In March, we want to present and highlight one of our valued Community members: Matthias Dillier.
For almost 30 years his passion for technology evolved and grew as his passion for music. Consistency, desire to learn, sharing knowledge this is what fuels Matthias and help him develop every day. We invite you to read more and get to know @matthias_dillie better.
Can you tell a little bit about your professional life? Where do you work and what do you do in your job?
I studied mathematics together with informatics and philosophy at the University of Zurich. After my studies, I quite soon worked as an IT specialist, as at this time, you very soon were a specialist when you had some deeper understanding of computers and programming. I now work for more than 30 years in IT. In the beginning, I was an IT allrounder responsible for budget, hardware and software, programming and system administration, PCs, Sun Solaris workstations, printers, networks, and so on. Then I mainly was working in statistics using SAS and publishing with FrameMaker and I was programming solutions to directly generate print-ready tables and graphs for publications.
For 15 years now I work at the CSS, one of the leading health insurance companies in Switzerland, located in Luzern in the center of Switzerland. In the CSS, I started as a software architect and then switched to the operations department as a system specialist. We have our own software development teams, which makes the work as an IT professional at CSS very interesting. We have a distributed software landscape with a service-oriented architecture using java application servers and we are going in the direction of modern, container-based architectures with Kubernetes and using DevOps principles. My responsibilities are in the field of monitoring and problem analysis and the automation of related tasks.
What is your story with Dynatrace? Why did you start using our platform and for what project?
We started using Dynatrace at CSS quite some time ago in 2007 with Dynatrace 2.0 and I was involved in the installation, configuration, and internal instruction from the beginning. Dynatrace at this time was a rather small company in Austria with its headquarter in Linz. In 2009, Bernd Greifeneder visited our CSS office in Luzern to explain to the management and our team the planned further development of the Dynatrace software. Once I participated together with a colleague from CSS a Dynatrace course in Linz. That was a really good experience. We learned a lot and met all the helpful and friendly Dynatracers that had to do a lot to answer all my many questions then. I also visited several Dynatrace conferences in Munich and Zurich where I always met interesting people and could learn many interesting things.
As an early user, I saw the whole way of Dynatrace to Compuware, AppMon and back to Dynatrace and from Linz to an international company with the headquarter in the USA. In 2020 we switched from AppMon to the new Dynatrace and we now use Dynatrace to a greater extent as a monitoring tool too. We also are using Dynatrace synthetic to monitor our website from outside in the cloud.
In the first years, in CSS we used Dynatrace, especially in the troubleshooting and problem analysis area, where it always was a really helpful tool. We also used it to monitor the performance and collect system metrics during our load and performance tests. An important project was the analysis of a group of batch processes to identify the performance bottlenecks and then to initiate optimizations.
Have you ever had any interesting use case for the Dynatrace platform that you found out to be particularly intriguing? Could you tell us about it?
There have been many use cases, where Dynatrace helped us to solve problems in our IT landscape. AppMon did a really good job to help us identify the root cause of memory problems which led to OutOfMemoryErrors in our java application servers.
We also could solve many performance problems. Once for example, we could identify a performance problem in a library that was used in our JEE application servers. We could clearly show the root cause of the problem to the vendor of the server which then provided a software patch to solve the problem. Without Dynatrace we hardly would have found the reason of the problem.
Now with the new Dynatrace, it helps us a lot, that we see the connection between performance problems in our monitored servers and applications to problems in the underlying ESX servers when they run into CPU saturation or memory swapping.
To configure Dynatrace, I use Monaco whenever it is possible to automate the configuration of all our environments. For dashboards, I also use a template engine as a kind of preprocessor to generate dashboard definitions based on variables for the different environments. This allows e.g. the generation of different numbers of tiles in the dashboards, see my community post: https://community.dynatrace.com/t5/Dynatrace-tips/Copy-dashboards-between-environments/m-p/180693/hi...
What brought you to our Community? Why do you think it’s worth being a part of the Dynatrace Community? Why do you contribute to the Community?
Not only regarding the configuration of Dynatrace but to facilitate the usage of Dynatrace as well. I also often use the possibility to add a request for enhancement to give input, where the software from my point of view could be improved. There are a lot of product ideas (RFEs) but I have the impression, that they are an important input for the further development of Dynatrace.
I think such user communities are an important knowledge source and a place to discuss and help each other to use software maybe in the field of commercial or open-source software. I very often can benefit from the Community, and I also try to give something back by answering questions and helping other people.
And how about your life outside IT – what is your biggest passion?
Now, as my youngest daughter is 19, there is more time for other things than the family and my work at CSS. My biggest passion is music. As a saxophone player, I play tenor and soprano. I love the old vintage instruments, their special sound and look and I’m a proud player of a King Super 20 tenor sax from 1952. Full pearls and really a pearl and a great instrument. I mostly play free improvised music. I have a trio, the MaMaRe trio, and we play concerts from time to time. See e.g.: https://neo.mx3.ch/mamaretrio
Another important project for me is a theatre project in our city. For many years now, this project exists, and the next production is on the way for autumn 2022. It was always a very special experience to build a theatre project from scratch often with our whole family involved and with many friends from different places. There I play in the orchestra, and I also maintain the website: https://www.theaterimpaul.ch/
It would also be great if you could share with us your favorite movie, song and/or a book. Let other Community members discover something new and interesting to watch/hear/read.
I have many interests in music, literature, movies, and philosophy, so it is difficult to pick a favorite. A book I red last year that I can recommend is: Im Grunde gut: Eine neue Geschichte der Menschheit. Rutger Bregmann (original: De meeste mensen deugen.) A book that gives hope for the future. I think, there’s no translation to English yet, sorry.
As I wrote this article on 24. February 2022, I would like to add a recommendation for a song as one example of many songs written in the same spirit: ‘Give Peace a Chance’ by John Lennon.
Matthias, you are a talented and open-minded person. After sharing your story with us, we understand how you were able to grow and how you still can perform in the best way. You develop every day not only by sharing your knowledge and experience with others but with a beautiful smile as well 😊!