Riverbed SteelCenter Aternity Review

The ability to monitor crash and health event issues at a user level is valuable. I think they need to focus more on ad-hoc and customized reporting.

How has it helped my organization?

Having data from the user perspective has helped us target our activities. Otherwise, we're operating off of a lot of anecdotal evidence. Users would say things like, "Oh, my computer's slow or it's crashing a lot." We wouldn't have that actual, quantifiable data from that user. We also wouldn't have it from the high-level perspective to understand.

What is most valuable?

There are two most valuable features:

  • The ability to monitor crash and health event issues at a user level
  • The ability to get performance data, customized performance data from our enterprise production apps, third-party apps, specifically like Microsoft and HP and so on

Most of the other APM solutions don't really monitor third-party apps as much. They can't go in and do the normal monitoring of, for example, Microsoft Word, or something similar.

What needs improvement?

I think they need to focus more on ad-hoc and customized reporting. They also need to allow the users to be able to create their own dashboards, rather than only be able to use what's out of the box. I do know that this is on their development roadmap, but those were the two things, from our perspective, that jump out.

I'd like to be able to pull data out of Aternity a little easier. It all comes in pretty nice looking charts and things, but we have a hard time pulling out hard data, which is usually what you'll need if you're trying to be actionable.

To deserve a higher rating, we would need some additional data, access to additional data around crashes, and they would need to add more robust reporting or ad-hoc reporting module and customizable dashboards.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I did not have any stability issues in this time span.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have not had any scalability issues. It's an awesome solution. From a performance perspective, we haven't seen any issues. The agents on each machine sometimes will start eating up too much CPU, but they have a self-moderator and if they do that, they shut off. We haven't had any issues there. From a data perspective, it gets more effective the more data you have, the more you scale up. No, there aren't any scalability issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have run into some issues and we have contacted technical support, which has been adequate. However, because it's such a short time frame, we're still often dealing with the implementation support team, rather than their standard support team. So I don't really know what their support would be like in a normal function.

We have a tech assigned to us, since we're still in the implementation phase. I can't really speak to what their standard support is like.

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

We were looking for the ability to get some performance data from our third-party enterprise apps, like our Microsoft Office, our internal document management system, and so on. We wanted some data on, from a user perspective, how long it was taking to open, how long it was taking to do specific tasks within the applications. We wanted some data to be used internally for SLAs and to develop KPIs and items of that nature. We have pictures from the backend, from a network or a server perspective, but we didn't have any user data. Collecting that data manually was pretty time-intensive and relatively inaccurate. With Aternity, we now have the data.

I think the next steps, since it's essentially a net new function, we have to start integrating the data as far as developing how we're going to handle SLAs and how we're going to handle the KPI reports and things like that. Immediately, we're using it also as a secondary function to assist with problem and incident identification and resolution, using it there as well to monitor crash data firm-wise and so on.

How was the initial setup?

Initial setup is pretty straightforward for the actual install. We used SCCM to deploy. That was pretty easy; it came in a pre-packaged MSI. I think the more difficult part is training and having your team members understand how to utilize the tool. Their training programs could probably use a little work. I'd say that was about it. From a technical perspective, the implementation was relatively seamless. But from a process perspective, especially if you're not replacing something, it was difficult. So we're still working through that.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure that you have a well-developed plan for integrating it with your existing processes before you roll it out. Other than that, I wouldn't say much. It's pretty easy to roll out and it's really just leveraging it as effectively as possible is what I think you want to make sure you focus on.

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
author avatarEngineer at a healthcare company with 10,001+ employees
Real User

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

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