CA Service Desk Manager Review

Robust, highly configurable, scalable and extendable.

Valuable Features


  1. Highly configurable, scalable and extendable
  2. Customizable with almost Hot Deploy except for business logic
  3. Quick and has awesome architecture
  4. It's robust


  1. Fully fledged Support on Request, Incident, Problem and Change on various scales along with CA PAM and CA SC as well as supporting the classic workflow. It supports Role Based Access Control (RBAC) and Single Sign-On through Active Directory and other supported LDAP systems
  2. Effective SOA layer supporting both SOAP and REST
  3. Good SLA management along with Response measurement. It supports boht a single SLA or multiple SLAs
  4. Strong logging mechanism with configurable event, activity notification, email eater. The email eater allows for ticket creation and updates via email without having to log into the application. Also, the Normal survey, and for change management, Risk Survey.
  5. From 12.5 onward, it comes with a combined CMDB and visualizer along with Remote Support for taking remote control of end users while working on a ticket.

Improvements to My Organization

  1. Bundled CA EEM (LDAP Application from CA) has improved, and it supports multiple AD integrations in v12.51.x
  2. Up to v12.7, the load balancing feature (Primary and Secondary Server Configuration) was crude and script based, and from v12.9 onward, it is UI based. Apart this, from v12.9 onward CA SDM supports advanced availability which assures fail over along with load balancing
  3. Internally lots of schema structures have changed to help improving our performance
  4. Knowledge Management becomes smarter and from 12.9 onward it becomes federated Search enabled to capture from heterogeneous sources, Like Google, SharePoint etc.
  5. Support community is strong and end users and customers can ask for feature enhancements through the Community after getting it verified by the product engineering team
  6. v12.5 onward, Incident, Problem and Request Management can be extensible or customized with CA ITPAM. Initially it used to have CA Workflow which is replaced by CA ITPAM i.e. much stable, robust and high performance process automation engine.
  7. v14.1 onward, CA Service Desk Manager gets packaged with CA Service Catalog, EEM, ITPAM, Open Space – a common portal to raise and track ticket for end user (but accessibility is controlled through licenses)
  8. Integration documentation has been improved a lot with code snippets and examples since v12.5
  9. Role Based Access Control allows user to login to the system with permissions based on their role. Single login and Multi-tenancy, hosting multiple sub-business units in a single instance were introduced in v12.1.

Room for Improvement

  1. Release Management is not supported out of the box
  2. SLO Management
  3. Cloud, SSL Configuration, Remote Support and Chatting
  4. Support for different mailing protocol other than SMTP, POP3/IMAP such as for MS Office 360 exchange
  5. Conditional Survey so it doesn’t send a survey on the closing of a Parent Ticket but of the children

Use of Solution

I've used it for eight years and have over 20,000 hours of project exposure on it directly and indirectly.

Deployment Issues

When we upgraded from 11.2 to 12.0, we faced an issue but later found out that it happened due to information discrepancies caused by ineffective data maintenance of CA SDM by our customer.

Stability Issues

We have never faced an issue in a supported environment using the out of the box features. If we encounter an issue, we follow the log by increasing Log levels or contact CA Support help resolve it.

Scalability Issues

It can handle request of around 5000 concurrent end users in an optimum environment.

Customer Service and Technical Support

2008-2011 – 3.5/5

2011-2014 – 3/5

2014-Present – 4/5

They have a very fast turnaround time, strong community, and helpful support team.

Previous Solutions

We have never worked with another product.

Initial Setup

The initial setup is straightforward. One can dump all databases and applications with one primary server into a single box with a minimum 8 GB RAM for applications and 8 GB RAM for databases in a vanilla setup. This allows you to have CA CMDB, Support Automation (Remote Connect to the end user by an analyst) along with a ticketing system and Knowledge Management.

A vanilla setup involve the following three steps, and the times given are adjustable +/-15 minutes -

  1. Database setup (10 minutes)
  2. Software installation (45 minutes)
  3. Configuration (five minutes)

Other Solutions Considered

We have never worked with another product.

Other Advice

Understand Requirements and ITSM Processes for the required organization and identify the process stakeholders. Then, schedule a phased deployment, e.g. Asset and Configuration Management first, then Request, Incident, and Problem Management, then finally Change Management. You should consider solution architecting and conduct Training for the end user.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We were a direct partner of CA Services, India, and we directly provide services to end customers.
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