Transactions Preview Full Release

AppFirst Transactions unlocks the quick and real time information on live data as it’s happening between applications.

What is AppFirst Transactions?

Transactions will allow the user to experience real time data by showing end to end transaction visibility from the data AppFirst collects. This tool shows process topology, transaction timeline, and summary data for multiple types of transactions. You can select one of three types of transactions to start your trace from:

  1. Database transactions: Trace a transaction “backwards” starting from a database server’s SQL statements back to the web request

  2. Web Server transactions: Transactions can be traced directly from web requests in the form of URL

  3. Process transactions: Transactions can be started from any point in the trace

Please find details in full about our transactions release in our Transactions Support Doc

AppFirst Delivers Pinpoint Accuracy to Causes of Performance Slowdowns



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Pamela Roussos



AppFirst Delivers Pinpoint Accuracy to Causes of Performance Slowdowns

Eliminate Manual and Statistical Approaches to Identifying and Solving Response Time Issues

NEW YORK, NY – September 15, 2010 – Eliminating the ‘needle-in-the-haystack’ approach to identifying and solving performance problems, AppFirst, the only provider of real-time, proactive monitoring as a service (MaaS) solutions, today unveiled its Deterministic Root Cause feature. With this capability, users are alerted to the exact server where an issue is occurring, the process on the server causing the issue and what specifically the process is doing to disturb the performance of the application. By automating the formerly manual process of searching every tier of an application and every layer of the IT infrastructure to identify the source, hours, days and even weeks of time resolving performance issues are eliminated.

Using a proprietary algorithm, AppFirst moves away from the traditional statistical or manual methods of assigning probability or tediously searching to isolate causes of performance degradation. Both methods provide ample opportunity for the proposed solution to be wrong. Current solutions have a narrow focus of polling for data on a few components of an application or are language runtime specific, ensuring users are not seeing everything across the application stack.

Unlike other solutions currently available, AppFirst captures everything occurring in the entire application, and its Deterministic Root Cause feature allows users to drive right to the root cause on each and every instance. AppFirst’s real-time collection of application behavior data across the entire application, no matter where it runs, accurately captures what is happening within the application. Using that data, AppFirst’s Deterministic Root Cause capability identifies the offending server, the offending process and exactly what it is doing to negatively affect performance.

“As server infrastructures continue to grow in size and complexity, the task of managing them grows disproportionally as well, providing plenty of opportunity for performance degradation,” said Bernd Harzog, CEO for APM Experts. “The majority of monitoring vendors do not collect unique data, do not have the agnostic approach to operating systems or application, and don’t provide a real-time topology map of an application running on a dynamic infrastructure. Only AppFirst takes you right to the root of the problem deterministically.”

Solving the External Response Time Pain

One of an IT department’s biggest pain points is identifying the source of response time issues. AppFirst automatically identifies response time degradation before customers might even notice a slowdown with its Deterministic Root Cause feature. AppFirst users receive an alert email or SMS notifying them of the problem, what server was causing it, what process on that server and the process activity causing the degradation. This level of accuracy and specificity to IT operations has never been available hence the hours, days and sometimes weeks it takes to track down a problem. AppFirst takes the guess work out by deterministically identifying the issue. For performance issues not related to response time, AppFirst provides its Root Cause Wizard to walk users through the root cause process to deliver issue resolution.

Monitoring as a Service (MaaS)

With the continued trend of offering storage, software, infrastructure and even application platforms as a service, Harzog recently coined this emerging market Monitoring as a Service (MaaS), defining the move to monitor all services, especially in the case where they are co-mingled with services and applications running inside of a data center.

Harzog defines the space to include products that provide a unique level of visibility into actual applications performance (response time) and the topology of the applications system from its perspective in the OS. Further, Harzog states that AppFirst is a full MaaS solution, and is the only one that delivers a viable approach to monitoring complex, rapidly changing, and distributed applications.

“Insight into an application, regardless of where it resides is one thing, but insight doesn’t mean specific problems are easily found or resolved,” said David Roth, CEO and co-founder for AppFirst. “Being able to drill down directly to the cause of every problem, and the exact process creating each problem, delivers a significant and valuable benefit to an organization, and most importantly, to customers using the applications. There is no other solution on the market today that can deliver this level of capability.”

About AppFirst, Inc.

AppFirst delivers a MaaS-based application-aware infrastructure performance management solution uniquely providing IT operations complete visibility into the behavior and performance of applications across the entire application stack, regardless of language, application type or location (cloud, physical or virtual servers). Visibility into the executing application enables proactive monitoring to drive down cost of operations, see changes before they become problems and reduce customer churn. Founded in 2009, AppFirst is a New York City-based company venture backed by FirstMark Capital and First Round Capital. More information is available at


The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

The Value of Real Data

For better or worse, I’m a baseball fan. It’s something I grew up with. My grandparents were devout Detroit Tigers fans. Some of my fondest memories are of listening to the game on the radio with grandparents and extended family.

One of the talking points in baseball circles these days is the pace of the game. It was a recent topic when the Red Sox and Yankees took nearly 5 hours to play a game last month. There are a few generally accepted reasons why some of the games take longer than others. Most people passionately describe the time consumed when the catcher goes to the mound to talk to the pitcher and the amount of time consumed by the pitcher between pitches. In fact, MLB has instituted new rules this year that are supposed to govern some of these times.

A funny thing happened recently in the midst of all of this discussion. A baseball writer (Didn’t write down his name…) sat down with video of several notoriously long games and measured times. He used a stop watch to measure the amount of time taken for each individual activity. With absolute times in hand, he was able to clearly tell precisely where time was consumed. The activities that took most of the time were not those generally accepted to be the culprits. It turned out, for example, that Derek Jeter stepping out of the batter’s box and walking around between pitches consumed a lot more time than any of the pitchers or visits to the mound by a catcher.

But why bore you with all the baseball reference? It’s an example from my personal frame of reference that illustrates an aspect of the human condition that affects the management of IT infrastructure. It’s really easy to accept that something is factual when one or more individuals speak with passion that it is so. That system is slow because the java app is using too much memory, or it’s slow because the database is over extended. It’s all too easy to accept. I’ve done it.

We had a recent performance issue with our back-end servers. Our entire development team, myself included, was convinced that the issue stemmed from the aggregation of data. We all just accepted that as reality because it made a lot of sense. It was logical. However, when we looked at the visualization of the applications on our infrastructure, it was very clear very quickly that we were all wrong. Data aggregation was really consuming less than 5% of CPU resources. It was the act of responding to API requests that were consuming up to 30% of CPU.

The point is; get the facts. Easier said than done, I know. You don’t have access to the real facts if you are looking at server resources alone – they are insufficient to see the detail you need. Transaction times alone aren’t going to fully inform. All of the copious information that you can get from individual components is a patchwork of data, much of it contradictory. The information from byte code insertion tools is detailed, but it doesn’t help much with management of your application infrastructure. Maybe if you wrote much of the code yourself, you can get what you need. Either way, it’s like real work to get what you need.

What you need is a consistent view of the apps running on your infrastructure. A view that is the same for all apps; web server, app server, database, Java, .Net, Ruby, PHP…well, you get the idea. If you are managing infrastructure, do you care which line of code is calling a SQL statement? Do you care if you’re dealing with Java or Ruby? You do care about the performance profile, about what resources the apps require, about bottlenecks. So, why not look at what matters to you?

Give it a try – it’s easy and not at all scary: