CA Spectrum Review

It brings to the table the ability to do vault isolation, alarm suppression, and more quickly find and focus on the areas that need to be fixed. But, the console should be using HTML5, not Java.


Valuable Features

For me, as a deployment person and support person for the product, the most valuable feature is the scalability of the product. We started out with a fairly ambitious goal of managing about ten thousand devices. That over a couple of years became about one hundred thousand devices. Without completely crashing our original architecture, we were able to scale up to meet that requirement rather easily by just horizontally adding more servers.

Improvements to My Organization

It met a really critical need inside of my company because just before I was hired, they had about a two-day outage in one of their data centers. They didn't really understand the scope of the outage because they lacked in their existing monitoring environment the ability to see the topology of the network. They thought they were fixing the problem over here for a couple of days until they finally realized, oops, they probably really made it worse. So that is one of the key things that Spectrum brings to the table, that ability to do vault isolation, and alarm suppression, and more quickly find and focus on the area that needs to be fixed.

Room for Improvement

A big problem for us now is the Java requirement for the console. It really should be using HTML5. Our personnel use a multitude of enterprise and network management tools, each of them with different Java requirements. They, as cleverly as they can, have devised a means of trying to make those things sort of work and play nicely together on their glass. But it's an issue. Every time we do an upgrade, the Java version changes for Spectrum.

The new web client is a fairly basic sort of operator-level solution at this point, but it's going to expand into a full-blown one at some point. One of the questions that I'll have for product manager is, what's the timeline for replacing Java?

Stability Issues

From time to time we have issues with Spectrum. When we do, they are generally easy to recover from. I am very impressed with the stability of this product. I've been doing network management tools a long time and I know of what I speak.

Scalability Issues

In Spectrum, the concept is really two tiered. It's a solution with a web client application. Initially, we had nine servers doing the polling and, I think, two one-click servers serving the buoy. Then management came to us and said we need to do a whole other part of the enterprise, so add another nine servers. We just quickly added them and pointed them to the devices and the main location server, which is the one that ties all of the polars together. As more users were added, we just added more one-click servers.

I think we are one of the larger Spectrum deployments in the western hemisphere. There are some things we would like to request for product enhancements in terms of supporting a horizontally-scaled set of one-click servers.

I was very excited to see the presentation yesterday that told us where they think the product is, where it's going, and we are going to hear more of that today with the roadmap presentation. Things are looking very good.

Customer Service and Technical Support

It has been very, very good. We sometimes have to more carefully explain our problem to the person that is assigned to us. But once we get that fully understood, we quickly get the right focus. I have been very impressed a number of times with the quality of the person on the other end of the phone. They've actually helped us with some things beyond the actual current problem when they've taken a look at our system and said, oh by the way, do this or do that. It has been very good.

Initial Setup

Installations went smoothly. Customizations were pretty straightforward.

Other Advice

If you like to sleep at night and not be disturbed on the weekends, get Spectrum. It's a really robust, mature product, but still with newer and newer features being added, and it's very, very stable.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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