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BMJ uses AppDynamics software monitoring tools to support DevOps push

Matthew Finnegan | Aug. 11, 2015
BMJ - formerly the British Medical Journal - is using AppDynamics applications performance monitoring (APM) tools to let developers fix software code problems before release, aiding its move to a devops operating model.

BMJ - formerly the British Medical Journal - is using AppDynamics applications performance monitoring (APM) tools to let developers fix software code problems before release, aiding its move to a devops operating model.

The medical publishing firm initially deployed the AppDynamics technology to detect software issues which can arise in the applications used to deliver its range of online products - all the way from front-end systems to databases.

However, it has now also using the APM platform to improve the quality of code before it is released, which has supported its move to a devops operating model. Devops is a software development approach that, as its name suggest, involves developer and operations staff working more closely together to drive efficiencies and release code more quickly.

"We have started use AppDynamics in our development environment," says BMJ chief technology officer, Sharon Cooper, "and this means that, as our devs are writing code and as the scrum team is developing, they are using AppDynamics to see how fast things are as they are writing it. So they are tuning [the software] in dev, rather than waiting until something is live and then working out how good it is going to be, and how it runs."

Being able to see how responsive the code they are writing "before they deploy it live" ties in with the firm's agile development approach.

BMJ's Cooper recently spoke to CIO UK about how its move away from the 'waterfall' development methodology has allowed the organisation to release code much more frequently: "In 2012 when I first joined I did one release a month, a year later we were doing 12 releases, a year after that we were doing 35 releases," she said.

"This month our ops team are not doing releases any more, the developers are doing it themselves, so we have moved to a devops environment very quickly."

Speaking to ComputerworldUK today, Cooper said that the organisation has now reached 50 releases during the month of June.

Its trial of AppDynamics in development environments is playing a role in supporting this, she said, and helping improve trust between the two IT teams.

"We are running much faster: we have moved to a devops approach," said Cooper. "So what AppDynamics does there is - because it is being used in the background in the dev environment - the sysadmins can see that the code is performant.

"It allows us to build up an element of trust between our dev and our ops teams, to say that we are building stuff that is ready and fit for purpose and fit for release without having to do loads and loads of testing and validation of it."

 

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