What is most valuable?
A lot of people, when they first started looking at the tool, started immediately jumping in and looking at the data masking, the data subsetting that it can do, and it works fantastically to help with the compliance issues for masking their data. That's a very powerful aspect of the tool.
But the part I found the best success in is actually the data generation features. In really investing into that concept of generating data from the get-go, we can get rid of any of those concerns right off the bat, since we know it's all made-up data in the first place.
We can fulfill the request of any team to very succinct and specific requirements for them each time. When I look at it as a whole, it's that data generation aspect that really is the big win for me.
How has it helped my organization?
When I look at the return on investment, there are not only huge financial gains on it. In fact, when I recently ran the numbers, we had about $1.1 million in savings on just the financials from 2016 alone. What it came down to is, when we started creating our data using Test Data Manager, we reduced our hours used by about 11,800 in 2016. That's real time. That's a significant, tangible benefit to the company.
When you think about it, that's somewhere around six employees that you've now saved; let alone, you have the chance to focus on all the different testing features, instead of having them worrying about where they're going to get their test data from.
What needs improvement?
It's cool that right now with this tool, they're doing a lot of things to continuously improve it. I think Test Data Management as a strategy across the whole organization, has really picked up a lot of momentum, and CA’s been intelligent to say, "We have a really great product here, and we can continue to evolve it."
Right now, they're taking everything and taking it from a desktop client and moving it into a web portal. I think there's going to be a lot of flexibility in that. If I was going to look at one thing that I am hoping they are going to improve on is – it is a great database tool – I'm not always sure about the programmatic abilities of it. Moreover, specifically, it's great in terms of referential integrity across multiple systems, multiple tables, but I do find a couple of limitations every now and then, because of trying to maintain that referential integrity; that I have to go in and try to manually make sure I want to break things.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've been using it for about two-and-a-half years at my current position, and I've actually been familiar with the tool for about the last five or six years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is wonderful on it. I don't think that, at any point, have I had a showstopper issue with the application. It's never caused any major issues with our systems, and I will give credit where credit's due. Even right now, as they continue to enhance the tool, it has still stayed wonderfully stable through that process, and everyone on CA’s side has been there to support on any kind of small bug or enhancement that might come up along the way.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It has scaled tremendously. Especially, again, I don't want to harp back too much on it, but when you start looking at data generation, your options are endless in the way you want to incorporate that into your environment.
I have my manual testers utilizing this to create data on the fly at any moment. I have my automation users who are going through a little bit more of it, getting daily builds sent to them. I have more performance guys sending requests in for hundreds of thousands of records at any given time, that might have taken them two weeks to build out before, that I can now do in a couple hours. It ties in with our pipelines out to production.
It's a wonderful tool when it comes to the scalability.
How are customer service and technical support?
Any time that I've had something that I question and said, "Could this potentially be a bug," or even better, "I would love this possible enhancement", it's been a quick phone call away or an email. They respond immediately, every single time, and they communicate with me, look at what our use case is on the solutions, and then come up with an answer for me, typically on the spot. It's great.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We knew we needed to invest in a new solution because our company was dealing with a lot of transformations. Not only do we still have a large root in our legacy systems, that are the iSeries, DB2-type of systems, but we have tons and tons of applications that have been built on a much larger scale in the past 40 years, since the original solutions were rolled out. Not only did we have a legacy transition occurring within our own company, but we also changed the way that our teams were built out. We went from teams that were a waterfall, iterative, top-down approach, to a much more agile shop.
When you look at the two things together, any data solution that we were using before, maybe manual hands on keyboards, or automated scripts for it, just weren't going to cut it anymore. They weren't fast enough, and able to react enough. We started looking at it and realized that Test Data Manager by CA was the tool that could actually help to evolve that process for us.
When selecting a vendor, I wanted someone that I'm going to have actually some kind of personal relationship with. I realized that we can't always have that with everyone that we're working with, but CA has done a wonderful job of continuously reaching out and saying, “How are you doing? How are you using our product? How do you plan on using our product? Here's what we’re considering doing. Would that work for you?" They've been a wonderful partner, in terms of communication of the road map of where this is all going.
How was the initial setup?
It's a great package that they have out there. It's a plug-and-play kind of system, so it executes well on its own to get up and running in the first place. When they do send releases in, it's as simple as loading the new release.
What's kind of neat about it is, if they do have something that needs to be upgraded on an extension of the system, some of the repositories and things like that, it's smart enough to actually let you know that needs to happen. It's going to shut it down, take care of it itself, and then rebuild everything.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We evaluated other options when we first brought it in. We looked at a couple of the others. The reason that we ended up choosing Test Data Manager was that it was stronger, at the time at least, in its AS/400 abilities, which is what all of our legacy systems are built on. It was much more advanced than anything else that we were seeing on the market.
What other advice do I have?
It’s not something that I would often give, but I do give this a perfect rating. We've been able to solve any of the data issues that we were having initially when we first brought it in, and it's expanded everything that we can do as we looked into the future right now of where we want to go with this. That includes its tie-ins for service virtualization; that includes the way that we can build out our environments in a way that we'd never considered before. It's just always a much more dynamic world that we can react a lot faster to, and attribute most all of that to Test Data Manager.