read his complete review here.

On the other hand, several of our reviewers who compared the solutions felt differently about the relative advantages of Microstrategy over Tableau:

Vijay Madhavan, a Product Manager at a tech company says that after a recent presentation, several attendees asked him to compare these two products. He writes: “Tableau has found its sweet-spot as an agile discovery tool that analysts use to create and share insights. It is also the tool of choice for rapid prototyping of dashboards. Tableau is very flexible with its data import. Tableau’s data blending capability is very intuitive. This capability is useful when you have data spread across several different sources that has not gone through ETL processes.” Read his complete review here.

If you haven’t already, go to IT Central Station to read the full reviews of Microstrategy, Tableau, and other Business Intelligence solutions. You can also browse other reviews  — or be bold and write a review of your own!