AppFirst Partners With Safeguard For Series B Funding

New Round Provides $8.7 Million

NEW YORK, NY – December 6, 2012 – AppFirst, the leading provider of SaaS-based application management solutions, announced today it has completed a Series B round of funding with Safeguard Scientifics, totaling $8.7 million. Continue reading

SIIA Vision From the Top 2012: David Roth

SIIA’s Vision from the Top is a collection of interviews with SIIA member executives running some of the most exciting technology companies today.

Here’s the interview from our CEO, David Roth. You can download the complete copy of the publication SIIA Vision from the Top 2012.

With various forces combining to transform the IT landscape, how do you see the role of the IT department evolving?

The Complex Road to Business/IT Nirvana
The Application is the Business. And, the Business is the Application.

For companies that grasp and internalize the above, the road to Business/IT Nirvana becomes crystal clear. What is an application, really? It can be interpreted different ways by different people with different job functions. But at the most fundamental level, an application should be the business – and if it’s not, then that application is probably weakening the business.

IT spent the last 10 years trying to align itself with Business – until last year. The economic downturn blew up the alignment myth. CEOs told their CIOs “You have no IT goals. IT goals are the business goals.” Simple. Crisp. Total Alignment. But what’s the best way to help ensure that your applications are the business and vice versa? The goal of aligning IT to business goals is not new – it has been around for many years, and remains a ‘nirvana’ that organizations strive to achieve. In an October 2011 report by Forrester Research, Inc. titled “Transform Your I&O Organization Into an Innovation Machine,” report author Jean-Pierre Garbani writes, “In Partner Player organizations, technology and its leaders are viewed as critical to go-to-market offerings and provide a source of differentiation (the business is IT and IT is the business). ”

Once Business and Applications are indistinguishable, risks to Applications are nothing but risks to the Business. This is an exciting time in business and technology. Private, public and hybrid clouds enable and support sensational new business capabilities. People are recognizing the differentiation Garbani notes, and want to more quickly align their IT capabilities and their business successes. Why? Consider a recent study by Aberdeen that found that 68 percent of the time, IT finds out about application issues from end-users. Enterprise Management Associates estimates that the amount of outages and application problems averaged out across mid-market and enterprise size operations cause 60 hours of downtime per year. The cost of that downtime is averaged at $45,000 per hour (much higher for enterprises of course), and businesses spend nearly $3 million a year identifying and solving application issues in the cloud. ‘What’s so exciting about that?’ you’re asking. Well, never before have tools and methodologies been so available to propel IT transformation from IT centric to business centric. Today’s solutions assess and view critical business metrics, in a repeatable and highly consistent manner, providing enormous insight to leverage and work more successfully with cloud computing technology.

So, why are we still using system metrics as a proxy for business risks? We should not. The primary metrics should be application metrics that are synonyms for business metrics like ‘Sales in Past 5 minutes’. Traditional system metrics (like Network Latency) are still essential, but they now serve to support root cause analysis of business risks. Today, finally, there are solutions that provide critical business visibility through the technical operations. These tools can show not only that IT metrics are the business metrics, but that application metrics are business metrics. And I believe that companies that embrace this thinking will be successful.

This insight is elevating the responsibilities of CTOs and CIOs. They have always held responsibility for the vision and execution of a company’s IT organization, but today they are at the business table. This is a fundamental shift that has been evolving and which is well underway today. Finally, IT is no longer an ‘expense bucket’ but a true business peer. When asked what the IT goals are, the answer is “business goals” – they are, and should be, one and the same. IT departments at today’s successful businesses ensure everyone within IT has specific alignment in their roles with responsibility to those business goals. Whether an employee is a Sys Admin or in Dev Ops, the next generation IT operation has a clearer understanding of the department’s end-to-end alignment to the business goals, and just as critical, a way to measure it. But how does a company or organization get from start-up chaos to business/IT hand-in-hand nirvana? They need to recognize that it’s a process and have the right tools in place to know where they’re at in the process and how to keep business and IT metrics continually aligned.

Where Are We, How Did We Get Here, and What’s Next? The Complexity Challenge

Having trivialized alignment as a red herring worth completely ignoring, let’s get back to reality. There is no silver bullet to immediate “Total Alignment.” We learned early on that businesses have a natural progression in terms of their business model and alignment with IT. No one moves quickly or painlessly from ‘survival mode’ of look-guess-fix-repeat to an operation where IT and business goals are fully aligned, where IT and business metrics are harmonious, and where business and IT are working hand-in-hand to manage business risks. Through our close work with customers, we have identified five stages of a business risk ‘maturity model’ – starting with ‘Survival’, then moving up to Reactive, Planning, Proactive, and finally full Alignment of business and IT. Forrester has recognized this progression also. The January 2012 report: “Develop An IT Service Management And Automation Strategic Plan” identifies it as a ‘Complexity Curve’ – companies moving along the curve transition from one state to the next. In the beginning they’re focused on applications and infrastructure, then as the business grows, so grows the number of applications, then the applications become more complex services, and then finally become integrated with the business. Both of these models help companies identify their current stage of business/IT alignment, and also help guide businesses and IT departments through the challenging path of progression to complete business/IT alignment.

Successful organizations such as Etsy and Zynga have already merged the idea of business and IT performance as one and the same. They have helped the world understand how this can be done. We now have platforms and services that emulate these leaders and allow all of us to reach that nirvana. A place where IT risks are nothing more than business risks. A place where an IT application is the business. And, IT goals are nothing but business goals.

Businesses and organizations cannot evolve from survival mode to business/IT nirvana quickly and still focus on running a successful operation. But today there is a platform and tools available that are easily optimized for any organization at any stage of progression toward business/IT nirvana. The successful business will take advantage of these capabilities to ensure that the application is the business, and the business is the application.

5 Things a Startup Needs to Focus On

In a recent post for Forbes.com, our CEO, David Roth, talked about the main dilemma startups go through: focusing efforts on the right things.

When we started AppFirst our co-founder and CTO stated from his experience that start-ups rarely fail from their teams not working hard enough, they fail from their people working on the wrong things.

Here’s what David says are the top five things a startup needs to focus on. To read the whole article, click here.

Startup Focus #1: Working on stuff that doesn’t matter will never get you to the promised land.

Startup Focus #2: Build your company around a market need with customers in the front seat.

Startup Focus #3: Don’t fall so in love with what you’re doing that you over-do it.

Startup Focus #4: Make clear to everyone what is needed and how it’s mapped to the company’s progress.

Startup Focus #5: Making them want it: Be the lifesaver at the watering hole.

New Features and Pricing Structure Enhance AppFirst Offerings

Appfirst_logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
Pamela Roussos

AppFirst

pamela@appfirst.com

 

Allison Niday

Impact Communications

allison@impactcommpr.com

New Features and Pricing Structure Enhance AppFirst Offerings

Server Tags, Log File Data Collection and Tiered Pricing Bring Miss Nothing Data Capabilities to Businesses of all Sizes

NEW YORK, NY – August 15, 2011 – AppFirst, the next generation application problem resolution system offering the highest data fidelity in the application performance monitoring market, today unveiled a host of new features and pricing changes in response to customers’ needs. Server tags and log file data access extend the flexibility of AppFirst’s Miss Nothing Data collection technology, while tiered pricing delivers four distinct offerings to support a wide range of requirements. The new version moves into production today, and pricing options are available immediately.

“Creating a tiered pricing structure allows us to deliver solutions for businesses of all shapes and sizes,” said David Roth, CEO of AppFirst. “At the same time, we continue to add new features that allow application architects and DevOps to offer the absolute best application performance and reliability to their customers.”

 

Log File Data and Server Tags

AppFirst now automatically collects log file data that can be correlated with the company’s Miss Nothing Data collection, along with other data sources such as Nagios and the Windows Performance Counter data. Users simply select which log files to collect, and the output can be viewed in AppFirst’s application log viewer.

The addition of server tags gives architects and DevOps a simple way to group similar servers into logical clusters for easier visualization and management. For example, production servers may need to be managed differently than quality assurance servers. The ability to tag servers and quickly set different alert thresholds for each group simplifies server performance management and delivers a powerful, proactive way to troubleshoot issues related to server utilization, server performance and configuration.

“As the number of servers in an organization grows, being able to organize them into related functions, while also easily setting individual thresholds based on use, is critical,” says AppFirst customer Andy Piggott, managing director for Software as a Service provider Incutio. “Our DevOps team would spend hours identifying log lines from applications following a system event. But with AppFirst, the relevant log data is already presented for analysis along with the event we are investigating, which saves us many man-hours per investigation.”

Other feature enhancements, including user-friendly host names and international SMS alerts, have also been added by AppFirst, as well as support for Fedora 14, CentOS 5.6 and 6.0, and Debian 6.0.

Four-Tier Pricing Structure

AppFirst has established four offerings to choose from depending on the customer’s size and needs. Small companies can take advantage of the “Three for Free” Developer program, which includes all the power of AppFirst with one week of data retention for three or fewer servers. The new Standard option, for .75 cents per server per hour (equivalent to $5.40 per server per month), is specifically designed for users who want to focus on monitoring and alerts. The Standard option offers capabilities including:

  • Consolidated view of all servers
  • The new server tagging feature
  • Ability to create and manage applications
  • Unlimited alerts on 20+ resources
  • Cloud provider management
  • Nagios/Windows Performance Counters data collection
  • API access
  • 30-day data retention
  • Email support
  • iPhone/iPad/Android app

For customers who need monitor/alert capabilities, as well as troubleshooting and problem resolution capabilities, the Professional version, offered at a usage rate of 2.5 cents an hour or a bundled price of $49 a month, includes all Standard plan features as well as:

  • Root Cause Wizard for intuitively resolving issues
  • The new Log file data collection feature
  • Multiple graph comparisons with different time frames
  • Visual server network connections
  • Data correlation from multiple sources:
    • Miss Nothing Data
    • Log files
    • Nagios plug-ins
    • Windows Performance Counters
  • One-year data retention
  • Email/phone support

The company also offers custom plans for users requiring a Private Cloud for monitoring, management and problem resolution of their own private cloud.

 

About AppFirst, Inc.

AppFirst is the leading SaaS-based application problem resolution service designed to provide mid-market application architects and DevOps complete visibility into their applications across the entire application stack. AppFirst is an agnostic solution, supporting a wide range of applications, regardless of language, application type or location (cloud, physical or virtual servers) and incorporates its patent-pending Miss Nothing Data capability. This unique feature is designed to provide clear insight into executing applications and quickly correlate with other data sources, allowing a proactive approach where IT professionals can see changes before they become problems, reduce customer churn, and drive down the cost of operations. Founded in 2009, AppFirst is a New York City-based company venture backed by FirstMark Capital and First Round Capital. For more information, visit http://www.appfirst.com. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/appfirst or subscribe to the AppFirst blog to stay up-to-date on the latest AppFirst news.

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