Riverbed SteelCenter Aternity Review

The most valuable features for us are the ​Incident Management dashboard, Application Status dashboard, and Activity Analysis UI​.


Improvements to My Organization

The overarching value of the tool is its real-time accuracy, down to the user/host level. We use it for the front-line aspect which is so often discussed in the Aternity videos, or more specifically, to triage issues as they occur and determine whether the main problem is application, host, or network related.

Valuable Features

The most valuable features for us are the Incident Management dashboard, Application Status dashboard, and Activity Analysis UI.

Room for Improvement

The only thing I can say which has been frustrating are the Tableau workspace/dashboard options out-of-the-box, at least prior to version 8. A simple example: the US map can be ¼ of the dashboard, but there's no out-of-the-box full-screen US map which can show minor/major data points for business locations. And the ¼ screen widget of the US map is, of course, not by default expandable to the full screen. A trifle for sure, but annoying. I think this is addressed at v8, however our upgrade cycle lags so I can’t confirm for certain.

Stability Issues

We've had no issues with stability.

Scalability Issues

We've had no scalability issues from a pure agent-volume standpoint. However, the memory and CPU requirements of the Tableau server (also hosts the Tableau Aternity Gateway daemon) cannot be underestimated. 12GB of RAM and quad-core CPU was not sufficient.

Customer Service and Technical Support

We go through an Aternity business partner -- J9 Tech -- who is absolutely outstanding. In the cases where they have to open their own internal tickets with Aternity, the support is truly the best I’ve seen in my 18 years traveling, consulting, and fixing complex software issues across many different vendors. The degree to which Aternity customer support is proactive is off the charts. And the skill, speed, and precision of the technical support from both their implementation services team as well as their development team in Tel Aviv is simply par excellence — the best by a mile and in a class by itself.

Previous Solutions

We use NetIQ (base Windows host resource monitoring), HP’s BPM (synthetic trans scripting), and some of IBM’s ITCAM for Robotic Response Time, and we actually continue to use them for various business units which are accustomed to them. None have the level of granularity possible with Aternity for event/end-user monitoring or the level of real-time precision.

Initial Setup

The initial setup was very straightforward -- three-tier arch with all communications occurring upstream (Management Server implements agent config changes by touching a file to the aggregation servers -- tier2 -- which is then picked up not by a downcall to the agent, but by an upcall from the agent to the Agg server). Thus, network and firewall issues are vastly simplified.

Implementation Team

We did both with J9 Tech, the aforementioned Aternity business partner, as well as some in-house help from yours truly and a few colleagues.

ROI

Our ROI is not nearly as much as it could be as we’re only now getting our internal customers to use it for more than just triaging incidents or real-time problem analysis. Alerting, incident management, and reporting are woefully under-utilized as of yet for us.

Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing

It’s a little on the costly side, but if you license intelligently, accounting for your various hosts connecting in through VDI or terminal servers, you can make it well worth your money. The product quality will speak for itself.

Other Solutions Considered

I wasn’t involved before the P.O. was signed, but I hear we narrowed very quickly to Aternity based on recommendations like this one which we received from other prior customers.

Other Advice

Definitely ensure your internal customers/constituents are fully on board before rollout—network route and firewall issues can plague what should otherwise be a smooth deployment. Once deployment is complete you will be amazed how quickly valid, actionable data comes out of the UI.

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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