What is our primary use case?
We have many use cases for Aternity, but the key ones are that we use it to validate and deploy. One of our big initiatives was converting all of our users within the bank to Office 365. Aternity was heavily used for validation and performance monitoring of the Office 365 project.
How has it helped my organization?
We're now able to get a real measurement of user productivity. We're able to use this tool to reduce the mean time to resolution, whenever there is a problem with our end-users. It helps us speed up the time needed to address their issues. When there are any issues with their devices, we're able to use Aternity to very quickly figure out what the issues are, whether it's an issue with a workstation or an issue with a particular application.
Using this tool, we now have visibility, so detection, and the remediation that comes after it, are much faster now. That's instead of being blind, per se, without this tool.
The tool has a very good feature called Validate Application Change, which allows us to validate any changes to an application or infrastructure changes, or even a simple configuration change. It allows us to quickly measure the baseline and gives us a very nice before-and-after view. For example, suppose that prior to the change, the user-experience was two seconds. After the change, using the Validate feature, we can see that it got better and the user response-time is one second instead of two.
This feature helps us make decisions about the effects of changes in two ways. One is that we use it to validate whether a change should go ahead. For example, for our Office 365 migration, we used it to test and validate whether, if we were to convert users into the Microsoft 365 suite of tools, the application performance would be good or not. It helped us make a decision on whether to actually push it out and put it in production for everybody. That was heavily used during performance testing phase.
The second is that it gives us a way to validate whether a change was successful and meets our bank's current SLAs.
Using the solution we know what the full transaction experience or performance is like, how much time it's taking, and where any bottleneck is. If there is an issue with the backend, or there's an issue with the network, or the issue is with the client side or workstation, if the root cause resides in the client or workstation, it has the troubleshooting capability to specifically figure out what the root cause is.
What is most valuable?
The main feature, what we really like about Aternity, is that it can monitor the actual user experience, meaning their actual response times, volume, and when they did what.
Another key feature is with regard to the current situation with COVID. A lot of people are now working from home and Aternity has been a very good tool to monitor and measure the performance of the VPN.
Other features we use heavily are the WiFi analyzer, the Skype for Business analyzer, and the troubleshooting functionalities. We also use the Device Health quite religiously here for troubleshooting devices that are unhealthy, when we're talking about things like high CPU or memory consumption, or file system problems within the users' workstations.
What needs improvement?
When it comes to a lot of the features that I would want, they will tell you they are in their SaaS version, which we don't use. We are planning to move to the SaaS solution to get those features.
But the issue is how Aternity, as a company, works their roadmap. They put all the new features on the SaaS solution and that's where you get the latest and greatest stuff. But some of those features are not available for the on-premise users, which is what we are. Why not have those features available for on-prem users?
For how long have I used the solution?
We've been using Aternity for about six years. Our first engagement was about six years ago but in the last two years we have had more dedicated focus in using it on a larger scale, using one of their latest versions.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's very stable. We haven't had any downtime because of the tool.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Scaling it is very easy and intuitive. It's just a matter of acquiring a server. It's very well documented on their portal; how to scale and what all the numbers will be.
How are customer service and technical support?
Their technical support is very good. They're extremely knowledgeable about their product and the support has been great. Their responses are very timely and they'll fix the issues.
How was the initial setup?
From my end, the initial setup was very easy because we engaged their Professional Services to help us.
Our deployment took three days.
At a high level overview, our deployment strategy included acquiring the necessary servers based on Aternity's documentation. Aternity provided sizing consulting to review and make sure that we got the right hardware and sizing and capacity. Once that was acquired, it was just a matter of installing it in a test environment and then moving on to the production environment.
What about the implementation team?
Our experience with their Professional Services was very good.
What was our ROI?
We have definitely seen ROI in terms of cost savings. Implementation times and remediation times are all cost savings, when it comes to operational readiness and day-to-day operations.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The pricing is fair. Their salespeople are very good and they will work with you in terms of getting the best price for you.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at several other solutions. We picked Aternity because of ease of use, ease of setup, ease of configuration. Also a lot of this stuff is automated in the sense that once you install the agent, it's smart enough to measure and collect and monitor all sorts of stuff with the user's devices. With other products there is a lot manual set up and a lot of manual overhead to configure them, to get them to work right.
Not only was it the ease of use, but it collects and monitors a lot more metrics. It also provides a very flexible interface to do custom reports and monitor and customize internal applications, relatively easily.
What other advice do I have?
Have valid use cases defined, know what you want, and make sure that you talk with the Professional Services team and the product team. Get the demos, ask all your questions, and make sure that their solution will actually meet your needs and your use cases. The Aternity guys do a very good job and they're very upfront and honest with their feedback, regarding what their tool can or cannot do.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?