What is our primary use case?
We are gathering the SNMP data from many input devices, especially those which are used to monitor the status of the switches, the routers. It is very helpful to know about any CPU spike, rate of the CPU memory utilization of the network devices, along with interface utilization.
Also, we are using this product to get some QoS metrics from the network devices within our network. We are also using the Network Flow Analysis, to analyze the traffic, the conversation between the offices.
We have one more product called SNMP Trap Explorer which we are using to receive the traps from the network devices. The network devices are configured to send these traps to the CA application, which is all set on our internal network. Then we use the traps to send out the notifications to our internal support teams.
What is most valuable?
It is very easy to add devices; just be aware that it requires SNMP to be enabled.
It is very easy to use because most of the administrative tasks through the UI are documented. If I have any doubt, I can just go to the CS support. In the UI itself, you have a lot of helpful information on each administrative task, such as adding a special profile, conferring the vendors' specifications.
The documentation is very good, they have the documents up to date.
What needs improvement?
It would be helpful if CA provided online training for its customers. Whenever a release happens, the latest version, we have meetings with CA meeting and they explain the latest features and enhancements, which is really helpful. But then I'm training my internal support on our tool, if there were any training that CA provided directly, online, that would be good.
For how long have I used the solution?
More than five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's very much a stable product, because we are running it stand-alone. We have a two-tier architecture we run on. It's a stable product.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Currently we're not facing any issue with our infrastructure. There are around 5000 devices monitored using CA Performance Management. To be frank, I don't have any idea what the capacity of the product is, going forward. But currently, I don't see any issue with the capacity, the amount of devices.
The 5000 devices are monitored from data collectors housed in three datacenters.
How are customer service and technical support?
Currently we're on version 3.2; we had some issues while upgrading to 3.2, but we received very good support from CA within a short time. They were able to resolve the issues and communicate to us without any delay. We are getting a pretty good amount of good support from CA.
Normally we submit a case using CA portal, their support website. They'll reach out to us within 24 hours after we submit it. If we need support from the local, India CA support team, they are very flexible and can transfer the case, based on the customer's time zone. Because I'm based out of India, I have some issues with working during US time. They will help me to work with one of the engineers who is based out of India, I think. That kind of flexibility is really very good.
Also, documents are very available from support.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I wasn't involved in any decision on that. But it's all based on management's decision.
How was the initial setup?
It took some time because we could not just upgrade production. We have CA PM on two environments, one is Development, and then we are running on Production. Whatever changes or upgrades need to be made, first we'll perform then on Development. Based on the results, if anything is found, or if the activity goes well, then we'll proceed with the Production system update.
There is a really good amount of documentation, and whenever we need help, they will set up a WebEx session directly, and they'll help us during the implementation, installation, or upgrade activity.
What other advice do I have?
If I were to talk to others who are considering this product, I would explain the features, that it's easy to use, and its scalability, stability, and about the capacity it has.
I would also tell them that CA is upgrading the versions to stay current in the market, that is done very frequently. Whenever there are changes made - take the example of a Cisco router - if there is a new series of router, CA will include that in the next release.
Also, there is a good amount of vendor certification which comes with the product. That's all factory-loaded, no need to load any custom-made files. Most of the metrics are calibrated and captured from the devices based on the defaults available from vendor certification.
Considering all these factors, it's really a good and easy product for analyzing your network performance, health status, and the quality of services.
I rate it a nine out of 10, only because I still need time to explore it more. It has a lot of good features, but I am still in the learning phase.