Dynatrace Review

Gives us data to measure the business impact of events and incidents


What is our primary use case?

We purchased Dynatrace to give us an end-to-end picture of transactions from the end-user, all the way back through all the infrastructure, and tag it all together - and it's worked out great.

How has it helped my organization?

The main benefits are that, obviously, we can see the transaction throughout the entire infrastructure.

One of the things that we're embarking on is, we're trying to measure the impact to the business of infrastructure events and incidents, rather than using gut feeling or emotions of whether we feel there was an impact, or asking our customers, how were you impacted. We have data now to prove it. So it's just taking the emotions out of it and just providing the facts of the impact, of the incidents or events.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable component of it is taking that guessing out of troubleshooting problems. We no longer have to rely on an architect, or an application person, or someone's memory of how the transaction moves throughout the infrastructure and the different dependencies that it has on it. We can see it right there and we find out more that we ever imagined.

We like the user's experience piece: being able to see, from the browser perspective, the user's behavior; being able to answer questions from our customers about why such and such happened, why the performance was slow, why we had an error. Many of our customers are business partners. They're not a customer online that couldn't shop or something. They're customer service representatives, maybe, or a customer service team, that is experiencing slowness, so they're reporting it very quickly and letting us know. We're able to see those transactions and it's helped with our mean time to repair.

What needs improvement?

I'd really like to see more dashboarding abilities. The ability to do workflows within dashboards, being able to start at a high level and click into it with custom dashboards. I think most of the time, we are creating our own custom dashboards, and I'd just like to see more ability with that.

I would also like to see it baselining more metrics out-of-the-box. We have a lot of rich data, but if someone says, "Well how did that look last week?" If you're looking at a problem and you see, for example, a long SQL statement, is that the root cause, or is it always slow; that kind of thing. It's difficult to take that and say, "Oh the SQL statement was fine last week and it's now slow and it started slow at this specific time." So, it's difficult to get historical data, unless you know in advance what your problems are going to be.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I feel, overall, it is very stable. We have some response-time issues from the product or from the UI, and getting all that massive data back. But overall, the stability, the availability of it, is good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I think scalability is what we're struggling with. I would say it's okay, but there's a little bit of room for improvement.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've spoken with tech support several times. We've used them to answer questions and to help us get more value out of Dynatrace. We've also uncovered bugs and they've been able to help us identify those and support has come out with fixes for them. It's been good overall.

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

We didn't really have a short list. We had another solution that we were using and it just really wasn't fitting the bill anymore and Dynatrace just slipped in. We just started evaluating it and we liked it, so we just went forward.

How was the initial setup?

I think with anything that's of a massive scale, there are complexities - even just trying to understand the product. Obviously it's a new product and you're trying to architect something you don't know. There are definitely challenges and hiccups that occur with that.

I think, overall, the implementation of actually installing was fairly easy. Most of the problems, really, were organizational problems on our end. You know, change-windows being very small, and the testing requirements that we've put in place, caused the implementation to take a while. But the tool itself was pretty easy to implement.

What other advice do I have?

When it comes to the nature of digital complexity, and the role of AI when it comes to IT's ability to scale in the cloud and manage performance problems, we're not really using the cloud very much, so I can't really say for the cloud piece. But I do think that these transactions are more and more complex, and there's so much data. That's one of the great things about Dynatrace is there's so much data, and it's also one of the most difficult parts about Dynatrace, is there's so much data. So having that AI to bubble things up for you, so that you're not searching for a pin in a haystack is definitely the future, I think, for Dynatrace.

We have used many, many siloed solutions and still do. It's hard to giveĀ  those up. The problem is, obviously, everybody is looking at their own silo and looking at their own monitors and, of course, it never looks like it's that silo's problem.

One solution that could provide real answers, and not just data, is really what we're looking for. It takes the guessing out of monitoring and everybody is seeing through the same window. That's what our team is designed to do, come up with answers, not just provide a lot of data. Obviously, we can send out data to folks, but they're not looking for that. They want your opinion of what the problem is, or what the answer is, not just charts and data. So it's very valuable for our team.

The criteria we were looking for when choosing an APM solution were the ability to gather metrics on a lot of different technologies and solutions. I was on more of the technical side. The financial side was kind of smoke and mirrors for me. I just evaluated the technical aspects and was looking for a solution that would give us an entire picture of the transaction.

I would recommend Dynatrace, of course, but I would just mention again, that you have to kind of think about the story that you want to tell. Determine, in advance, the metrics that you're going to want to show over time, for that historical view of data.

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