Elastic APM Review

A complete tool that's very affordable and offers a good open source version

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case for our organization is handling login events. We also utilize it for some big data use cases.

How has it helped my organization?

Elastic APM help us anticipate and have a more accurate view in our IT exosystem. We deploy it specially for two mobile applications at the beginning. 

In addition to the fact that we are more proactive in the detection of incident before they occur, we can on one click see the request path from the customer to the backend. It is very useful and permits us to gain time. 

Before Elastic APM, we had to connect to different servers to check where is the issue. Now, we gain about 2h.

What is most valuable?

The solution is more of an optional variety platform. It's more than an APM platform. It goes further than that. I'd describe it as a more complete tool. 

The licenses are unlimited and based on the number of elastic search hosts contrary to the other solutions that are working in a model for a license for each instance monitored, for example, which is actually a very good thing. 

The price is very less expensive compared to the other solutions.

What needs improvement?

Our licensing model isn't a full one. We are in a less interesting model, so we do not have intelligence on it. We don't get system intelligence and machine learning models, however, I don't know if it is relevant to what we use the solution for. 

We don't have the platinum version. We are on the gold version. Our system intelligence and machine learning, and the other things regarding the competencies of everything, we have to build ourselves. It's not easy, as we are in West Africa and sometimes we do not have the relevant competencies. It takes time to get the skills we need to use the solution effectively.

The solution would be better if it was capable of more automation, especially in a monitoring capacity or for the response to abnormalities.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about one year now. It hasn't been too long.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is decent. There aren't crashes. I don't recall experiencing bugs or glitches.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We currently have a gold subscription. In the platinum subscription, normally we have a Kubernetes version, so the scalability is built into it. With gold, we do not have the scalability capability. We do not have the top subscription license.

That's not to say the solution can't scale. You just need to have the proper subscription if that is your organization's goal.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've had issues in the past and have had to reach out to technical support. They were helpful. We've been satisfied with the level of support we've been getting. It's been great.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is simple, however, you need to have the resources necessary to set it up. We are working in an open source environment. It's simple, but it's a long process. You have to build the core competencies to be able to build the solution. This part is difficult, or, at least, can be difficult for some organizations.

We took approximately three months to run a POC (Proof Of Concept). Then, we started to work with it by covering one application stack. We have covered approximately three applications. This was done over the course of six months. 

However, how long it will take depends on the core competencies that you have and that you are working with. If you have the core competencies necessary, it would go pretty fast.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We are using the open source version, so there's been no need to build anything ourselves. We do not have a lot of casual issues, and, compared to other solutions like AppDynamics, Dynatrace, and New Relic, it's much cheaper. The costs are very, very affordable.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing, we compare the solution to Dynatrace, New Relic and App Dynamics. We had a demo for each solution and compared the prices. We notice that these solutions had almost the same functionnalities. The difference was probably in the effort cost to deploy and implement the different use cases. We choose Elastic for the pricing and the fact that it's include the stack for log and event management.

What other advice do I have?

We're a customer. We don't have a professional relationship with Elastic Path.

The solution is fantastic. I would rate it nine out of ten. It's practically perfect for our purposes and meets our needs. We still have to build it out. We're relatively new to using it.

To make it a perfect ten, for me, the ideal solution would be one that could automate a bit more for monitoring of our whole information system. If we could deploy something, and then discover automatically all our stacks or all of our infrastructure (like the one agent for Dynatrace), it would be perfect. 

Overall, I would recommend it. It's the most cost-effective. However, If you do not have an on-premise infrastructure, and you want to work on the cloud, or maybe you don't want to be involved in the management of the software as a service solution, you can look for software solutions like Dynatrace, AppDynamics, or New Relic.

New users will need to ask: do I have the core team with the core competencies? It may be the most cost-effective solution, however, it's really important to have the core competencies required, or you may run into issues.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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