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SB
Global Monitoring & Tools Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 5
Provides insight on our application availability at the enterprise level

Pros and Cons

  • "Our application SREs do script checks in such a way that closely mimic our customers' actions using the platform. Because there are so many different ways and options to be able to configure checks to closely mirror your applications' capabilities, it provides a lot of optionality for teams to create the right type of check that can notify when there are any issues. At the end of the day, we want our monitoring tools to be able to catch any outage before our customers do. This is where Apica Synthetic does a great job."
  • "We have been focused on reducing polling times for synthetic checks. We have gone from 10 minutes down to five minutes for a pretty broad swath, but there is some appetite to reduce that further, which could be an improvement."

What is our primary use case?

Apica Synthetic is definitely one of our core pillars on the synthetic side. We also use synthetics as a measure of external customer application availability. So, we do a daily report internally, which goes out to the tech leadership team, showing how their applications are performing and how available they are. So, it is an integral part of our monitoring tools, and the synthetics are huge.

These are complex multi-step synthetic checks. The intent is to mirror as closely as possible the points and clicks or API/system-to-system calls that our customers are using. So, if anything is not operating properly, then teams are alerted who can triage and ultimately resolve the issue.

The primary use cases are SaaS, but we do have an on-prem environment for Apica Synthetic as well. That option is very helpful because we do have a number of applications that don't have external endpoints. For those use cases that are only accessible internally, we do leverage the Apica on-prem model. This allows flexibility when monitoring applications that we couldn't with a strictly SaaS deployment.

How has it helped my organization?

Apica Synthetic provides insight on our application availability at the enterprise level.

What is huge for us:

  • The availability of reporting.
  • Finding issues before our customers do.

What is most valuable?

Our application SREs do script checks in such a way that closely mimic our customers' actions using the platform. Because there are so many different ways and options to be able to configure checks to closely mirror your applications' capabilities, it provides a lot of optionality for teams to create the right type of check that can notify when there are any issues. At the end of the day, we want our monitoring tools to be able to catch any outage before our customers do. This is where Apica Synthetic does a great job.

There is definitely a lot of flexibility. I haven't run into any issues or heard of any issues from our SRE teams that said they weren't able to get Apica Synthetic to monitor or script in such a way where it monitored their applications effectively from a synthetic perspective. 

What needs improvement?

We have had some use cases come up, like when we have teams logging on through a VDI or multi-factor authentication where we have to think about things a bit differently. We are still working through how we might leverage Apica for those types of use cases. However, generally speaking, it has enough flexibility to be able to monitor the complex apps that we typically use it for.

We have been focused on reducing polling times for synthetic checks. We have gone from 10 minutes down to five minutes for a pretty broad swath, but there is some appetite to reduce that further, which could be an improvement. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Apica Synthetic for close to three years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability overall has been pretty good. We have had some isolated issues with a node going down here or there, but generally speaking, it has been good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Check frequency has been a scalability challenge for them. Other than that, scalability has been good. As far as geographic distribution of nodes, there are no issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

They have fantastic, outstanding technical support as well as outstanding account support in general. I can't say enough good things about the responsiveness from these teams. Whenever we have an issue, there is fantastic support.

How was the initial setup?

The initial deployment was relatively straightforward, though it is very different between SaaS and on-prem.

What was our ROI?

There is certainly reputational impact when applications go down and customers find that before you do. There is obviously revenue impact when an application is down and customers are not able to use it. Pick your favorite MTTX number, e.g., Mean Time To Detect or Mean Time To Repair, and having strong monitoring capabilities from a synthetic perspective is a big part of that.

Our ROI on Apica Synthetic is risk reduction. It has increased revenue due to improvements in the mean time to detect and mean time to repair that the solution brings to the table, minimizing downtime. That certainly all goes into our return on investment. At the end of the day, we wouldn't be using the tool if we didn't feel that it is providing a significant benefit to the organization.

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

License management is another area that Apica could do better. We have already had these conversations with our account teams. This is something that they are looking at largely improving in upcoming releases. I believe that this is already on their roadmap.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Frankly, there are other tools in the space, but we have subject-matter experts on Apica Synthetic now who know it well. We have a good relationship with our account team and have had it for multiple years. So, it is a fairly sticky platform. Where if we were going to a different tool, we would have to learn it. We have established relationships from business and contractual perspectives, and Apica Synthetic has met all our requirements from a synthetic perspective.

What other advice do I have?

We do some load testing internally on JMeter. I know that capability exists, and we have advertised that internally. I am just not sure how much traction that it has gotten just yet.

At the end of the day, it is a tool. You need to have teams using the tool correctly. That is just part of the onboarding and training, which is another thing that my team does. Generally speaking, if the script is instrumented correctly, then the results are correct as well.

We look at three broad strokes from a monitoring perspective: end user monitoring synthetics, application performance monitoring, and infrastructure monitoring. We look at those as three very separate pillars.

I would rate this solution as an eight (out of 10).

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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