What is our primary use case?
Our primary use case for the product was to actually monitor the devices in our network. To actually help alert on problems and issues, then do some type of self-healing for the issue. It was also there to find a way to build trends and look at our network to see what we look like now, and where we may have to plan going into the future.
The tool does pretty well. It is pretty new to us. We are still learning it. It is a broad value. People were a little hesitant when they started using the product. Now, it has become a vital tool for our use in the company, from a network perspective.
How has it helped my organization?
Since the implementation of the tool, it has cut down on probably 60% of our outages and letting us know what is going on. That little component has created significant improvement for us that we were able to put in place.
There is another component of the tool called Network Flow Analysis. It gives us the ability to troubleshoot issues which do not appear right away. It was actually an added benefit to the tool for us.
What is most valuable?
Its ability to probe the POLAR Network and tell us about a device. That is the most valuable. It is important we are able to alert based on what we find. It has become useful, because we can interact it with another tool, like Splunk, to actually do other parts of alerting.
What needs improvement?
Since the direction is more cloud-oriented, I would like to see what modules or functions they are putting out there to say, "Hey, this is what we are doing to monitor your cloud or help monitor that issue." As we move more towards the cloud, we have to monitor what in that space can I do with the CA PC tool in that environment.
For how long have I used the solution?
Less than one year.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
There are versions that are better. One of my concerns was it did not have a built-in HA component for availability, which was somewhat of a challenge for us. Because as we became more dependent on the tool, we had to find a way for it to be up all the time. So stability, I give it about a 85%, but we are getting there.
They have actually announced other versions that we need to get to. The challenge we find is, because this tool gathers so much data, which makes it hard to convert over. To upgrade it, you really need the solution backed up. That is the issue that we are facing right now.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I am happy with the scalability for right now. It is better in the later versions.
The company is 25,000 employees. Our department consists of two groups that work together. We are broken up into a monitoring group and a network group, both use the tool, probably about 20 of us. Maybe a little more that use the tool to get what we need out of it.
How is customer service and technical support?
Customer service: I am quite comfortable with CA and love the people that we talk to about it. They are responsive working with us and made us feel like they really care about the product. I get that from the sales perspective, my representative. I would not trade him in for the world. He has done a really good job. I am really happy with him.
Technical support: I would give them about a "B" right now, because they do not respond as quickly as we like. They do get around to us with some issues. It seems like we escalate more than I would like to. If anything, they should look at how the tier support goes in place.
If I call and it is critical, then I have to wait for someone to call me back with an engineer, I am not too happy about it. Because you only call when you need it, so if I need you, I need you right then. If it was some other issue, such as searching for knowledge, I can understand opening up a ticket.
We normally would not call unless we are trying to do something with the tool, and it is not performing the way that it is suppose to, and we are trying to find out why. Normally, I call because I need the tool up and working, then I need to know, "Why?" However, first of all, I need the tool up.
The issue: There are sometimes they have to go and do research and get somebody to find out why the tool is down for a minute. That could be somewhat of a challenge for us, because we have people that are looking for the tool.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup, I wouldn't say was totally complex. I would give it on a scale of one to 10, it is about a six for the initial setup. Once you have the information, I did not think it was that difficult. The challenge was to find out what platform they were running on.
I come from a company that does both Windows and Linux. Of course when we asked them, which environment the tool should run on, they said they support both. They still support both. What I would like to know is, what is the most stable environment for the tool?
That is where I am looking for them to say. I know no one wants to choose one environment over the other. I do not care what you say. I just need to know your recommended way from experience, which environment has less issues on it. That makes a difference.
We are using Linux, and I am glad we did. I think it would have been a disaster the other way.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We looked at SolarWinds. We looked Riverbed. I think we just looked at CA. We did not go looking at a lot of them. CA also came to us, because we had someone working on the other side to say, "Hey, we already had them in-house, take a look at a tool they had in place."
That helped them, because they were there. Once they could provide the tool that we wanted, and they were able to go through our use cases along with other vendors, that is how they got selected. They fitted with everything that we needed.
What other advice do I have?
Kick the tires and get under the hood. Provide your use cases upfront, and tell them exactly what you need. Once you do that, it is fine.
They will provide you with what you want, and meet your criteria. Lay out everything that you need. Look at the sales person that you are dealing with (the sales engineer). See how knowledgeable they are about their product, and see if it does what they say it will do, and that it is available right now. Do not tell me something is here, then, "Oh, that will be available six months from now." That does me no good. Unless you tell me up front, "We're gonna have this in the future," then I will know.
We are still learning it, because there are still features that we need to implement. It is a slow learning process. Right away when you get a tool, you want it to be implemented to actually address the issue that you have at that time. Now, we are looking at it to see what else it can do for us.
From when we first got the tool, it was there just to look and discover devices, and tell us if they were just available or not. Now, we are looking at it to say, "Well, we can trend on certain things."
Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:
- Be able to meet my requirements.
- Price. That makes a difference.