CA UIM (DX Infrastructure Manager) Review

Ease of deployment, configuration, admin, with good visibility into the environment

What is our primary use case?

Primary use case is we deployed a unified infrastructure manager, globally, for monitoring. By globally, I mean here in the US and in Europe. Now we are expanding to South America: Mexico and Brasil.

Scalability has been really good. It has been more than we expected, much better than what we were using before.

What is most valuable?

  • The ease of deployment
  • The ease in configuration, like alarm notifications
  • Administration is easy, so the learning curve is not huge. It's something you could get comfortable with in a couple of months.

How has it helped my organization?

It's making the environment more visible. 

It's helping our management have really good visibility into what is happening in the environment. Things that were hidden are now visible. We're able to do this deployment on a mainframe environment, and they can actually see the day-to-day performance of the environment, get real data, and make modifications based on that.

What needs improvement?

We've talked to our vendor about the specific parts of UIM, specific probes, that we'd like to see improvements in. This would give us greater functionality. An example is logmon. We'd like to see some more functionality there. Maybe something that can capture an XML tag, data, things like that.

Overall we'd like to see a better console for the alarm view. Right now it's great, but there's some functionality that was lost from the previous migration. They are trying to integrate some of the functionality from the previous versions, which was lost when they migrated to a new format for showing that.
Since that's the most visible part of our tool, to our users, that would have immediate benefits, I would say.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is fairly good. It's getting better every day.

There are some challenges with it as far as having a lot of users logging in at the same time. What they do is they log in to see what's happening in the environment, respond, and contact whoever they need to, to attack whatever issue came up. Sometimes the stability is not what we expected, but it's really good still.

There is a bit of lag that we're seeing. We just completed a migration to a higher version. It is better, but we are still seeing some unexpected downtime in the course of the day. The frequency of those incidents is going down every day. So, we expect that the stability will pretty much go up.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is great. It doesn't take a lot to do a deployment to a bunch servers, and you have multiple ways that you can do that. You can use native deployment method. You can use what the infrastructure team uses for deploying software. You can do a manual method. You have different options and that's awesome.

How are customer service and technical support?

Support is great. We have a great partnership with our vendor, and they're very responsive to our needs. And they have escalation paths. So when they hit a snag, they always escalate to the back end and we get really good results from them.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Our previous tool, Microsoft SCOM, was not meeting expectations. The cost, the return on investment for it, was not there at all. With UIM, the ROI is way up there. With the other tool, the admin time versus the value you were getting was just not there.

I hear they've made improvements to SCOM now. But we went a different direction. And we're happy that we did.

How was the initial setup?

it was fairly straightforward.

Our first deployment happened about six years ago. Once you get the hang of it, it gets much easier. But overall, approaching it as a new customer, I would say, it's not hard at all.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did three or four different proofs of concept, and we ended up going with CA.

We considered an open source tool, it's called SNAG-View. We considered SCOM. There were two others we considered that are not coming to mind.

What other advice do I have?

When selecting a vendor, what's important to us are 

  • relationships
  • response. 

Those two are the biggest things. We want them to be there when we're doing a major deployment. When things break down, that 3:00am call, they're there. That is the biggest thing for us: to have a close relationship with our vendor. 

And of course, knowledge that the vendor has of the actual product. That they have that technical talent within their team, that they can give that first-tier, third-tier, or whatever, support.

I would say you will probably see a lot of positive returns right out of the gate in the quality of monitoring that you are seeing; the type of monitoring data that you're getting from whatever it is that you're monitoring. I would encourage you to take a look at it.

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