Experian focusing on automated app deployments with Dynatrace

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The credit reports firm is looking to automate its app deployments as much as possible with help from Dynatrace's monitoring tools

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Credit reporting firm Experian is looking to use Dynatrace's monitoring tools to help automate more of its app deployments.

Speaking to Computerworld UK at Dynatrace Perform in Barcelona, Jonathan Hayes, VP of Global IT at Experian said: "We need to be always-on; we need to be always available. That's exactly where Dynatrace makes sure that we've got a handle on the transactions and the service we provide."

Dynatrace specialises in application performance management (APM), but said at Perform Europe 2018 that it is increasingly focusing on 'software intelligence'.

Read next: Dynatrace shifts away from APM to software intelligence

The Dynatrace platform is built to provide performance metrics in real time. This includes lifecycle management, which allows users to monitor transactions with code-level data. It can also be integrated to automatically detect anomalies.

"We'd automated our AppMon deployments quite a lot, more than probably Dynatrace initially thought about,"  David Shepherd, global IT service delivery manager at Experian, said. "It still took us about half a day to deploy to about 100-odd hosts, using automation. Now, in my Dynatrace platform proof-of-concept (PoC) environments, I've got 100 hosts in there and I've not even attempted automation."

According to Experian, the Dynatrace platform is a big improvement over the previous state of AppMon which had a long time to deploy. "My comments for a long time to Dynatrace, have been that you would have been far broader across our organisation if it had been a lot easier to deploy AppMon," Hayes said.

"Three years is a long time, and to be honest, a lot of the pain was the deploying. Once it's there, the goodwill across the business is absolutely fantastic," he added.

As a result Experian is looking to build all new applications and services with Dynatrace as a key part of the stack, and is also planning to move legacy applications into that environment.

Supporting more self-service

Experian has been a customer of Dynatrace for three years now. David Shepherd explained: "Pre-2015 there were pockets of Experian using [application performance management] APM but in isolation and in the development community. The agreement reached in 2015 was to deliver APM as a centrally managed offering to the entire business."

The company also spoke of the other areas where Dynatrace offers support, particularly in the development of a more self-service model.

"The shift to the SaaS model enables us to do the same for infrastructure monitoring and with the added business insight and easier to understand interface, non-technical people will find themselves consuming Dynatrace data to help them deliver a better service to customers.

"By moving my infrastructure monitoring into this Dynatrace SaaS solution, I get to do some of that event management just by doing the migration," Experian's Shepherd added. "Like that correlation I've seen in our POC environment, 50-odd separate events go across the estate and consolidate it down to one ticket and then you've got all your chart items underneath it. That's amazing.

"The other area where it really helps us is with service mapping. We acquire a lot of companies and mapping that stuff into the configuration management database so that I can really drive my event management optimally is quite hard work," he added. "So the fact that Dynatrace can automatically populate that based on that enables us to actually have that automatically managed."

According to Experian the addition of service mapping and automation has been a good way to save time and reduce some of the hard work across the organisation.

As Hayes put it: "The goodwill across the business and the advocacy across the business have just made my life so much easier. I'd actually have a bigger and tougher time looking to swap it out than actually to keep it and continue to grow what Dynatrace has done for Experian."