CA APM Review

There is a primary layer of alerting or metrics monitoring put in place. The initial setup is complex.

What is our primary use case?

It is a first line of defense for application performance monitoring and management to understand the customer usage patterns. When we get any major incident or a production issue, we can isolate the area where there is a probable problem. 

How has it helped my organization?

Adding a layer with built-in some service level guarantees between the operations, development, and support, give us one of the key disciplines that this product has pushed us to evolve into. Previously, it was bunch of loosely built operations metric infrastructure applications. I would get a call (someone I know), you know me and let's start working together, because there is a problem. Now, having this alerting in place and metrics showing themselves for what is in store and what we should work on, there is a service level that is being built across these teams so they exactly know how to work. That is a very good thing to bring as a discipline.

It is very hard, especially for banks working from the Canadian space, because we are traditional in nature. So, it is very hard to bring about change. A product like this has broken the ice in two years in good amount of time in Canadian market and Canadian technical space. It has been able to establish itself. There has been a little push for certain disciplinary changes and behavioral changes within the teams that work in the bank.

What is most valuable?

The first line of defense; we know we have a problem. We never knew we had a problem until we got calls into the call center saying, we have this coming up from the customers. Before, the customers would pick up the phone and give a call to our call centers. Now, we know we have a problem, because there is a primary layer of alerting or metrics monitoring put in place, that is the good part.

What needs improvement?

Its profiling. The uniqueness instead of me looking at sampling data, I need to know the m-1 event that actually triggered my scenario where that m event caused a catastrophic event, like a ripple effect; I need to know that m-1. What triggered my major event means I need to understand the event that triggered it and before the cause of that event itself. If I don't know that, and if I look at it from 10,000 feet, it's going to look like a blimp, but actually if I get into it, it's so nasty there. Without understanding that gap, no APM product can claim itself to be an APM product.

The only drawback of this product that CA has, actually it was Wiley product they purchased and they started adding patches on top of the Wiley product to make it an APM dimensional product, but it is a sampling product. Essentially it means it samples one every 15 seconds. A lot of things happen in that 15 seconds especially when its financial transactions. If you miss one spike within that 15 seconds, that means you are looking data from a 1000 mile height, which might not look like a problem until you go and take closer look.

The way the product itself is it allows you to identify a problem area but not exactly tell what the problem is. It is like you have a problem good. 15 years ago it would better to know that I have a problem and I have a problem in a specific area it works better. Now, the speed at which the technology and the customers are moving on, I need to exactly know what my problem is right then and there. That is a huge gap with CA APM.

No predictability and pattern analysis is hugely dependent on the sampling. In today's financial world, your individual attention is your success path for your business growth. That means, the more I get a product that suits me exactly, that means I am unique. Even if I transfer two dollars, I am unique in my own nature as a customer. If I get mixed up with a bunch of other boats, folks who are doing one dollar $10 and I get my product customized to them, that means I'm not being individually identified as a market. The same goes with your application dynamics as well.

If you are not able to do that individual identification of spikes and surges use cases, you are not looking at it very closely the way the market is actually driving you to look at it. Other than, that it is a huge relief. We had nothing before, so something is better than nothing.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is a very stable platform, I can vouch for that. That first line of defense is not going to fail. It is a fairly stable product because it has been there for a while and all the knicks and knacks have been worked out. I can call it a matured product in what it does, but what is being sold is a different topic altogether.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Amazing. It is very nice for what it does.

How is customer service and technical support?

Every customer is unique. Again to this market, it is that unique need, unique feature, unique necessity, or unique technology that brings forward your need to adopt your technologies or adopt your lifecycle to meet that need. With CA, if I throw out a solution, one pill does not work for everything, so you need to make that customization. You need to draw a line on what customization is, then what support is. Everything cannot be customization. 

I have a product that is unique to me, but I did really tinker it out, so you need to talk to me and understand what the tinkering is. It cannot be a customization request, it is a support. Drawing lines between customization and support, there are a few dialogues, a few dialogue lines that really need to happen along those lines. Otherwise, it is fairly good when we actually escalate. We have heard some nays back and forth, but it has been good.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is complex. Size made it complex, and understanding the complex nature of our application landscape itself. It is very diverse. 

We acquired a bunch of banks and a bunch of wealth management companies which were put together as one bank. This means each of them have their own technical landscapes. You need to understand each of them and they also talk to each other. It is complex in nature from how we are as a bank from a technological front. This makes a complex nature to deploy a tool to work across the board.

What about the implementation team?

CA was engaged for implementation

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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