Dynatrace Review

The main benefit is being able to pinpoint problems

What is our primary use case?

We have a new product at Farm Bureau, called Guidewire. We have been using Dynatrace to diagnose as their moving code through the systems. It has been helpful in being able to guide our application staff. This part of the code has been having an issue where we need to look at it, or we have a database call that is malformed and it is causing issues on our database. That is what we have been using it for. 

We recently had a problem. When we went through a triage or a war room type of situation. We were able to use it help us nail down a specific call which was having a problem.

How has it helped my organization?

The main benefit definitely is being able to pinpoint problems. I have spent a lot of time in the past on tools that did not work very well. You spend a lot of hours, nights, and weekends with VPs over your shoulder going, "What's wrong?" And, you can't find it. 

What I see in today's tools coming out is that artificial intelligence is very important to help minimize that time and get very specific with where the problems are coming from.

What is most valuable?

The version that we are on now has the ability to get us in the area of where our problems are. What I see with the new product is that it is actually going to give us a pinpoint. 

Therefore, we will not be spending hours behind the scenes being the artificial intelligence. It will be built in. It will save us a tremendous amount of time this way. 

What needs improvement?

There are some features that get in-depth into the product and you are having to redo the data across several tiles. You have got cloning at one level, but it would be nice to have cloning at deeper levels. Or, as you are doing the cloning, it would be nice if you could select different options. Then, you are not having to sit there and build dashboards, and spending a lot of time in the cloning area.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I do not even see this as being a problem. I have seen very little of it being a problem.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

What I know about scalability is from the sales pitches, not from experience. From the sales pitches, it looks to be extremely scalable. I have worked with products that when it goes into practice that this is not always the case. I would be interested to see Dynatrace in a very scaled environment. 

In previous places that I have worked, like Ford or General Motors, which are very large environments. I could see where they would need a very large scaled solution.

How is customer service and technical support?

Mike Ditmar is probably one of the best engineers that I have ever worked with. If he does not know the answer, he is back with you within an hour with the answer. 

General support is same thing. If they can't give you the answer, they are saying, "We will have someone call you back. We will have your S.E. call you back." They get someone for you. So, it is one of the best support structures.

Dynatrace's documentation is great. I love the university. 

Which solutions did we use previously?

I used siloed monitoring tools. My view is a little bit skewed because I used them on the mainframe. The mainframe was developed over 30 years, so they were very developed tools and easy to use. I was one of the first adapters of the Vantage product from Compuware that is Dynatrace's predecessor. I thought it was cool then and that it had all the bells and whistles. 

Now that I have come back into it, today's tools don't even compare. We did a lot of work back then to try and correlate the data. Even Dynatrace 7.0 is a hundred times easier than that Vantage product was and I see the new stuff making that same leap from the 7.0 version.

When I originally looked at Dynatrace, it was because it was something that we could spread across the company. You can set something up for the VP and upper levels to look at that is a summary dashboard. Yet, you can set up that same system for your application developer, so he/she can pinpoint those methods, and you can do the same thing for the database. Thus, you have many different sections of the company in which you can set up specific data output meaning something to them. It does not necessarily have to filter through one team, because you can really clog a team up fast making them the central point. 

How was the initial setup?

I was not involved in the Dynatrace initial setup. For the upgrade, we put it in, and it was done. It was not complex.

What about the implementation team?

I have heard it was great to have the consulting staff help you because you got it right the first time. 

What other advice do I have?

Do a PoC of all of the competitors. Do not go off the sales pitch. Once you see Dynatrace in action, it really has some shining elements that the competitors are missing. They all have, to a certain point, the same functionality. Though, what I see in Dynatrace's new AI stuff really comes into play and it out shines its competitors. 

The role of AI when it comes to IT's ability to scale in the cloud and manage performance problems is invaluable. The amount of data coming at us these days is overwhelming. I started in a network team with three people, one server, and 100 users. That was manageable. 

In today's world, we support 2500 users, WAN/LAN, and applications which are becoming increasingly cross-platform and integrated. Therefore, you need artificial intelligence to help with it. 

I do not think there is one solution for one company. You pick your top tools and have them work together. For instance, you have a tool that monitors your storage and your infrastructure. You have that same tool in Dynatrace that monitors your apps, but those two talk to one another. So, when we see that blip in storage, then we see the effect over in Dynatrace because it just ran out of space. I don't believe in one tool, you pick your top tools and have them talk.

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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