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The Fate of Game of Throne’s Jon Snow and Other Burning Questions: AppSphere Day 2


With all these smart people gathered in one place for AppDynamics AppSphere 2015, it seemed a perfect opportunity to get answers to some pressing and important questions, to wit:

  1. Is Jon Snow alive or dead?
  2. Why is a cherry-red Tesla parked inside the Chelsea Theater?
  3. Is Beachbody really a good program to get yourself in shape for an eHarmony match?
  4. What is the most successful digital learning product in the world?

If you were lucky enough to be at AppSphere day two, there’s a good chance you learned the answers to these and a host of other questions. If you weren’t, keep reading.

“Failure is inevitable.”

The trick is making failure not matter. This was a central theme of the day’s opening general session, presented by Mike Jackson and Tim Boberg of Pearson, the world’s largest education company. Pearson has fully embraced the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform with ‘exceptional’ results, having just finished one of their best fall seasons ever. The company is a poster child for digital transformation, moving its product from books and paper to fully online over the past eight years. Their online volume is massive: over 1.3 million daily logins, as many as 40,000+ concurrent users, and over the course of two months, a billion page views.

AppDynamics has sped up Pearson’s MTTR so much that often, an issue becomes ‘the incident that never happened.’ Quoting Mike Jackson, “The best kind of failure is the failure your customer never finds out about.” With AppDynamics’ help, Pearson quickly fixes the ‘yellows’ as soon as they show up — “keep your eyes on the glass,” Mike says — so users enjoy an uninterrupted experience. And by the way, Pearson’s MyMathLab is the world’s most successful digital learning product. Answer #4.

“I’m bored. Can we run a load test or something?”

It’s no surprise that the HBO Game of Thrones presentation by HBO Code Labs Senior Staff Engineer John Feiler attracted a standing-room only crowd — and it wasn’t just to find out Jon Snow’s fate in season six. John Feiler spun a captivating tale himself of the drama and intrigue surrounding what some would call the epic streaming fail of the season four GoT premiere, and the ensuing Project Polar Bear that brought in AppDynamics to help them solve their streaming woes. The details of taming HBO’s complex, distributed streaming system were fascinating, with the end result that the season five premiere went off without a hitch, prompting one engineer on duty that night to quip, “I’m bored. Can we run a load test or something?” Feiler called it a resounding success, and added, “We wouldn’t have been able to do it without being able to see into the system with AppDynamics.”

“That shouldn’t happen!”

We heard from a spectrum of enterprises today: eHarmony; RWE Supply & Trading, one of Europe’s top five integrated energy companies; AutoTrader; Red Hat; Travelport; Xerox Government Healthcare Solutions; IBM; the SAS Institute; IDC; Gannett; and Microsoft.

A number of themes surface and often bridged multiple presentations. Pearson and eHarmony, for example, pointed to the importance of proactively looking at dashboards instead of waiting for alerts. As Stace Baal of eHarmony pointed out, a common response from himself or his team members when they spot an anomaly on one of the strategically located monitors is, “That shouldn’t happen!” A quick drill-down into AppDynamics can tell them if it’s a real issue, and if it is, they can quickly fix it before it hits users.

Visibility was, of course, another recurring theme, along with dramatically reduced MTTR. Business transactions were also in the spotlight, with multiple presenters reporting that it’s well worth the effort to get teams on board with the BT paradigm, resulting in greater visibility into the most important application functions.

“No, we’re not giving away the Tesla…this time.”

Looking at one of the biggest technology trends that will impact virtually every aspect of life and work, an expert panel was convened to talk about the Internet of Things. The panel included thought leaders from Garmin, SmartThings, Red Hat, and yes, Tesla. Exhibit A: A cherry-red Tesla — which some call a veritable software platform on wheels, in any color — parked at the front of the auditorium. (I so wanted to drive it away, especially if it was equipped with the “Insane” button.) Moderated by Prathap Dendi, AppDynamics’ general manager for emerging technologies, the panel’s stories represented various stages of IoT development, but their ‘crystal ball’ predictions were virtually unanimous: We are looking at a future where everything is connected, driven and made more intelligent by data, with devices talking to each other and going about their tasks with no intervention from us. From instrumented cows in the field to fitness trackers that report how many beers we’ve earned, the future is smart, connected, largely autonomous, and approaching fast!

“The envelope, please!”

A big part of AppSphere is recognizing our clients and partners for their outstanding use of the AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform and their contributions to the AppDynamics community. So the last order of business today was awarding the AppSphere Advantage Awards for 2015. Here is the list of winners. (For more info on the awards, read this blog instead)

Rapid Deployment Award

For fastest and largest-scale deployment

Jack Henry & Associates

DevOps King Award

For using AppDynamics to make an impact on DevOps culture


Engagement Award

For the greatest number of users served by the Application Intelligence Platform


Scale Award

For the most complex and large-scale deployment


Cloud Master Award

For the highest-impact cloud migration

Capital One

Business Impact Award

For extremely high ROI with AppDynamics playing a significant role


Mobile-First Award

For using mobile for the greatest end-user impact

Lloyds Bank

Seasonal Spike Award

For proven success in times of peak traffic

The Container Store

Coolest Application Award


Internet of Things Award


Enterprise Hyper Growth Award


MVP Award

Deutsche Bank

Oh, and so yes, of course Beachbody is a great way to get in shape before you start looking for a match on eHarmony. But you’ll have to wait until season six to find out about Jon Snow. Sorry!

The post The Fate of Game of Throne’s Jon Snow and Other Burning Questions: AppSphere Day 2 appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog | AppDynamics.

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