AppDynamics Offers Free APM Software To Remedy Glitchy ObamaCare System


As software problems continue to plague the ObamaCare rollout, one application performance management company has offered to donate its services to help. San Francisco-based AppDynamics announced Friday that it had offered the federal government use of its application software for free for three months to help iron out the glitches in the system.

Since its Oct. 1 implementation, the flagship Healthcare.gov site has experienced problems with connectivity and bugs. The issues were originally blamed on a traffic issue by the Department of Health and Human Services, with more than 4.7 million page views. However, the cause was later amended by federal officials, who attributed the glitch to software and server capacity problems.

While many tasks had been completed, there were many aspects of the website and support materials that were not ready for an October start date, a June 2013 Government Accountability Office study said. For example, "critical" tasks like final testing on the site had not yet been done, the study found.

[Related: Software Problems Cripple Federal Healthcare System Rollout]

That's where AppDynamics comes in, CEO Jyoti Bansal said.

"We definitely think that, the engineers and operations team there, they could use our software to get insights quickly, fix problems quickly, and that’s why we are offering it for free," said Bansal. "The federal government approach of buying software and looking at it is too long of a process, and we want to offer help that they need right now."

He said that the two main problems he sees with the government software are bottlenecks and buggy code, both of which could be fixed with application performance management software to pinpoint trouble spots and either fix or apply more resources to that area. He said that the government has added more hardware and servers to address the problem, but if the underlying software issues remain, then the code can't take advantage of the increased capacity.

Bansal said that there is no real visibility into what is going wrong with the site, which means there is no real way to see what needs to be fixed, and compared it to trying to fly a plane without any instruments.

"You can still fly it [without the instruments] but it's very difficult. If something goes wrong, you have no idea ... you won't even know which part of the engine is having a problem," Bansal said.

Bansal said that major consumer websites see more traffic than the healthcare sites like the websites used by AppDynamics, such as Netflix and Expedia.Those sites have had 10 or more years of experience building a large-scale, consumer-facing website and maintaining it, he said. The federal government does not have the same experience with this, which Bansal said probably played a part in its difficulties.

Bansal said he has already reached out to the federal government and also has offered it to state governments, as well, that are operating their own systems. At the time of publication, the Department of Health and Human Services had not replied to CRN's request for comment on the offer.

"We want to offer our help, and we can help have that in place as soon as possible," Bansal said.

PUBLISHED OCT. 11, 2013