What is most valuable?
The ability to deep dive into the root cause of any given issue has always been the most valuable feature. JAVA and .NET applications are black boxes without any sort of monitoring. Being able to determine which component is causing the issue helps to pinpoint the issue and allows the triage teams to focus on the actual component causing the issue. The feature that helps the most in the triage is the transaction trace component. The transaction trace feature allows us to look all the components that are called during a particular transaction.
How has it helped my organization?
When there is an outage or performance issue, the on-call teams are called to a conference line where we can triage the issue. Before APM was used, these calls would require all areas of support, which include network, server team, middleware, database and any other areas of expertise. Now, the Incident Management team has a set of APM dashboards that allow them to narrow down the issue and call the specific team(s) to the bridge call. One of the first questions that is asked now on the bridge calls is, “What does APM show?” For example, if it was a database issue, we can tell which query or stored procedure is having the issue.
What needs improvement?
One of the areas that I think needs improvement is the central management of the agents. I know that CA has started working toward this in its current releases with APM Command Center, but it still has a long way to go. One of the hardest things about the upgrades is upgrading all of the agents.
Another thing that is difficult is when you need to make a configuration change to a set of properties, it has to be done manually.
I believe all these things are on the future road map of the product, but right now they are a major hurdle for us.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have used this product personally for over 15 years. I have used it at three different companies which include a utility company, banking institution and a healthcare insurance company. The current company that I work for has used it for over eight years, and we recently upgraded to v10.1.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
There have been no issues with the deployment.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The overall stability of the product is very good. The only time I normally see issues is right after an upgrade. Sometimes a few tweaks are necessary to stabilize everything after an upgrade. It might require a small change to the EM configuration or an agent configuration change. This is normally because of a new feature that was introduced.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We have not had any issues with scalability. We have been able to add Collectors as needed to support the growing number of agents that we support. I think in comparison to some other APM users we have a pretty small footprint. We have a staging and production environment. Each environment has one MOM and seven collectors with about 400 agents.
How are customer service and technical support?
The level of support has been like a rollercoaster ride. Early on when it was owned by Wily, the service was great, but right after the purchase by CA it when downhill. I generally try not to go to support unless I have to, but I must say over the past six months, it has improved greatly. My cases have been handled very well and escalated to higher-level engineers when necessary.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
There was nothing in place previously.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was very straightforward. We only had three collectors with only about 120 agents. When we first starting using the tool, we only used the Introscope component. Overtime, we added the CEM and Synthetic Monitoring tool. So it got more complex over time but at each step we had the right support from CA to help us through the difficult parts.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I personally don’t deal with the pricing and licensing, so I don’t have anything to offer here.
What other advice do I have?
It is a great product but not quite perfect. My advice would to be make sure you have a champion on the user side. It is a hard sell in my opinion if you don’t have someone from the application support side that will help sell the tool. It doesn’t do anyone any good if you have a monitoring tool and no one uses it.