How has it helped my organization?
The data we have collected from monitored applications has shown that the problems we thought we were having were actually completely different in nature. We have been able to pinpoint performance issues related to certain activities, and because the monitor-writing tools are so extensible, we’ve been able to break activities down and see exactly which part is causing bottlenecks. We can then take that information to the app teams to discuss what can be done to make things better (i.e., optimize the queries that certain actions initiate, etc.).
What is most valuable?
The data collected by the agents on each end point is the most valuable feature for us. There is so much valuable information that the agent can send back to the Aternity platform, and even though the dashboards that come out of the box with the installation aren’t always the most intuitive, we have been able to use the data itself for our own custom visualizations and reporting.
What needs improvement?
The dashboards and navigatability of the platform could use improvement. It often takes five or six clicks to drill down to exactly what you want to see, but many of our stakeholder groups have refused to use the tool because they perceive it as “too cumbersome” to get the information they need. As a Tableau developer myself, I’ve been able to provide certain customizations that have helped, but overall this is the biggest area of opportunity for improvement that I see with Aternity.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We had no issues with stability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
This question isn't really applicable to us. We purchased 1500 licenses and currently don't even use 1/3 of those.
How are customer service and technical support?
Customer service is the best I have ever encountered from a software vendor. They're responsive, courteous, thorough, and share our sense of urgency in getting issues resolved.
I'd rate technical support through the roof. There was one issue we were having with a certain .dll file that wasn’t working properly in our Citrix environment. It took over a month to finally reach resolution (it turned out we have some settings configured incorrectly within Citrix), and during that time the support team thoroughly and diligently investigated every piece of information we sent. They also connected us directly with the R&D department, who spent an hour with us doing a screen share, looking in our environment and explaining exactly why this problem was happening, and proposing several solutions (one of which worked, and we were able to fix it). They were professional, friendly, and knew their stuff!
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Yes – we used CitraTest, which was a tool that allows you to generate and conduct synthetic transactions on a schedule. Tools like this have their place, but it wasn’t accomplishing what we really needed, which was to understand actual user experience and pain points. Additionally, this particular tool didn’t work the way the documentation stated, and their support team was rude, condescending, and actually in denial of the issues (even though I provided screen shots, timestamps, detailed documentation, etc.).
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was mostly straightforward. The Citrix setup was a little more complicated, but that was partly because our Citrix admin left in the middle of the process and hadn’t completed all of the pre-installation checks.
What about the implementation team?
We implemented it in-house. An implementation engineer from Aternity came and spent four days with us, and we installed and implemented together. Then our team handled it from there.
What was our ROI?
I’m honestly not sure and I don’t know how we would even quantify that, because the process of analyzing performance has been so disorganized and touched by so many hands. We’ve had different tools, different teams, and no real protocol for handling any of it. But Aternity is helping a lot with that end of it.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I advise that you buy more endpoints than you think you need, unless you’re already buying enough for the entire organization. One point of frustration for me has been the fact that we are only collecting a sample of data, and I’m not convinced that it’s completely representative of all problems a user could have. As for pricing, our management squeezed Aternity pretty hard on the pricing, in my opinion a little too much. I advise negotiating for sure, but I do think it left kind of a sour taste in Aternity’s mouth that we were being so pushy despite the fact that we were only purchasing a small number of licenses.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We didn’t – we did a cursory search for other tools to vet, but couldn’t find anything else that did what Aternity does, so we decided to test only that one.
What other advice do I have?
Do it. You won’t regret it. And when you do it, make sure there’s someone in-house who is excited and willing to learn the product inside and out, because you will have SUCH a better experience with implementation and analysis.