Edmunds achieves $1.2 million in savings with AppDynamics

Edmunds.com is an automotive ecommerce website driven to make car buying easy. Nearly 18 million visitors use its shopping tools every month to connect with over 9,500 dealer franchises across the United States. Recently named one of the most trusted online customer review sites, Edmunds.com is also home to comprehensive car reviews, shopping tips, photos, videos and feature stories. 

Data-driven environment required better performance metrics

John Martin, Sr. Director of Production Engineering at Edmunds.com, knows that keeping the website performing well is critical to the business. Slow response times could result in customer abandonment, so Martin worked to keep response times below 150 milliseconds. In order to achieve this goal, he needed more visibility into application performance.

Edmunds.com had a very strong DevOps culture, and the development team relied on receiving consistent, actionable data from operations whenever a problem occurred. Getting that data, however, was difficult for Martin and his team—they couldn’t tell where a problem occurred and why with the tools they had. 


“Originally we were using Wily Introscope for deep method inspections,” said Martin. “One of the reasons it didn’t pan out for us is the requirement that we tell it when an event is occurring and we needed to know more about that event.” 

Martin’s team, like any operations team, could not anticipate the important events that would impact the performance of the production application, and so could not collect the relevant data the development team needed. It was time to look for a new application performance management (APM) tool. 

The idea of an application monitoring tool should be to monitor, not intrude.

AppDynamics provided a smart, lightweight APM solution

Martin looked at several monitoring tools, but they had the same limitations as the existing solution, requiring advance notice of potential problem areas. The AppDynamics APM solution, on the other hand, had built-in intelligence that automatically detected when a performance issue was occurring and began collecting the relevant data.

“AppDynamics intelligence just says, ‘Hey something interesting is going on, I’m going to collect more data for you,’” Martin said. “It was a far better solution than us having to go tell our APM tool to look for something.”
The AppDynamics APM solution also fit Martin’s requirements for a production-ready tool. “It was a requirement for us that whatever application monitoring solution we chose that it introduce very little overhead in our production runways,” Martin said. “The idea of an application monitoring tool should be to monitor, not to intrude.”

AppDynamics is perfect for anyone that: 1) doesn’t have a clear picture of what’s happening in their application, or 2) has a large or distributed infrastructure.

Edmunds.com improved performance to protect revenue

Within a matter of months, Martin found that the AppDynamics platform had made a significant impact in how his team found and solved performance issues in their production environment. Because his team was able to give the development team relevant data almost immediately, troubleshooting time was dramatically reduced and uptime improved. “We used to have around 10 people working on a single problem for several days, which is very expensive both in lost time and in lost revenue,” Martin said. “Now we’re down to a few hours.”

Martin found that the AppDynamics APM solution was a very effective troubleshooting tool for his team and his environment. The combination of productivity savings and revenue protection by avoiding customer attrition due to slow transactions or outages saved Edmunds more than $800,000 within the first year of deploying the AppDynamics platform.

 “The AppDynamics solution is right for anybody that doesn’t have a clear picture of what’s going on in their application, and has a very large or distributed infrastructure,” said Martin. “It’s absolutely necessary so you’re not having to figure out how to monitor multiple endpoints with rudimentary tools. Those are great for a simple architecture, but in a distributed architecture you’ve got to think about something different,” he said. “AppDynamics is perfect for that.”