CA Spectrum Review

Works well with heterogeneous networks and there are lots of add-on products.

Valuable Features

  • Works excellent for heterogeneous networks (lots of different vendors)
  • Error correlation
  • Root-cause analysis
  • Service intelligence
  • Lots of add-on products for Spectrum, e.g., VMware integration
  • Local extensions/developments for special needs, e.g., new vendor xyz

With the object-oriented design of Spectrum, from its very first version, we had very important issues, such as fault isolation and root-cause analysis implemented by default!! Which means that we had through all these years very precise fault indications on where to look for the error and were not overwhelmed by long lists of alarm, which were only effects of the real fault.

So we then concentrated on building a virtual picture of the complete real IT infrastructure inside Spectrum. This includes today a very wide range of devices, which are modelled inside Spectrum and interconnected in the correct hierarchy as in the real environment. And, as the big buzzword today is IoT, this means for us as a service provider to our university users to deal with MoT = Monitoring of Things!!

The “new” things include devices such as coffee machines, fridges, temperature sensors, worktime badge systems, door opening scanners, house automation systems (for light, sun blinds, climate, etc.), smoke and fire detectors, etc. This list increases every year with new “things” popping up on our network radar!

Of course, the real IT devices like routers, switches, firewalls, servers, storage devices, WiFi access points, IP phones, and, importantly, printers, form the base of the big “virtual” Spectrum picture.

And last but not least, Spectrum by design can be expanded in its function by a series of add-ons, such as VMware integration, which reads out automatically the virtual servers in the vCenter and models all VM’s inside Spectrum in the corresponding physical servers. Another example of an add-on is the integration of a performance probe with scenarios that run periodically (i.e., log in to a webmail portal, check for the existance of a message xyz, lookup the calendar, etc.) and map those scenarios to objects within Spectrum, which can be handled like devices, so you can put thresholds on them and get alarmed when violated!

Improvements to My Organization

Thanks to Spectrum, we are able to monitor (and send out alarms for) our whole IT infrastructure 7/24 without having more than a minimal number of technical persons.

Room for Improvement

  • Reporting
  • Full web-based topology view
  • Path view

Use of Solution

I have used it since fall 1990. We’re a simple - but extremely long-term customer.

Stability Issues

I only encountered stability issues in very rare situations; mainly when we used our own extensions for private management modules.

Scalability Issues

I have not encountered any scalability issues so far!

Customer Service and Technical Support

Technical support is excellent - 9.5 on a scale 0-10 - but this also includes support from the local Spectrum partner here in Switzerland.

Previous Solutions

I did not previously use a different solution. At the time (fall 1990), there were only very few products available, where just two or three of them had a graphical visualization.

Initial Setup

Initial setup was completely straightforward, as the product already included a discovery and an auto-connect function.

Other Advice

Start small and include as much of your IT infrastructure as possible, so that at the end you have a picture of the “big” total.

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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1 Comment
author avatarRandall Hinds

Wow! Sounds like you are making the most of what Spectrum has to offer. I have found it to be a pretty powerful toolbox, but I have yet to hear of such a comprehensive build. Impressive, and no doubt - a ton of work to capture the big picture. Agreed on the items listed for improvement, especially the web console.

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