What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is it’s ability to monitor our network. We have a fairly sizable network with over 4000 nodes. Ultimately, at a hospital, network integrity is a patient care issue, so you want to make sure that the network is up as close to 100% as possible, 24/7 365. Hospitals don't close, so it needs to support that.
How has it helped my organization?
Its ability to alert us on network issues before they become critical is a great benefit. For example, say one of the power supplies on a device that has more than one goes down. Spectrum alerts us so we're aware of it, we can go and take care of the issue. If there are temperature issues, like if closets are hot, or something happens in the data closet, we are forewarned that there could be an issue happening. We can go and address it before anything happens.
The latest release I think is 10.2, and that may still be in beta right now, but we're on the newest version of the software. I don't necessarily know if there's anything in the latest release that has helped us, because we've been using Spectrum for about 5 years now. All the new releases do have their own advantages. I just don't know if we're leveraging any of those in relation to the latest release.
What needs improvement?
The web-based client that Spectrum has needs to be able to use multiple landscapes and multiple alarm filters. Right now, if you choose a landscape and then choose an alarm filter, you can have one or the other, but you can't pair them, which is a major problem because we have more than one landscape. That's one example.
Another example would be to have the ability to leverage Spectrum into Performance Center regarding topology maps. In Performance Center, we cannot see a topology map with drawn out nodes or take a picture from Spectrum and put it into Performance Center to see the nodes and links between the nodes. That would be something that we would like to see. At a recent conference, we spoke to CA about that; you never know. I hear the latest version fixes this, but I have yet to see it. If they can give me that in the web-based client, I would give Spectrum a 10/10. Then my team would be able to use it. Right now, with Java OneClick, it's a problem, because people would like to be able to launch it.
I would also really like to see a mobile Spectrum app. I know they have one, but it's really not very good. I don't know how much money and time they put into building it, but that would be great. If they had mobile, I have on my phone what they have. But it's really not very good. Again, if I could get the same view from my phone that I get from OneClick that would be awesome.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Spectrum itself is stable. I think some of the other applications like the reporting solution tends to be a little bit of a problem for a manager. Whenever we apply patches and upgrades, it basically breaks reporting and we have to rebuild our reports. I have a whole bunch of automated reports that go out, and every time there's some type of an upgrade we have to rebuild those supports from scratch.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Spectrum is very scalable. We presently have three landscapes and a number of alarm filters running on Spectrum. We are probably a mid-range sized customer. There are some customers that have 50,000 nodes on the network.
How is customer service and technical support?
We have an MSO with CA, so they're constantly engaged with us all the time. They do a very good job. They support us with requirements that we are not really geared for and can't really support, so we'll ask them, "Hey, can you do this for us, and get this result?" We have that across all of the CA applications that we use.
How was the initial setup?
I was not involved with the original setup at this particular company. I was involved with the initial setup at a prior company I was at.
When I started at the hospital, they already had it. I've been involved in building the Spectrum and Performance Center from the beginning, because when I started there they weren't really leveraging it at all.
It's been somewhat complex. More complex than I think it should have been, but I think that was more due to the original implementation being done by a third party. It wasn't done by CA and I think that was a problem. I think there was a lot of disconnect between what was actually being done and what was said was being done, and it wasn't very transparent, because the people that were overseeing it didn't really understand it. They were given a whole bunch of smoke and mirrors.
What other advice do I have?
I would say that Spectrum is a great network monitoring tool, and it has a lot of features that most people probably don't even use. They just use it kind of like an up-down tool, but there's a lot more to it than that. I would say, if it was something that they were thinking about implementing into their environment, they should get somebody that knows the product well to explain everything and make sure that it's implemented correctly the first time.