Ashley.Lewis, Specialist, IT Application Performance, First Abu Dhabi Bank
A day in the life of Ashley.Lewis
Can you give us a picture of “a day in the life”?
My responsibilities include working with different teams at First Abu Dhabi Bank across design and architecture, infrastructure, development, and support to enable monitoring, look for opportunities to improve observability of applications, and work on the evolving monitoring strategy of our organization.
I look into opportunities to improve current toolsets and make maximum use of the technology we have. On a daily basis, I also use the tools with my team to troubleshoot incidents and look for opportunities to reduce our detection time.
How did you get involved with this work?
I've been working in the monitoring space within the banking domain for more than ten years. Exposure to development at the start of my career gave me a different perspective as to the possibilities of leveraging APM to increase the reliability and performance of applications using these tools.
I started off by using tools like Quest Foglight and HP Diagnostics, and learned the capabilities I should expect in this domain. In my current role, I am expected to increase the adoption and usage of the tools within the organization.
What feeds your interest in your work?
The diverse nature of the technology stack you need to know in order to cover monitoring is extremely interesting. I get to talk to a wide range of SMEs across business and technology domains. It’s very satisfying to be able to deliver improvements which, in the end, benefit our customers positively.
For example, one of the issues we diagnosed using AppDynamics led to a significant overhaul of one of our core business applications, which in turn lead to significant response time improvements for our customers. This would not have been possible using traditional log-based analysis.
Why participate in the AppD Community?
What first brought you to community?
Looking for solutions and innovative ways to leverage the technology and solution stack that we have. Sharing knowledge with the wider community helps us all and I've had a good experience with some of the responses on the community
Can you tell us about a positive experience you’ve had with the community?
Looking through the Idea Exchange in the community, I came across the idea of using the PII Data analysis and deletion tool which was developed by one of the internal teams at AppDynamics and had been successfully used to analyze data captured in AppDynamics. I was able to reach out and get access to the tool through our partners and hope to be able to use it positively at work.
How do you use AppD in your role?
AppDynamics is used extensively to monitor applications at the bank. We also use it to baseline, troubleshoot performance problems, and narrow the gap between business and IT in how we communicate by using the same language.
High priority issues are typically analyzed using AppDynamics’ core capabilities to get down into code-level diagnostics. This might either trigger a required improvement in the level of detail we need to capture, or improvements to the application itself. Having this rich data within AppDynamics allows us to communicate easier with our external vendors and developers.
What are your top 2 AppDynamics hot tips?
Make the best use of the Business iQ and Analytics capabilities of AppDynamics — especially in order to understand the functional status of business-critical transactions. We've observed this giving maximum value to business teams.
Get the development teams to use AppDynamics as a part of the development lifecycle even before it hits production. The potential performance improvements are well worth the effort.
How do you use AppD day-to-day?
There is a lot of interest around using AppDynamics’ MIDC capability in order to capture the functional status of business transactions. Most teams seem to expect this to be available out of the box: it requires some education to convey that this needs inputs from developers or team members who have a good understanding of the application code. Having this as a capability is invaluable.
Keeping up with Technology Trends
What’s your best way of keeping up with industry news?
I occasionally follow the podcast TWiET. The topics covered and open discussions are helpful to keep up to date with industry news.
What have you learned in the past year that you wish you had known when you started your career?
This past year of the pandemic has brought about maximum innovation in the tech community to keep our enterprises running efficiently even though we have been working remotely. I wish organizations had realized the value of providing flexibility to workers without having to be forced into it due to the current situation. I ended up having more time to spend on developing my own interests.
Inspiration & Insights
What are some of your favorite things to experience outside of work?
I enjoy a bit of gaming on my PlayStation to relax outside of office hours. I also enjoy traveling around the world and experiencing new cultures.
How–or where–do you find inspiration?
I like to read about science topics, especially physics, and the human mind. Its curiosity never ceases to amaze me. What we've achieved in the last century is a constant reminder that we can accomplish pretty much anything we put our minds to.
What advice would you give someone who is up and coming in your field of work?
Find the right mentor to guide you in the right direction. I was only scratching the surface of the APM space until I received the right advice and guidance on how to go about it. Having sound knowledge in development is also very helpful to do well in this field.