Riverbed SteelCenter Aternity Review

​The data collected by the agents on each end point is the most valuable feature for us.


Improvements to My Organization

The data we have collected from monitored applications has shown that the problems we thought we were having were actually completely different in nature. We have been able to pinpoint performance issues related to certain activities, and because the monitor-writing tools are so extensible, we’ve been able to break activities down and see exactly which part is causing bottlenecks. We can then take that information to the app teams to discuss what can be done to make things better (i.e., optimize the queries that certain actions initiate, etc.).

Valuable Features

The data collected by the agents on each end point is the most valuable feature for us. There is so much valuable information that the agent can send back to the Aternity platform, and even though the dashboards that come out of the box with the installation aren’t always the most intuitive, we have been able to use the data itself for our own custom visualizations and reporting.

Room for Improvement

The dashboards and navigatability of the platform could use improvement. It often takes five or six clicks to drill down to exactly what you want to see, but many of our stakeholder groups have refused to use the tool because they perceive it as “too cumbersome” to get the information they need. As a Tableau developer myself, I’ve been able to provide certain customizations that have helped, but overall this is the biggest area of opportunity for improvement that I see with Aternity.

Stability Issues

We had no issues with stability.

Scalability Issues

This question isn't really applicable to us. We purchased 1500 licenses and currently don't even use 1/3 of those.

Customer Service and Technical Support

Customer Service:

Customer service is the best I have ever encountered from a software vendor. They're responsive, courteous, thorough, and share our sense of urgency in getting issues resolved.

Technical Support:

I'd rate technical support through the roof. There was one issue we were having with a certain .dll file that wasn’t working properly in our Citrix environment. It took over a month to finally reach resolution (it turned out we have some settings configured incorrectly within Citrix), and during that time the support team thoroughly and diligently investigated every piece of information we sent. They also connected us directly with the R&D department, who spent an hour with us doing a screen share, looking in our environment and explaining exactly why this problem was happening, and proposing several solutions (one of which worked, and we were able to fix it). They were professional, friendly, and knew their stuff!

Previous Solutions

Yes – we used CitraTest, which was a tool that allows you to generate and conduct synthetic transactions on a schedule. Tools like this have their place, but it wasn’t accomplishing what we really needed, which was to understand actual user experience and pain points. Additionally, this particular tool didn’t work the way the documentation stated, and their support team was rude, condescending, and actually in denial of the issues (even though I provided screen shots, timestamps, detailed documentation, etc.).

Initial Setup

The initial setup was mostly straightforward. The Citrix setup was a little more complicated, but that was partly because our Citrix admin left in the middle of the process and hadn’t completed all of the pre-installation checks.

Implementation Team

We implemented it in-house. An implementation engineer from Aternity came and spent four days with us, and we installed and implemented together. Then our team handled it from there.

ROI

I’m honestly not sure and I don’t know how we would even quantify that, because the process of analyzing performance has been so disorganized and touched by so many hands. We’ve had different tools, different teams, and no real protocol for handling any of it. But Aternity is helping a lot with that end of it.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

I advise that you buy more endpoints than you think you need, unless you’re already buying enough for the entire organization. One point of frustration for me has been the fact that we are only collecting a sample of data, and I’m not convinced that it’s completely representative of all problems a user could have. As for pricing, our management squeezed Aternity pretty hard on the pricing, in my opinion a little too much. I advise negotiating for sure, but I do think it left kind of a sour taste in Aternity’s mouth that we were being so pushy despite the fact that we were only purchasing a small number of licenses.

Other Solutions Considered

We didn’t – we did a cursory search for other tools to vet, but couldn’t find anything else that did what Aternity does, so we decided to test only that one.

Other Advice

Do it. You won’t regret it. And when you do it, make sure there’s someone in-house who is excited and willing to learn the product inside and out, because you will have SUCH a better experience with implementation and analysis.

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.
1 Comment
LarryReal UserTOP 20

Is everyone aware that Aternity now has a User Forum on Riverbed?
You can find it on the Riverbed forumn under SteelCentral and then Aternity
The link is splash.riverbed.com/community/product-lines/steelcentral/steelcentral-aternity

17 July 17
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