Vivy, a leading German healthcare technology company with experience in health, data security, design, and usability, has developed a virtual health assistant. Available for iOS and Android, this secure mobile app empowers its users to take charge of their own health, with anywhere, anytime access. Think of it as your digital health record giving you access to your personal patient information as well as allowing you to communicate with your doctors and insurance providers. Being that Vivy is an intermediary between a patient and their healthcare providers, it is vital that the application is always available.
To meet this high bar, Vivy runs cloud-native, microservices-based applications. Vivy’s virtual health assistant platform runs within an AWS EC2 environment backed by 9 EC2 hosts. Running around 40 containerized microservices along with Kafka on top of AWS EC2. Using cloud infrastructure allows Vivy to operate efficiently with a relatively small team of developers.
Slow services cannot be tolerated
Vivy’s success depends upon a seamless experience for its customers. Whether it’s slow requests or buggy services, Vivy cannot afford a lag in the time it takes for data to reach their 120,000 users. These lofty expectations are not easily met as the huge volumes of data they’re dealing with makes it difficult to identify capacity needs without engaging in time-consuming, manual processes. As the application continued to gain popularity, Vivy’s developers realized that some services were running slowly. This simple issue of bottlenecks, caused by overly frequent database calls, was invisible without proper Application Performance Monitoring (APM). With frequent changes and deployments, Vivy needed to stabilize and optimize their application services. That’s when they turned to Instana.
Receive actionable insights with automatic tracing and dependency mapping
Vivy’s developers have had past experience with Datadog, New Relic, and various open-source tools so when they needed to find a proper solution that could handle the complexities of monitoring containerized applications with as little effort as possible, Instana became the obvious choice.
“Instana was fast and easy to deploy, and with zero configuration it was able to discover all of our services and their corresponding dependencies.”– Kirill Merkushev, Head of Backend at Vivy
With Instana in place, all of Vivy’s components and services along with their dependencies are automatically discovered and every request is traced end-to-end. Vivy was able to eliminate manual processes and now has full visibility into their applications and services with precise information about service dependencies, stack traces per service, and request timings of each individual service.
Reduced MTTR by 2/3
With Vivy’s customers’ need for always-on, on-demand mobile access, Vivy can’t afford for their application or services to be slow or down for any given period of time.
“In my own past experience before Instana, if a bug slipped into production it could take up to 3 days to find the root cause and permanently fix the flaky or tricky issue. With Instana, we’re immediately notified with the root cause, and we can resolve the problem in a third of the time or less for the same issues.”
With Instana’s Automatic Root Cause analysis, anytime there is a slow service or problematic request, a single incident is raised that includes all of the corresponding events along with the identification of the most likely root cause. Armed with this actionable data, Vivy’s engineers are quickly able to assess the situation and resolve issues without hesitation.
Custom visualization of all trace and metric data
Vivy’s developers are able to drill into the applications and services that they’re responsible for to quickly see where potential problems lie. By leveraging Instana’s Application Perspectives, Vivy’s developers have an easy way to analyze all of the data that is important to them, helping them optimize their applications for better end-user experiences. With Application Perspectives, Vivy’s developers can quickly analyze real-time distributed traces, use summary dashboards to help them find issues and regressions, and share the dashboards with compliance managers who need to see it. In addition to Application Perspectives, Vivy also uses Instana’s Grafana plugin to create custom dashboards that provide predictive analytics. With these two options, Vivy is able to maximize the value of their collected data, whether through the Instana UI or by using Grafana. They now see the correlation of all services, metrics, KPIs, and traces instantaneously, and can automatically find the root cause of service issues.
Keeping personal health data private
Being that Vivy deals with sensitive health care data, it is vital that they stay compliant with all applicable data privacy laws. Vivy’s application handles an assortment of sensitive data from medical records to financial information. As such, it’s Vivy’s top priority to protect ALL data from unauthorized third-party access. By using end to end encryption technology and complying to GDPR compliant privacy policies, Vivy ensures that only the user has access to their data. In addition to this, Vivy must ensure they’re not sending any sensitive identifiable information to third-party tools. Vivy has been able to easily configure Instana and parse their data to ensure they are meeting all privacy compliance needs, while still getting the value they need from Instana’s automatic monitoring capabilities. Instana has also made it easier for Vivy to know when hackers are trying to access patient data.
“Since Instana traces all requests through the Vivy infrastructure, we’re able to instantly see when we get a surge in requests. With Instana we’re able to quickly decipher if the spike is caused by errors or by hackers.”
Instana is designed to monitor highly dynamic and complex containerized microservices-based applications. With nearly no time invested, Instana was able to trace all application requests, understand service dependencies, and correlate events so Vivy could take action on degradation of service. When Kirill was asked what advice he had for other mobile application developers, he replied,
“Don’t waste your time building, setting up, or maintaining your own tools. Instana gives us peace of mind, and the outcome of using Instana is very satisfied users of our virtual health assistant.”