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Community Manager

Welcome to the Community Member Spotlight series. In this edition, Sunil Vanmullem, a Solutions Architect, shares his perspective, tips, use cases, and more… 

— Ryan Paredez & Claudia Landivar, Community Managers 

In this post 

  • Your work: what do you do and how did you get there? 
  • Working with AppD products 
  • Keeping up with industry news 
  • Life after-hours 
  • Advice for up-and-coming professionals 


Your work: what do you do, and how did you get there? 

I’m a solutions architect who gets to help decide what technology is used to solve a particular business problem. It’s a team effort that involves recommending technologies, understanding what the stakeholders need, procurement activities, producing architecture and designs for the solution, and being a technical authority for the implementation phase of the project. 

I started as a Visual Basic software developer. I progressed into the solutions architect role relatively early in my career after finding out there were people above my role that made the technical decisions. I wanted a piece of that action and put together a Personal Development Plan to join a certification course for TOGAF, to become a technical architect. 


What has fed your interest in your work? 

For me, it's about curiosity. I’m very curious about technology, not only about what it can do but also about how it works at a detailed level. It is satisfying to see the solutions I have been involved with making a difference in the lives of ordinary people. 


Working with AppD products  


What first brought you to the AppD community? 

I first came across AppDynamics in 2012 when I was brought into a project to find out why it was having performance problems. I was blown away by how quickly AppD found the root cause.  

Over the years, I've been deploying AppDynamics instrumentation for organisations I’ve worked for. In my last role, I even did a year as an AppD senior consultant working with the incredibly talented AppD team. I love the AppD Community as it allows people to quickly share tips and get a more human response to questions they have about the AppD products. 

Can you tell us about a positive experience you’ve had with the community?

It's all been positive. I love it when fellow community members propose solutions that I hadn't even considered. 


What about your current role: how do you use AppD in it? 

I've just joined a consulting organisation that doesn't currently use APM solutions. I’m hoping to put forward an APM Centre of Excellence that showcases how AppD can help the organisation deliver more robust and reliable solutions. 


Do you have any interesting use cases to share that you’ve experienced in using AppD? 

I recently worked with a UK high street consumer electronics organisation. They wanted to see a geographic breakdown of their top stores.  

Using data collectors and analytics, I was able to get the list of the top-performing stores. I extracted the data using the AppDynamics API and visualised it in a Google Apps Script application using OpenLayers.  

The customer was delighted as this gave them instant insights into top-performing stores that usually they could previously only see as monthly reports. 


What are your top 2 AppDynamics hot tips? 

  • Use data collectors to populate analytics with invaluable business data
    You can then instantly see the impact of IT on customers and your business using analytics widgets in dashboards. 
  • Keep a regular eye on the health of your applications in the Controller
    More often than not, applications are left to overflow and this degrades the quality of the insights that AppD can provide.

Keeping up with industry news 

I find that Linkedin groups are great for providing informative industry information. 


What have you learned in the past year that you wish you had known when you started your career? 

What will set you apart is having a niche, whatever that is. Have a passion for what you do and it will show in your work and your career progression 


Is there anything you’d like to shout out or elevate? 

Over the years I’ve been working with AppD, I’ve written a free open-source web application called Rapport.  

I wrote Rapport for operational teams. Rapport uses AppD REST APIs to quickly extract critical performance information from the controller and highlight causes of performance degradation.  

I’m looking for beta testers to try out Rapport and provide feedback. Please message me if you are interested. 


Life After Hours 

What are some of your favorite things to experience outside of work? 

I’m currently going to a Buddhist temple near where I work in Woking to learn meditation and mindfulness. I’m fascinated by how the mind works and want to add mindfulness and past-life regression to my clinical hypnotherapy practice. 


How—or where—do you find inspiration? 

Inspiration for me comes from finding a problem I really want to solve for myself. It may sound counter intuitive, but I find that ideas tend to pop into my mind after I stop thinking about the problem for a while.  


Do you have advice for up-and-coming professionals?

Be curious about technology,  

be skeptical when you’re told something can’t be done,  

and be flexible and adaptable to new technologies. 

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