Jan
23
2019
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Two years after being acquired by Cisco, AppDynamics keeps expanding monitoring vision

Two years ago this week, AppDynamics was about to IPO. Then Cisco swooped in with a big fat check for $3.7 billion and plans changed quickly. Today, as part of Cisco, the company announced it was expanding its monitoring vision across the business with a number of enhancements to its product suite.

AppDynamics CEO David Wadhwani says the company wants to monitor your technology wherever it lives in the enterprise, from serverless to mainframe. That kind of comprehensive view of a customer’s computing environment requires a level of built-in intelligence, and being part of a large organization like Cisco helped move more quickly toward this approach.

Last year when Cisco bought Perspica, a machine learning startup, it folded the engineering team into AppDynamics with a plan to make the product more intelligent. Given the sheer amount of information, a product like AppDynamics is monitoring, it’s a perfect use case for machine learning, which feeds on copious amounts of data.

Today the company announced the fruit of that labor in the form of a new Cognition Engine. Instead of simply pointing out that there is a problem, and leaving it to the DevOps team to figure out the root cause, the Cognition Engine handles both in an automated way. When you combine that with a rules engine, you can move from detection to root cause analysis to remediation much more quickly than in the past. Eventually Wadhwani expects the Cognition Engine can learn from the rules engine and begin to build even more automated fixes.

Root Cause Analysis. Screen: AppDynamics

The company is also announcing some new monitoring capabilities, including AWS Lambda, the serverless service, which has been gaining momentum in recent years among developers. The approach poses challenges to a monitoring tool like AppDynamics because the application doesn’t sit on a defined virtual machine, but instead uses ephemeral resources, served up by AWS at any given moment based on resource requirements. AppDynamics now offers a way to trace transactions on this type of infrastructure.

Finally, now that it’s part of the Cisco family, the product is looking not only at the application layer, it is expanding that vision to incorporate the networking infrastructure as well to help understand issues and set policies just as it does with applications.

All of this is part of what Cisco is calling a “central nervous system” for enterprise computing. It’s a marketing term designed to encompasses the overall vision of trying to locate issues, find the causes and fix them in as automated a way as possible across the enterprise computing landscape.

Dec
13
2018
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New tool uses AI to roll back problematic continuous delivery builds automatically

As companies shift to CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery), they face a problem around monitoring and fixing problems in builds that have been deployed. How do you deal with an issue after moving onto the next delivery milestone? Harness, the startup launched last year by AppDynamics founder Jyoti Bansal, wants to fix that with a new tool called 24×7 Service Guard.

The new tool is designed to help companies working with a continuous delivery process by monitoring all of the builds, regardless of when they were launched. What’s more, the company claims that using AI and machine learning, it can dial back a problematic build to one that worked in an automated fashion, freeing developers and operations to keep working without worry.

The company launched last year with a tool called Continuous Verification to verify that a continuous delivery build got deployed. With today’s announcement, Bansal says the company is taking this to another level to help understand what happens after you deploy.

The tool watches every build, even days after deployment, taking advantage of data from tools like AppDynamics, New Relic, Elastic and Splunk, then using AI and machine learning to identify problems and bring them back to a working state without human intervention. What’s more, your team can get a unified view of performance and the quality of every build across all of your monitoring and logging tools.

“People are doing Continuous Delivery and struggling with it. They are also using these AI Ops kinds of products, which are watching things in production, and trying to figure out what’s wrong. What we are doing is we’re bringing the two together and ensuring nothing goes wrong,” Bansal explained.

24×7 Service Guard Console. Screenshot: Harness

He says that he brought this product to market because he saw enterprise companies struggling with CI/CD. He said the early messaging that you should move fast and break things really doesn’t work in enterprise settings. They need tooling that ensures that critical applications will keep running even with continuous builds (however you define that). “How do you enable developers so that they can move fast and make sure the business doesn’t get impacted. I feel that industry was underserved by this [earlier] message,” he said.

While it’s hard for any product to absolutely guarantee up-time, this one is providing tooling for companies who see the value of CI/CD, but are looking for a way to keep their applications up and running, so they aren’t constantly on this deploy/repair treadmill. If it works as described, it could help advance CI/CD, especially for large companies that need to learn to move faster and want assurances that when things break, they can be fixed in an automated fashion.

Sep
26
2018
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Instana raises $30M for its application performance monitoring service

Instana, an application performance monitoring (APM) service with a focus on modern containerized services, today announced that it has raised a $30 million Series C funding round. The round was led by Meritech Capital, with participation from existing investor Accel. This brings Instana’s total funding to $57 million.

The company, which counts the likes of Audi, Edmunds.com, Yahoo Japan and Franklin American Mortgage as its customers, considers itself an APM 3.0 player. It argues that its solution is far lighter than those of older players like New Relic and AppDynamics (which sold to Cisco hours before it was supposed to go public). Those solutions, the company says, weren’t built for modern software organizations (though I’m sure they would dispute that).

What really makes Instana stand out is its ability to automatically discover and monitor the ever-changing infrastructure that makes up a modern application, especially when it comes to running containerized microservices. The service automatically catalogs all of the endpoints that make up a service’s infrastructure, and then monitors them. It’s also worth noting that the company says that it can offer far more granular metrics that its competitors.

Instana says that its annual sales grew 600 percent over the course of the last year, something that surely attracted this new investment.

“Monitoring containerized microservice applications has become a critical requirement for today’s digital enterprises,” said Meritech Capital’s Alex Kurland. “Instana is packed with industry veterans who understand the APM industry, as well as the paradigm shifts now occurring in agile software development. Meritech is excited to partner with Instana as they continue to disrupt one of the largest and most important markets with their automated APM experience.”

The company plans to use the new funding to fulfill the demand for its service and expand its product line.

Oct
19
2017
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Cisco to buy Perspica and fold engineering team into AppDynamics

 Cisco announced today that it intends to acquire Perspica, a machine learning-driven operations analytics firm that has raised $8.5 million. Cisco intends to fold Perspica’s team into AppDynamics, the company it purchased earlier this year for $3.7 billion. Cisco did not share the Perspica purchase price. All of these machinations have a purpose. Cisco is of course at its heart a… Read More

Oct
18
2017
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Now part of Cisco, AppDynamics update looks to deepen understanding of business performance

 When Cisco acquired AppDynamics in January for $3.7 billion, it was a big surprise as the company was on the verge of going public. While it’s probably too soon to say how intertwined it will become in the Cisco product family, it continues to march forward announcing an update to the products set at the AppD Summit this week in New York City.
Today’s announcements build on the… Read More

Oct
17
2017
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Cisco using AI and machine learning to help IT predict failures

Cisco headquarters. We have known for some time that the number of signals coming from your IT systems surpassed the ability for humans to keep track of them years ago. Machines can help and have been for some time. The advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning has accelerated that ability and today, Cisco announced that it is using these technologies to help customers find failures before they… Read More

Jun
29
2017
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AppDynamics update pinpoints performance issues inside Docker containers

 AppDynamics released an update today with a nod toward the growing trend of containerization. The company, which was purchased by Cisco earlier this year for $3.7 billion, wants to help customers using Docker containers pinpoint performance issues. Read More

Jan
25
2017
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Cisco-AppDynamics $3.7 billion deal all about the data

Cisco headquarters. When Cisco bought AppDynamics last night for $3.7 billion, it was initially a bit of a shocker, partly because of the timing, just days before the startup was scheduled to IPO. While the acquisition was clearly part of a longer term strategy by Cisco to shift focus from its hardware business to one based more on cloud software, at its core, the deal was a pure data play. Data has taken… Read More

Jan
24
2017
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Why the $3.7 billion AppDynamics acquisition happened right before IPO

appdynamics Applications management company AppDynamics was just wrapping up the final touches on its initial public offering when it learned that Cisco was interested in discussing a potential deal. Preliminary talks were abandoned in November, but the discussion just picked up again last week. The deal was announced today and the IPO was slated to price tomorrow. Although many companies seek… Read More

Jan
24
2017
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Cisco snaps up AppDynamics for $3.7B right before its IPO

SAN JOSE, CA - AUGUST 10:  A sign is posted in front of the Cisco Systems headquarters on August 10, 2011 in San Jose, California.  Cisco Systems reported better-than-expected fourth quarter revenues with a 3.3 percent rise to $11.2 billion as the company continues to scale down its business. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Cisco said today that it would acquire AppDynamics, which helps companies monitor application performance, for a whopping $3.7 billion. And now, it would seem that AppDynamics’ long-awaited IPO (this week!) has been called off in favor of a giant acquisition. It isn’t Cisco’s first major acquisition in recent memory — in fact, the company has been quite active —… Read More

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