AppFirst gives sales, ops, and IT one unified dashboard for business visibility

Sports fans typically know much more about the performance of their favorite team and how well its key players are performance than execs know about the internal processes of their IT infrastructure and how they impact profitability.

That’s why AppFirst has built the DevOps Dashboard.

Launching today, DevOps Dashboard combines in one view data from your web applications, your corporate database, and all your internal applications. I spoke with AppFirst chief marketing officer Pamela Roussos to learn more.

“The problem is that most data is in different silos,” Roussos says. “That contributes to IT often being the last ones to know about a problem.”

Above: A DevOps dashboard showing data for an e-commerce vendor.

AppFirst’s solution is to install a little piece of software on every piece of a company’s computing stack. The lightweight sentinels collect data continuously and stream it to AppFirst every 20 seconds, creating a single repository of performance data for you in the cloud. Then AppFirst “dashboards” the data, showing you in one screen what previously you might have needed to check for in 10 or more places.

And it’s not just about server uptime.

Plenty of solutions are out there to tell businesses how their applications are running or what their network utilization is or how hard servers are working. One of the new things AppFirst is doing is connecting application and services data with business data.

That enables the company to display metrics such as return on investment, cost per customer, time on site, and a vast array of financial and profitability data — in conjunction with, and relationship to hardware and applications performance.

“One e-commerce customer of ours was looking at 14 different monitoring solutions,” Roussos told me. “They thought they could narrow it down to four, and ended with just one [AppFirst].”

Now, she says, the company displays the dashboard on  50-inch monitors for everyone in the company to see all their core indicators.

Above: Another DevOps Dashboard view.

Having all their data in multiple places can make it difficult for businesses to correlate information and detect relationships and trends, says Roussos. Seeing critical metrics connected surfaces those relationships and enables quick response — and initiative.

For example, a company might see how better website speed impacts sales. Or how greater reliability of internal application delivery impacts customer response times and, ultimately, ROI.

One key benefit of the company’s cloud-based approach, according to AppFirst, is the incredible speed of implementation. Enterprise customers, of course, are familiar with implementation and integration periods calculated in weeks and months and “don’t believe” Roussos sometimes when she tells them that AppFirst can be up and running hours or days.

“As quickly as you can install the apps and authenticate them,” says Roussos, “you’re up and running.”

Those apps are MSIs on Windows servers and RPMs on Linux servers. One a collector is installed, it starts collecting data instantly, sending it up to the cloud. Within minutes a client’s metrics are being populated, and as soon as enough data is collected to provide meaningful reports, the results are visible online. According to AppFirst, running the DevOpps Dashboard apps incurs a performance penalty of only 1 percent or less.

The DevOps Dashboard is new, as is an enhanced capability to auto-detect the app stack running within a company’s production environment. Two other new announcements today include auto-configuration of data sources and the addition of business metrics data.

Pricing starts at free and ends up at only $25 per server for up to 2,000 business metrics.

That may be where the sports stats analogy breaks down — A-Rod doesn’t even tie his shoes for $25.

photo credit: laffy4k via photo pin cc

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