It goes without saying that 2020 was a difficult year for businesses around the world. One of the hardest-hit industries was fitness studios, where strict capacity and distancing restrictions made it near impossible for many establishments to stay open. While many see this as an insurmountable trial, Daxko saw this as an opportunity to step up to the plate.

Daxko is a SaaS platform that allows gyms and studios to manage their center’s daily operations by building products that allow studios to process customer data, add bookable classes to a calendar, pay employees, and even lock the doors at night. When the pandemic hit, Daxko’s customers were one of the first to feel the effects of sweeping regulations, causing many to shut down. Daxko decided they needed to help their customers adapt.

Ed McLain, Daxko’s Principal System Architect, is on the Technical Operations team and oversees the architecture of their backend systems across all of their products. By March 2020, Daxko’s product team had to put a full stop to their roadmaps to figure out where their team would be most valuable during this time. They replanned their roadmap to focus on features, functionality, and products that better aligned towards their customer’s new needs.

Separate from the pandemic, Daxko had acquired nine companies in an effort to boost their product portfolio and technology. Each acquisition arrives to them built in its own infrastructure with its own development lifecycle. With new functionality up and running, and a stream of acquisitions under their belt, their biggest challenge was knowing the health of their products and whether they were operational.

The team runs 27 AWS accounts across production and non-production environments for all of their different products. In addition to their AWS environments, they also operate four different data centers. It doesn’t help that their products are written in a variety of languages, on a multitude of platforms, by many different teams of developers from all around the globe.

Daxko’s engineering team needed visibility into their newly acquired products, while also being able to keep their existing products operational during a crucial year for their customers. Downtime could mean the difference between their customers’ users booking a class with them or with a competitor.

While the team already had a monitoring tool in use, New Relic, it was proving to be the Achilles heel of their entire process. One of their biggest complaints was the constant back and forth on the cost of New Relic, which was complicated and rose depending on how many team members needed access or how many end-user visits they were going to have and how much data they needed to capture.

Daxko knew it was time to find a new APM tool to simplify their team’s efforts and allow them to scale without breaking the bank. Daxko looked into tools such as Dynatrace and AppDynamics, but ultimately signed the dotted line with Instana. From the moment they started a trial with Instana, they realized the tremendous differences between Instana and New Relic.

  • The first was the affordable, transparent and simple pricing structure that allowed their team to grow without their APM bill growing with it.
  • The second was the immediate access to all of Instana’s features. All the tools they needed, like tracing, were included right from the start. There were no pricey upgrades to get access to crucial tools.
  • The third was the lightning-fast implementation and discovery of their applications. They were used to taking days to configure monitoring tools, but with Instana they were able to get full visibility in the amount of time it takes to cook a frozen pizza. Quick and easy implementation is always important, but even more so during a pandemic when quick deployments could mean the difference between a studio being open or not.


We had Instana integrated and up and running in 15 or 20 minutes and the team started integrating release metrics and working with custom metric integration, they were able to dig into the dashboards to see how the end users were using it and see how the backend systems were functioning.” – Ed McLain, Principal System Architect at Daxko

Having Instana allowed Daxko to more easily integrate acquisitions into their product. These quick integrations meant more crucial features were available quicker, allowing their customers to stay on top of pandemic-era changes. None of these features were originally on 2020’s product roadmap but were quickly developed due to the team’s ability to pivot for the needs of their customers during unprecedented times. Having Instana as their Observability partner helped Daxko release these features quicker, give thorough visibility into issues to minimize downtime, and allowed the team to continue scaling without additional vendor headaches. We would call this a win for the team.