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Daniel Odievich edited this page Oct 19, 2019 · 179 revisions

Introduction

AppDynamics provides a rich source of information about your monitored applications, including the performance of individual business activities, dependency flow between application components, and details on every business transaction in an instrumented environment. We provide a rich toolkit for turning the vast corpus of data captured by AppDynamics into valuable insights.

AppDynamics DEXTER (Data Extraction and Enhanced Reporting) can make this process even faster and simpler. DEXTER provides new ways to unlock the data stored in the AppDynamics platform. You can analyze this information in a number of data warehousing and visualization applications, and combine it with your own data to generate customized reports.

You can see the reports from our demo environments for yourself from here.

AppDynamics DEXTER produces this schema:

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The schema picture is also available as Visio from Releases.

Walkthrough

This 3 part walkthrough provides introduction into features and capabilities of AppDynamics DEXTER.

Part 1 - Entities, Metrics and Snapshots Visualizations

In Walkthrough Part 1, we discover how Metrics, Events and Snapshots extracted from the AppDynamics Platform become available for offline data mining and archival use.

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Part 2 - Data Mining Snapshots

In Walkthrough Part 2, we dig deep into application performance analysis with Snapshot data using data mining and visual data analysis tools.

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Part 3 - Advanced Snapshot and Exit Call Exploration

In Walkthrough Part 3, we look at the more advanced reports that allow you to focus on your application performance and application configuration utilizing Flame Graphs, Sankey flow diagrams and visual data analysis tools.

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Get Started

Install Application

Download latest release from Releases section, (AppDynamics.DEXTER.#.#.#.#.zip)

Unzip to some location, for example, C:\AppDynamics\DEXTER or /home/yourusername/DEXTER.

Credentials

You will need AppDynamics Internal account to use with DEXTER.

Only AppDynamics authentication is supported. LDAP or SAML credentials can not be used.

The account must have at least READ-level access to the APM Applications and other components that you need.

For Configuration, Controller Settings and User RBAC inventory reports, you will need Account Owner higher-level permissions to retrieve that data.

If the user you choose does not have required rights, AppDynamics DEXTER will simply not render those reports but should continue to run.

Job File

Specify data to operate on with Job File. Review some of the Job File Examples.

The template job file is called DefaultJob.json. Make a copy of it and modify according to your needs using your favorite text editor.

Alternatively, create the Job File using DEXTER-UI visual tool.

You can also watch this training video:

AppDynamics DEXTER - How to Create Job File

Run Application

DEXTER can run on Windows, Mac or Linux.

It uses .NET Framework and can run with either .NET Full Framework 4.7.2 or .NET Core Framework 2.2.

Run on Windows

When running on Windows, you can choose to run version built using either .NET Full or .NET Core.

For .NET Full framework version (full-win) or .NET Core portable version (core), make sure those frameworks are installed on your OS.

For .NET Core self-contained version (core-win), no additional installations are necessary because .NET Core runtime is included with application.

Framework Folder Command
.NET Full 4.7.2
Install
full-win full-win\AppDynamics.Dexter.exe --job-file MyJob.json
.NET Core 3.0
Install, Prerequisites
core dotnet core\AppDynamics.Dexter.dll --job-file MyJob.json
.NET Core 3.0 self-contained core-win core-win\AppDynamics.Dexter.exe --job-file MyJob.json

Run on Mac OS

When running on Mac, you can choose between version using already installed .NET Core framework or the self-contained option.

For .NET Core portable version (core), make sure .NET Core Framework is installed on your OS.

For .NET Core self-contained version (core-osx), no additional installations are necessary because .NET Core runtime is included with application.

Framework Folder Command
.NET Core 3.0
Install, Prerequisites
core dotnet core/AppDynamics.Dexter.dll --job-file MyJob.json
.NET Core 3.0 self-contained core-osx core-osx/AppDynamics.Dexter --job-file MyJob.json

Run on Linux

When running on Linux, you can choose between version using already installed .NET Core framework or the self-contained option.

For .NET Core portable version (core), make sure .NET Core Framework is installed on your OS.

For .NET Core self-contained version (core-linux), no additional installations are necessary because .NET Core runtime is included with application.

Framework Folder Command
.NET Core 3.0
Install, Prerequisites
core dotnet core/AppDynamics.Dexter.dll --job-file MyJob.json
.NET Core 3.0 self-contained core-linux core-linux/AppDynamics.Dexter --job-file MyJob.json

Proxy

If you are behind corporate proxy, configure Proxy Settings.

Advanced Configuration

Understand which metrics are extracted by default and add your own Metric Sets to extract more.

Review all available Command Line Parameters.

Understand execution sequence in Phases and Job Steps.

Stop and restart the job at any time and any step using Restart Job From Specific Step.

Understand Durations of Job Steps.

Review Controller Impact.

Output Folder Structure

AppDynamics DEXTER outputs data into Output folder specified in -o/--outputfolder command-line parameter. By default, output folder is:

  • "C:\AppD.Dexter.Out" is assumed on Windows
  • "%HOME%\AppD.Dexter.Out" is assumed on Mac and Linux

For example, if you specified myextract.json, the Output folder is C:\AppD.Dexter.Out\myextract.

Data from Controller that is extracted during Extract phase is saved to [Output]\Data folder.

Converted data that is produced during Index phase is saved to [Output]\Index folder.

Final CSV files and Excel reports that are produced during Report are saved to [Output]\Report folder

Report Folder Contents Full Size

There is a lot of file I/O happening in the Output folder. Remove the Output folder from any Antivirus monitoring, otherwise the Extraction and Indexing is going to be slower.

Excel Report Descriptions

Use Office 2013/2016/2019/365 or Office Online to open the Excel reports. You will be presented with various tables and Pivot Tables.

Google Sheets can handle these spreadsheets but not particularly well. You can easily load CSV files instead.

Report Image Purpose
Detected APM Entities
Click to View Video
AppDynamics DEXTER - Detected APM Entities
Detected APM Entities report shows information about each and every detected Entity (Application, Tier, Node, Business Transaction, Backend, Service Endpoint, Errors and Information Point) in APM Applications
Detected SIM Entities Detected SIM Entities report shows information about each and every detected Entity (Tier, Node, Machine, Network Adapter, CPU, Disk, Container and Process) in SIM Applications
Detected DB Entities Detected DB Entities report shows information about each and every detected Entity (Collector Definitions, Collectors, Queries, Users, Sessions, Blocking Sessions, Clients, Databases, Modules, Programs, Wait States and Related Business Transactions) in DB Collectors
Detected WEB Entities Detected WEB Entities report shows information about each and every detected Entity (Pages, AJAX Requests, Virtual Pages, Resources and Geolocations) in WEB Applications
Detected MOBILE Entities Detected WEB Entities report shows information about each and every detected Entity (Network Requests, Correlated Business Transactions) in MOBILE Applications
Detected BIQ Entities Detected WEB Entities report shows information about each and every detected Entity (Searches, Widgets, Saved Metrics, Business Journeys, Experience Levels, Schemas and Fields) in BIQ Applications
Entity Metrics
Click to View Video
AppDynamics DEXTER - Entity Metrics
Entity Metrics report shows summary and graphs for all Metrics for each and every detected Entity (Application, Tier, Node, Business Transaction, Backend, Service Endpoint, Errors and Information Point)in APM Applications
Entity Metric Graphs
Click to View Video
AppDynamics DEXTER - Entity Metrics
Entity Metric Graphs report combines information about detected Entities with their Metric data to show all entities with activity in the requested time ranges, and provides visual graphs of all of the metrics that were requested
Events and Health Rule Violations Events report provides information about Events and Health Rule Violations in the requested time range in all Applications, as well as Controller Notifications and Audit Log events
Entity Details
Click to View Video
AppDynamics DEXTER - Entity Details
Entity Details report provides summary view into all activity that affected this Entity, including Timeline view
Snapshots
Click to View Video
AppDynamics DEXTER - Snapshots
Snapshots report provides information about Snapshots, Segments, Exit Calls, traversed Service Endpoints and Business Data for all Snapshots
Snapshot Method Calls
Click to View Video
AppDynamics DEXTER - Snapshot Method Calls
Snapshot Method Calls report provides information about Snapshot Call Graphs for all Snapshots
Configuration
Click to View Video
AppDynamics DEXTER - Configuration
Configuration report provides information about Controller Settings and Application configuration, as well as comparison between each of the rules in all Applications
Users and Permissions Users, Groups, Roles and Permissions report shows information about each and every security entity (User, Group, Role and Permission) and their relationship in Controller
Dashboards Dashboards report provides information about Dashboard, their Widgets and Time Series in Controller

Power BI Report Descriptions

AppDynamics DEXTER includes templates for Microsoft PowerBI, which is a great visual analytics tool that is free for local desktop use on Windows workstations.

PowerBI report templates are provided with AppDynamics DEXTER in PowerBITemplates folder.

Available PowerBI Templates Full Size

To create a PowerBI report with the data, open PowerBI report template (*.pbit file) and provide path to the [Output]\Report folder when prompted.

Specify Path to Report Data Full Size

You can then save resulting the resulting report as *.pbix file.

PowerBI templates are built with en-US locale and templates do not automatically adjust to your machine’s locale. This can cause errors during load of data as the date parsing gets confused. If you encounter this, accept the errors, go to File\Options and Settings\Options\Current File\Regional Settings and set the drop-down to you locale. Then rerun all the queries (Refresh all data sources) and the errors should go away.

Report Image Purpose
Detected APM Entities Detected Entities report offers interactive visual exploration of detected entity data
Detected DB Entities Detected DB Entities report offers interactive visual exploration of all Collectors and Queries
Entity Metrics Entity Metrics report offers interactive visual exploration of CPM, ART and EPM metrics
Entity Flowmaps Entity Flowmaps report shows interactive visuals for Flow Maps of Applications, Tiers, Nodes, Business Transactions and Backends using flow diagrams
Events and Health Rule Violations Events report offers interactive visual exploration of Event and Health Rule Violation data
Snapshots Snapshots report offers interactive visual exploration of all Snapshot data
Snapshot Method Calls Snapshot Method Calls report offers interactive visual exploration of all Snapshot Call Graphs

Other Report Descriptions

Report Image Purpose
Flame Graph and Chart
Click to View Video
AppDynamics DEXTER - Flame Graphs
Flame Graph and Flame Chart report provides single-pane visualization of all Call Graphs in all Snapshots

Getting Support

Support is provided by the author. Contact me via GitHub or at "daniel.odievich at appdynamics.com"

Please provide your job file and include your Log Files.

You can also create a bug report in Issues area.

Future Roadmap

Here are the things I am planning on adding to future versions of AppDynamics DEXTER:

  • Node JVM properties extract (4.4 only because before that it was all in Flash) Completed in 1.0.0.27

  • Configuration comparison report of the selected dataset (like https://github.com/Appdynamics/ConfigurationComparer only better) Completed in 1.0.0.29

  • Extraction and reports on Server Visibility metadata and maybe metrics - Completed in 1.0.0.32

  • Better storage and faster speed of processing of Snapshots during Extraction and Indexing phase - Completed in 1.0.0.33

  • Extraction and Reports on Database Monitoring - completed in 1.0.0.35

  • Controller Audit log and correlation with other events - completed in 1.0.0.36

  • List of agents enabled for Dev Mode - completed in 1.0.0.36

  • Report on RBAC (User, Group and Role) configuration - completed in 1.0.0.36

  • Extraction and reports on Web and Mobile End User Monitoring metadata and metrics - completed in 1.2.37.0

  • Extraction and reports on Analytics metadata and metrics - completed in 1.2.37.0

  • Reports on Dashboards - completed in 1.2.37.0

  • All application type report on Policies, Alerts and Health Rules - completed in 1.2.37.0

  • HTTP and Email templates configuration Report - completed in 1.2.37.0

  • Reports on Deployed Licenses and License Keys - completed in 1.2.39.0, removed in 1.2.41.x

  • Agent availability report - completed in 1.2.39.0

  • Compare states report - comparing two exports of data and showing differences in Configuration and Performance - working on this now

  • Health check details report, including full assessment of entities, metrics and configuration in single document

  • Critical Maturity Assessment Scorecard (Critical MASS) report, including assessment of configuration state and suggestions to improve it

  • Tableau visual analytics reports, similar to those already available for PowerBI

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