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The top 5 reasons you can’t compare AppDynamics to Dynatrace for APM

When customers are selecting an APM solution we at Dynatrace are often shortlisted alongside Cisco AppDynamics. I’ve heard all sorts of stories as to the claims, half-truths, and false statements that are shared to try and sway the customer.

The reality is, because of our relentless innovation, we are no longer ‘like’ other APM providers such as AppDynamics. It pays for the customer to stay up to date, and of course install and compare the differences.

These are the top 5 things we hear from customers about why they believe we have redefined monitoring, and why they select Dynatrace over AppDynamics.

1. It’s no longer possible to know what’s going on without massive automation and AI

Applications and their operating environments have become incredibly complex. With the advent of microservices, you will soon have hundreds or thousands of containers each acting like a tiny little server. A typical transaction now relies on 82 different technologies, and nobody really understands it end-to-end.

Code is also becoming more complex. Think about this:

  • The Space Shuttle had 400,000 lines of code.
  • An automobile in the year 2000 had a million.
  • Cars today have 100 million lines of code.

All of this means that traditional monitoring tools like AppDynamics will no longer cut it. It takes too much time and too many resources to instrument your applications. That’s why most companies are still monitoring only 5% of their most critical apps. It’s just too damn hard to do it properly. Unless you use Dynatrace. 🙂

You see, automation is central to what we do. You install a single agent (called OneAgent – makes sense, right?) and without any additional effort you get:

  • Automatic discovery. In just a few minutes, with no manual configuration, Dynatrace auto-discovers all the components and dependencies of your entire technology stack end-to-end.
  • Automatic performance baselining. We baseline to automatically learn what constitutes normal performance, with no manual configuration.
  • Automatic business impact. We provide an automated assessment of the business impact of a problem, so you can easily prioritize your efforts.
  • Automatic root cause analysis. We use artificial intelligence to automatically identify performance issues before customers are impacted.

Simple and highly automated – it just works.

2. You can’t be effective with a sea of alerts. You need answers.

IT teams are suffering from alert overload. An application’s performance depends on a complicated and interdependent set of technologies. When any of these components fail or slow down, it can trigger a chain reaction, leaving you drowning in a sea of alerts from your many monitoring tools.

Despite their claims to the contrary, traditional APM tools like AppD just add to the number of alerts. They talk about helping you correlate all the alerts to help you find the root cause. But that’s the wrong approach. As my colleague Joe Hoffman points out, correlation can lead to the wrong conclusion and it still leaves the burden on you to find the answer.

That’s why customers love the artificial intelligence engine at Dynatrace’s core. It gives you causation, not correlation. While a single problem may result in a sea of alerts, Dynatrace is smart enough to understand that these alerts are all related. And then we give you simple answers:

  • Which application is impacted by the problem?
  • How many users are impacted in which geos?
  • What is the root cause of the problem?

How good is that?! Unbeatable.

3. Simple metrics about container health and underlying resources don’t cut it

What we do for containers and microservices is nothing short of magical, and when people see it they are amazed. Dynatrace goes way beyond the simple metrics about container health and underlying resources that you’ll get from AppD:

  • We automatically detect all containers and microservices with a single agent, without modifying images or manual configuration.
  • We show you not only container health, but more importantly the health of the software and services running inside your containers.
  • Our artificial intelligence engine automatically detects problems and their root cause, which is critical in a complex, dynamic microservice environment.
  • Unlike AppDynamics, Dynatrace provides network visibility, which is essential in a highly distributed environment that leverages containers.

Here’s a short video that does a great job explaining it:

4. Without high fidelity data, you’re knee deep in guesswork.

Can your monitoring solution handle the number of services, hosts, and transactions you will be running in the future, when you move to cloud and microservices? Can it see end-to-end detail for every transaction or just a small percentage?

Dynatrace is built for web-scale to support more than 500,000 transactions per second and 100,000+ deployed agents, all on a single Dynatrace cluster with multiple nodes. There is no hard limit for the number of monitored web or mobile applications.

APM solutions like AppDynamics that were built before these new application architectures became standard must apply “smart capture” approaches where code-level details are ignored for all but a handful of transactions. As environments reach tens of thousands of agents, this approach results in data granularity of 0.1% or less.

To get answers, you need high fidelity data at web-scale. Without it:

  • Troubleshooting is less effective. Most times the cause of a problem happens before a slow transaction is detected. Snapshot approaches won’t catch that.
  • You can’t optimize performance if you’re only going deep on a sample of transactions. You need all the data to provide those answers.
  • You can’t automate. Trying to automate operations without seeing all the data is like getting into a self-driving car that only takes a snapshot of your surroundings every ten seconds. You would never do that!

That’s why our motto is: Every user, every app, everywhere.

5. Many solutions, yet still an incomplete picture

Most enterprises have many monitoring tools in place already, resulting in an overload of alerts and frustrating attempts to correlate multiple streams of data to find the cause of issues.

One of the things customers love about Dynatrace is that it’s an all-in-one, unified monitoring solution that covers the entire stack. From your cloud infrastructure to your application to the user experience, we see it all. Not only that, but our AI engine shows you causation as opposed to correlation. We deploy automatically, we watch everything, and we figure out what’s going on for you.

When we compete with Cisco AppDynamics, two things frequently happen:

  1. The AppDynamics sales team will bring together a number of tools to try and match us – AppD for APM, Catchpoint for synthetic transactions, ExtraHop for network visibility, IBM for mainframe, and Moogsoft for alerts.
  2. The customer realizes that Dynatrace gives them an opportunity to consolidate and dramatically reduce the number of monitoring tools they have.

All-in-one monitoring from Dynatrace – there’s nothing like it.

Let me level with you.

When you choose Dynatrace…

  • You spend less time integrating disparate data sets
  • You reduce software license or subscription costs
  • You need fewer resources to implement and manage your monitoring ecosystem
  • You enjoy dramatic TCO improvement

The APM market is hot right now, which means there’s a lot of hot air. But you only have to scratch the surface to find the answers you’re looking for. You can’t scale or innovate or satisfy the masses without transforming your business, and that also means transforming how you monitor.

So, what do you need to do? Take a Dynatrace test drive. Put your foot down, put her through her paces. She won’t disappoint. Enjoy the ride.