Please share with the community what you think needs improvement with Aternity.
What are its weaknesses? What would you like to see changed in a future version?
For me, the biggest problem is the price. It is not so much about how much it costs. It is about Aternity only giving you 12 months upfront. So, you got to purchase it for 12 months. A lot of our customers are on a per-user-per-month type billing. They are all OPEX rather than CAPEX. It would be a lot better for our customers if there was an option available for OPEX so that it is billed on a monthly basis than a yearly basis. They've got only Windows agents. They don't actually have mobile agents. It would be a lot better if they could also integrate Android and iOS because then we can start pulling steps and performance management out of users' mobile devices. That's the biggest addition I would suggest at the moment. A lot of our customers have desktops as well as tablets or mobile devices. We should be able to monitor that stuff as well.
I would like to get more granular detail. In regards to defining the applications and activities upfront, that can be challenging. Simplifying that would be a big win. One of the things that I know they are already working on is a verbose mode. Aternity does a great job of not impacting the device. It only sends up small bits of information at the time so it doesn't have a negative impact on the device itself. That also means that sometimes you want to get more data, but it's not giving it to you. However, being able to turn on a verbose mode so it could give us even more granular detail, at certain times, would be helpful. I think helping get to root cause would be really huge. One thing that Aternity is working on is its Insights and being able to inform us whether this type of model in this location, for example, performs worse. Getting those Insights automatically to the surface, which they are working on now, is a big improvement. One misconception that some people at our company have when they first hear about Aternity, or start using Aternity, they expect it to find a root cause. If an application crashes, they want to jump right into why that application crashed. Aternity doesn't come right out and tell you. It gives you the diagnostic that gives you the information about what happened. You still have to sometimes have to put together those pieces, going farther to get to the why. I don't know that there is a tool out there that does give you the root cause of any of these issues.
Potentially, the one thing that could probably help with better levels of enterprise adoption is around creating the application monitoring signatures. That process can be a little bit difficult. If one thing could be simplified a little bit, it would be the application monitoring signature creation process. But that's probably quite unfair because it's a super-technical thing, so it's difficult. There is no other tool that can do it in a simpler way. If there were something I would want to simplify or improve, it would be that, but even that would be quite unfair to demand of any product.
When it comes to a lot of the features that I would want, they will tell you they are in their SaaS version, which we don't use. We are planning to move to the SaaS solution to get those features. But the issue is how Aternity, as a company, works their roadmap. They put all the new features on the SaaS solution and that's where you get the latest and greatest stuff. But some of those features are not available for the on-premise users, which is what we are. Why not have those features available for on-prem users?
The reporting is okay, but the alerting and reporting could use some more polish. We can't alert on certain things that we'd like to. For example, if an application is using a certain percentage of processor resources for a specific period of time, then alert. It's not as extensible or flexible, on the alerting side of things, as we would like. You have to build out dashboards for everything and the Tableau back-end, while it's okay, is unique. They could probably improve that a little bit. If it did some additional correlation of problems, that would be helpful. For instance, capturing certain events and event IDs: If I have an application crash, it might report that the application crashed but that's about as far as it goes. It doesn't always give you event IDs or faulting module names. It doesn't go as deep as I would like it to go in correlating problems. It's not necessarily pointing you in the direction of what's causing the problem, for example, if it's a driver or, "Hey, I noticed this particular firmware was updated and followed by an increase in crashes. That could be your problem." It's left for you to be "Sherlock," but it's giving you the clues.
In version 7, there was a separate tab for certain applications where I could open five IE Explorer instances or pathways in Chrome, which I found really useful. It had memory consumption and CPU per process. We already indicated to Aternity that it would be helpful to have this again. Right now, the user information being displayed by Aternity is received from AD. Ideally, we would like to see integration with other sources for user information, like other databases, so we are not limited to AD.
We are waiting for the GA release of their agent. I hope they can do better when they release their endpoint agents. Right now, we are not able to measure some applications, core applications, because it's relying on a specific version of the agent and that agent has not come out yet and there's no ETA. I would like to see them speed up time to market when they release agents.
We don't feel that we get the back-end transaction details from Aternity. We have other tools that do that. Also, there is room for improvement in the granularity of the alerting and reporting. We would like to be able to alert on a defined set of users for a given application, for example, that all users in this group who are using this application are seeing low performance. And we would like it to provide comparisons of that to other users in a similar group that are not experiencing the issue. We would like the ability to alert and report on those types of specifics. I don't necessarily know what all the parameters are that I might want to use to slice that data, but our experience has been that within Aternity it's not always as granular as it needs to be. Version 11, with the Tableau reporting, offers some promise there. We're only a couple of weeks into Version 11, so we haven't fully implemented it. But that's something we're looking to improve with our new version, moving forward. The other place for improvement, as an on-prem, non-SaaS customer, is that the system administration and management in Aternity are very difficult. They've even told me that most of their support calls come in due to configuration and system administration on their on-prem. Their on-prem solution is not easy to use. I know it's not their focus, but for now they still have us and a lot of other customers using it, and they could improve that, rather than forcing wholesale, brand-new builds.
The process of doing the application recording is a bit cumbersome. It would be nice if there were a friendlier way to do that, or more predefined applications. Being able to add custom monitoring to dashboards would be nice. Right now, if you want to monitor the value of a registry key on your systems, to get that added into the dashboard you have to reach out to Aternity so they can start looking for that value. It would be interesting if that were more of a self-serve function.
Aternity does provide performance numbers, the data. However, it doesn't tell you what you can do about it. It just presents the facts. How to interpret the data, and how to draw conclusions from a lot of the data, requires knowledge and experience. That's the part that I would hope Aternity can continue to explore and give us that kind of capability. I understand it's challenging. A lot of things may not be due to a single factor or make it easy to draw out an action plan. If, for example, we look at the stability index and it's low, there could be many factors involved. Right now, Aternity doesn't tell you that maybe by doing this or that sequence you can improve your stability next. Not yet. That's the area I'm hoping for. For the time being, I'm developing the team who will have the experience and knowledge and provide that part of the capability. It is an area that I would love to see Aternity make more progress in, but I also understand it's challenging. There's definitely the room to continuously explore it. It requires very good experience with the hardware and also requires a lot of intelligence. It's going to be very exciting if Aternity can make more of a breakthrough in that area. We are also trying to integrate it with ServiceNow. We are still learning that process. It would be easier if they had more configurations or the capability to inject the logic into the interface. For example, right now Aternity creates alerts that can turn into ServiceNow tickets, but there are a few areas that can be improved. First, the alert is pretty much defined by Aternity. An alert has to be created to be converted to a ticket. But if I don't need to create an alert, can I make a dashboard and create certain parameters and convert from those parameters into a ticket? That would be very powerful. Right now, only alerts can convert to tickets. Second, when they convert to tickets, it would be helpful if they put in a lot more logic which we can easily configure. For example, when a user is from a certain region, it would be good if we could automatically assign the issue to the specific IT group in that region. We are still working on this. Right now, the scripts for the integration are still rather complex and we are still trying to understand this part. On another topic, if they had an easier way to claim back a license, that would be beneficial to us, but it may not be very beneficial to Aternity, because we might not need to buy so many licenses. For some computers, once we finish troubleshooting, we probably don't need Aternity on them all the time.
Maybe they could extend coverage. Right now it is only for mobile, desktop, and web. If they could extend it to point-of-sale devices, that would be helpful. For example, your local floral shop has a scanner. I want to know what the performance of that device is like. It may be slow. Or when you go to pump gas and the screens are slow, these are the kinds of point-of-sale that we could start troubleshooting. That would be a nice feature. Also, when it comes to what is called creating signatures, it's not easy for a non-coding person for desktop applications. You need to run the recording and you need to have some exposure and knowledge. That is an area where they can improve. For web applications, they have the Web Activity Creator and that's an awesome and easy tool. Anybody can use it and capture the signatures. With the desktop applications it's a little more cumbersome and difficult. Aternity provides visibility into the employee device and into application transactions all the way through the back-end, but it does not support that at a high level. It's not really detailed, but for support people it is helpful so that they can tell if the problem is with the end-user PC, the network, or maybe the back-end. But when you talk about the Waterfall details, it's not providing any. If they could include that, it would be great.
What do you like most about Aternity?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with the community!
With so many APM tools available, it can be hard for businesses to choose the right one for their needs.
With this in mind, what is your favorite APM tool that you would happily recommend to others?
What makes it your tool of choice?