CA APM Review

It allows us to see the inside of the managed code application, taking our performance to a more mature level.


Improvements to My Organization

What CA APM really does is that it allows us to see the inside of the managed code application, taking our performance to a more mature level. We're able to see things as they start to load up before we have a failure.

I don't know if I would call it proactive, because typically in our environment, things move so quickly. Only upon post-analysis do you see the actual build-up. Only then can we act and we end up having to build in thresholds.

Room for Improvement

It's not as agile in keeping up with the direction that CA is pushing it. They're trying, but it's still two or three years behind the curve.

We're really looking at being able to deploy it, say, in the cloud. We'd like it to have automated deployment, self-instrumentation, and a self-generating dashboard.

There are a bunch of workarounds, but after a while, you're just applying Band-Aids to the platform.

Use of Solution

We're using version 9.6 with some patches. We have not gone to 10 yet. We typically run shipping minus a version. We're getting ready to go to 10 because, I think, CA is getting ready to do another GA release of 10. We'll probably jump to 10 at that time, but we've got some preparation work for it.

Stability Issues

We have had a lot of challenges with APM. We've been using it since it was called Wiley, and the CA team has been absolutely wonderful. They've really stayed with it, they've researched, they've helped us. We've gotten custom patches, custom solutions that then get worked into the next product release. It has been a difficult maturation process. Now we're in a really good spot in terms of stability. We're happy with it.

I've been with the company for about four years. There was an installation of Wiley that was kind of done haphazardly and we were having a lot of stability problems. I wasn't there at the very beginning of it, but we did take it from essentially a single-pointed presence to the size where it is today. According to CA, we're probably in the top five in terms of installations, so we're one of the big ones.

Customer Service and Technical Support

For us, we rarely -- I don't think we ever, actually -- call the 1-800 technical support. We have a lot of experience and knowledge in-house. We have our entire CA support team that ranges from executive level to the highly-technical level. We can normally within a day be in touch with a developer. A lot of times the problems that we have will blast through the help desk pretty quickly. Our CA support team is vital to the success with APM.

Previous Solutions

When we made the decision, at the time there were no other vendors in this space. Periodically, we do a reassessment of the portfolio. Unfortunately, CA did not do well recently.

Actually, folks who originally were with Wiley Tech, their start-up companies have finally matured enough to the point where we can seriously consider them as alternatives.

Other Solutions Considered

Vendors like AppDynamics and New Relic, we're starting to see more and more of our internal customers move away from the white-glove, fully-managed model to a staff solution where they're managing their own little pieces.

Other Advice

The APM piece is really good for deep-dive. It is, as we like to say, the Cadillac of APMs. It does everything. It goes very deep and very wide. It does take dedication and you have to have some dedicated resources on-site. You have to be able to know it, and you have to be able to work with the developers in order to properly instrument it. It's not something that you can just throw out there and expect for it to work in an afternoon. You do have to learn the product. If you do, there are a lot of good rewards for it.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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1 Comment
Randall HindsReal UserELITE SQUADTOP 5

We had almost the exact same experience with this vendor product with two deviations, but overall a solid APM capability.

RE: Proactive use - Agreed, it is difficult to dial-in alert thresholds to fire far enough ahead of impacts to avoid. We carry out similar post-incident reviews to tune/create alerts, but we also have many other tools to leverage in detecting symptomatic issues that can lead us to look deeper with APM. Our bigest challenge with CA APM was the price point; we simply couldn't instrument the many inter-related applications which can cascade impacting issues.

RE: Support - We had less problems with the Introscope agents and APM infrastructure than we did with CEM & ADA, and we called CA's 800# and opened tickets regularly. Two answers were given in 90+% of our support requests - Buy Professional Services for an onsite CA rep to address, and after review this will be addressed in the next GA release of xxx CA product.

I was also constistently disappointed in actual data integration between CA products as compared to white-paper & sales statements on how well integrated the tools are. Putting a CA logo on an acquired product does not equal integration. We needed all APM tools to share data both in real-time consoles and in historical reporting. A single APM console/report with data from all CA products was not possible.

14 January 16
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