CA UIM (DX Infrastructure Manager) Review

Gives us a single pane of glass. We monitor Cisco and Juniper switches, firewalls, VMware and all sorts of appliances.

What is most valuable?

I would say the most valuable feature is the consolidation of multiple data sources into one centralized repository for ease of administration and data analytics. For example, we have net-flow analysis, we have performance management and then we also have CA ADA (Application Delivery Analysis). Prior to CA UIM and CA Performance Center coming along, we had to look at all these systems individually. Even though when you look at it from the application layer, the network layer, and the system layer, all of these layers talk and rely on one another to provide a service. So, if one of them is having abnormalities, it's difficult for engineers to identity the root cause. This now gives us a single pane of glass to identify the root cause a lot quicker.

We are monitoring your typical router switches like Cisco and Juniper. We are also monitoring firewalls of various sources, VMware and all sorts of appliances. Also, we actually monitor applications, systems and services on the infrastructure as well.

How has it helped my organization?

The biggest thing is taking care of business. So, we’re good as long as business is happy and we can keep business doing what it needs to be doing. That means they can support the customers by cutting down on outage times or forecasting peak demand seasons with data analytics and stuff like that. Prior to technologies like this coming along we found ourselves being reactionary. With technologies like this, we can be proactive and begin to prevent failures before they happen. It's almost like looking into the future to a degree.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see integration into more data sources. For example, integrating facilities information such as temperature and other environmental variables, because heat can actually impact server routers. For example, environmental wouldn’t necessary align with an OSI layer, but it impacts all of those particular layers. So it'll be just like security would be another layer.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

No technology is perfect, but CA is doing a really wonderful job of providing products that are reliable, scalable, and dependable to entities all over the world. People have to pay for this as well. If CA was not doing something right, I would not have seen 20,000 users at CA World.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In regards to scalability, I think that's a tough question. You really have to look at the implementation. If it's properly provisioned, then there's no issue. If you're sitting on a VM host and guests are competing for resources amongst that host and that host is not providing enough resource, then, yeah there's going to be contention there. As far as the system itself, it is very scalable.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is great. They're really great with the turn around time from submitting a ticket and getting an answer back for most issues. Most issues are not new under the sun. So it's just a matter of looking into the knowledge base and making sure your own system is provisioned properly. Then they'll feed you back information and stuff like that.

Which solutions did we use previously?

CA UIM was really the first time we’ve had a dashboard type of technology in our infrastructure. So prior to that, it was all siloed for the most part.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup for the most part. I participated in gathering requirements and working with the account managers at CA. Then once we decided to procure, we took it to the software delivery life cycle, going into development, the DevOps type of model.

Some aspects of it can be complex. It's all about your learning curve and your dedication at the end of the day. Add to that having a great team to support you internally and then to reach back into CA.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I haven't considered any other vendors. I have individuals in the organization I support who were looking at other opportunities or products. But I would tell them, "Hey just give me an opportunity to allow this product to work." A lot of times, it's not the product, it's the people. It's the human. Granted, no product is perfect because humans aren't perfect, but again they are not far off from what they're touting themselves to be able to do.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely insure to manage expectations you do a proof of concept and then executive buy-in. If you can get executive buy-in, you're good to go at that point.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
1 Comment
Randall HindsReal UserELITE SQUADTOP 5

While I agree with your assessment of UIM (it is a leader in the NW monitoring space), I would urge you to compare these tools to vendor offerings. This company is less of an innovator and much more of an acquirer (Spectrum & NetQoS rocked, still do).
If this is your first exposure to centralized dashboards and top-level manager-of-manager approaches, you will likely find other companies offering more innovative approaches.

Your point on Human vs. Product resonates with my experience too. Take a look at some of the free and open source software (FOSS) offerings out there, if you feel your team can make the difference. You may find there is no need to pay out for licensing and maint of commercial of the shelf (COTS) solutions.

Opinions I express here are based solely on my own experience and do not reflect in anyway leanings of my employer.

09 January 17
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