The APM Market Is Not For Chickens

I’ve been SVP of Sales at Correlsense for three years, and in this time I’ve had a lot of opportunities to meet with the clients. These are the people in the trenches using, or hoping to use, APM as their primary weapon against all the “interesting” situations that arise when managing applications in production.

A while back, I found myself lured into the southeast by a huge potential client and the promise of an amazing plate of chicken.

The client was an industrial scale poultry operation, the kind that supplies fast-food chains and grocery stores alike. Years ago, they had built themselves a transportation and logistics system which included, amongst other things, C++ code, extensive use of MQ, and proprietary protocols. For years, the system had worked just fine, but it had one fatal flaw. I call it the Jurassic Park Syndrome. You remember the film- a high-tech computer network was designed to keep bloodthirsty dinosaurs under control, and only two people (Samuel L. Jackson and “Newman” from Seinfeld) understood how to work it. With those people gone the system is inoperable, freeing the dinosaurs to do what they do best (eat everyone).

This was a similar situation, only with chickens instead of Velociraptors or Tyrannosaurs (which is a good thing).

Nobody in the organization understood the internals of their system anymore since the authors were no longer at the company. This was causing huge application problems. As a result, the team was spending hours trying to identify the roots of the issues in a system they had no map of. If you’ve ever been lost in a strange city with no map, you have some idea. If you’ve ever been lost in a strange city with no map while blindfolded, you’re getting closer.

Fortunately for them, they had a great attitude. Unfortunately for me, that meant hours of chicken jokes. Jokes that literally involved chickens crossing the road, about the operation being “out of cluck”, functionality “beaks and valleys”… it was unending and horrible. At one point I even tried to join in (“gee, looks like you put all your eggs in one basket”), and they didn’t get it. Awkward.

Anyway, SharePath could help them, because our product automatically maps any application without prior knowledge. It can also handle the non-standard technologies they use and allow them to get right down to the root cause of their application performance problems.

Afterwards, they took me out for lunch and I ate the best chicken I’ve ever had, anywhere, in my life. Fried chicken, roasted chicken, grilled chicken- it was all there and it was amazing. I commented that they were producing some of the best chicken meat in the country and they all glanced around the table uncomfortably. Turns out it wasn’t their chicken.

What a fowl experience.