Dynatrace Review

Scalability is outstanding. It won't tax our environment at all as it will scale sideways.

What is our primary use case?

The use case is internal applications and vendor applications, mostly all that run on either .NET or Java.

How has it helped my organization?

All the prior monitoring tools were based mostly on infrastructure. Everybody was really good at keeping their boxes alive and networks running. However, there was a big exposure point on API failures and no mechanism for service response for those. 

What is most valuable?

So far, it has been app interoperability and identifying failure cases in call-outs, out of the app to outside resources. 

What needs improvement?

We still have future issues, because the integration is ServiceNow and that is only a reference. It would appear that actually to get further along you can't use just Dynatrace. You'd now have to contract for services to finish up your integrations.

We are changing our ITSM. If we had continued on our current path, they have no integration to a HEAT ITSM. That would have been a big problem for us. Fortunately for them, Dynatrace went through a review of that last year, and they have decided to go to ServiceNow. However, it does appear that the ServiceNow is a reference platform, not an actual solution. It would be better if some of these API implementations and things were not reference solutions. Looks like the partners were working on that, but the company as a whole is not. They are working on their product primarily. They are in some tough competition with New Relic and AppDynamics, so they have to keep on that. Thus, integrations is the weak point.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Dynatrace has been terribly stable. I have run Dynatrace Managed, which is internal, and I am able to take down individual boxes in the middle of the business day with no effect. The cluster is very stable. I have not had a update with an error at all. Then, through the Spectre Meltdown stuff, my Linux admin has been able to patch and unpatch with no issue at all. The cluster stayed alive the entire time. Basically, since October, we have met 100% uptime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is outstanding. Right now, I am running it in a virtual environment. We are running what they call small sets. We are only running at about 20%, because you have to build a minimum set of three. However, it won't tax our environment at all. It will scale sideways. If I have three, I have seven more nodes to go, so I have quite a bit of headroom. So, it will scale great.

How is customer service and technical support?

Depends on how tough the question is. If I ask them a question about stuff they have not done before, it takes a while. Then, we have uncovered a couple of bugs, and we used to wait for the solution. I have been a good QA for them in some cases. Generally, nothing show-stopping. 

Some of their sprints have had some inconsistent pieces. They generally fix them in two or three sprints after that.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We did not have an APM solution previously.

How was the initial setup?

It was not straightforward. Documentation is slightly in error as far as directory set ups and guidance. We came to our own solution for distributing the disk loads. However, there were two or three different components that worked off the same pathings. A couple of the teams were not aware that when people went outside a stock installation that their assumptions were incorrect across components, and they had to resolve some documentation issues. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The evaluation was between AppDynamics, New Relic, and Dynatrace. Dynatrace won out for a couple of things. 

  1. The AppDynamics engineers never got the solution in place on our environment, and the New Relic product was not able to work sufficiently well with the security solutions through the firewall. The real killer that took it over the top was Dynatrace's promise to work with Asia natively. 
  2. The security gateways. No one else works with security gateways. I am able to configure those perfectly well within the banking and FDIC infrastructure to pass audits. With the other two products, you have to allow all your hosts out, and the security gateway solves this for me. Then, of course, we put it on-premise anyway.

Of the three, Dynatrace, AppDynamics, and New Relic, Dynatrace rates a 10 out of 10.

What other advice do I have?

Look at Dynatrace for these very reasons: the security gateways, the ability to scale sideways, and the ability to identify more internal applications. Do not rely as New Relic did on third-party implementations of just plug-ins. Dynatrace does the plug-ins natively, usually. 

Never go with one solution. For the same reason that you do collaborative work, it is better to have different opinions.

Most important criteria when selecting a vendor:

  • It has to cover the platforms that we run in the company.
  • It has to be an established company that is not too flaky. It has to show an engineering pre-sale staff that is competent. Then, it has to work within our secure environment.
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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