Keeping business strong through unprecedented change
Daxko uses IBM Instana Observability to manage rapid change and help fitness studios through the pandemic
Experience IBM Instana Observability
Women working out with hand weights in fitness gym

The COVID-19 pandemic posed major challenges to businesses around the world, particularly those that depend on in-person business. Fitness studios and gyms, of course, were hit hard. Strict capacity and distancing restrictions made it nearly impossible for many establishments to stay open.

Daxko saw the challenges up close. Daxko is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for comprehensive fitness center management. When the pandemic hit, Daxko’s customers were some of the first organizations to feel the effects of sweeping regulations. Daxko knew it needed to help its customers adapt.

Ed McLain, Daxko’s Principal System Architect, is on the Technical Operations team and oversees the architecture of the company’s back-end systems across all of its products. By March 2020, Daxko’s product team had to put a full stop to their roadmaps to figure out how the team could be most valuable during this time. They replanned the roadmaps to focus on features, functionality and products that better aligned with customers’ new needs.

In addition, Daxko had recently completed nine separate acquisitions to expand its product portfolio and technology. Each acquisition had its own infrastructure and development lifecycle.

With new functionality up and running, and a dramatically expanded, heterogeneous IT landscape, Daxko’s biggest challenge was tracking the health and performance of its products.

Daxko solutions run in a hybrid cloud environment comprising four data centers and 27 Amazon Web Services (AWS) accounts across production and non-production environments. The solutions are written in a variety of languages, on a multitude of platforms, by many different teams of developers from around the globe.

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Rapid Set Ups


Daxko had Instana integrated and up and running in 15–20

Instana really fits in that sweet spot ... It’s not as expensive as the alternatives, but you’re getting a lot more back from it. So you’re able get a high value proposition out of it. Ed McLain Principal System Architect Daxko, LLC

Daxko’s engineering team needed consistent visibility across all of it to keep the solutions operational during a crucial year for customers. Downtime could mean the difference between customers’ users booking a class with them or with a competitor.

While the team already had a monitoring tool in use, it was proving to be the Achilles’ heel of the entire process. One of the biggest complaints about the tool was constant back and forth on the cost, which was complicated and rose depending on how many team members needed access or how many end-user visits there would be and how much data needed to be captured.

Simplicity, speed and full visibility

Daxko knew it was time to find a new application performance management (APM) tool to simplify the team’s efforts and allow them to scale without breaking the bank. Daxko looked into tools such as Dynatrace and AppDynamics, but ultimately chose IBM Instana® Observability. From the moment the team started a trial with Instana, they realized the tremendous differences between Instana and their existing solution.

The first was the affordable, transparent and simple pricing structure that allowed the team to grow without the APM bill growing with it.

The second was the immediate access to all of Instana’s features. All the tools the team 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 applications. The Daxko team was used to taking days to configure monitoring tools, but with Instana they were able to get full visibility in minutes. 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. Ed McLain Principal System Architect Daxko, LLC
Minimizing downtime, maximizing value

“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,” says McLain.

Having Instana allowed Daxko to more easily integrate acquisitions into its products. These quick integrations meant more crucial features were available quicker, allowing 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 customers during unprecedented times.

Having Instana as its observability partner helped Daxko release these features quicker, gain thorough visibility into issues to minimize downtime, and continue scaling without additional vendor headaches.

Daxko, LLC logo
About Daxko, LLC

Daxko (link resides outside of develops software that allows health and wellness centers to manage daily operations, including processing customer data, managing class schedules and bookings, paying employees, and even locking the doors at night. Daxko serves approximately 16,000 facilities in 140 countries. It is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, in the US.

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Produced in the United States of America, September 2021.

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