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Buyer's Guide
Alluvio Aternity vs. Nexthink
July 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Alluvio Aternity vs. Nexthink and other solutions. Updated: July 2022.
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Balaji Surikapuram - PeerSpot reviewer
Team Lead - IT Collaboration at a retailer with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20Leaderboard
Provides us with real-time monitoring and covers desktop applications
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature is the alerting. As soon as we click on an incident, it takes us directly to the problematic PC. It's a direct solution. We click on an alert and it takes us to the incident details. The details show in different colors, in a graphical representation, and I like that the most."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

Because we are in retail, we have a lot of store-facing applications and they have some performance issues. We really want to know how an application is behaving at the endpoint, from the end-user perspective. We support Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and all the Microsoft SaaS products.

How has it helped my organization?

If a user was having any issues they used to call us. After we installed Aternity it helped by sending advanced alerts so we can proactively look at the issues, whether it's an issue with the PC, the network, or the back-end. It's a nice tool.

The solution provides metrics about actual employee experience with business-critical apps. We have used this feature to measure employee experience before and after changes to applications, in a few cases. Microsoft products are in the cloud and Microsoft releases a lot of changes. Teams is an example, as is SharePoint. They release a lot of patches and we were able to see them, before and after. We chose a nice graphic to show the before and after for the response time. I like this response-time graph. It's very useful and beneficial for any code changes.

It also helps to reduce hardware refresh costs by considering the actual employee experience, rather than just the age of employees' devices. In our teams, a lot of people are complaining about an issue with device memory. The recommended amount is 8 GB to 16 GB. People who have 8 GB are complaining. But looking at the PC, it's not just a RAM issue. It may be due to other challenges, issues with the back-end or network. It depends, in each case. But we can really see, if we run a report on those running 8-GB-memory PCs, whether there is good performance or not. Maybe one or two of those PCs are not doing well, but the remaining ones are good. I don't have details on how much it has saved us in refresh costs, but we have around 200 PCs and upgrading all 200 PCs' memory with 16 GB or 32 GB could cost a lot. It's not viable for any company to upgrade each and every PC's memory.

When employees complain of trouble with applications or devices, Aternity enables us to see exactly what they see as they engage with apps. In fact, we get advanced notice. So rather than the user complaining, we get to know in advance and will see what the hiccups are. We can correlate the user experience. It makes troubleshooting easy. At a high level, the application support teams who don't know much about coding can tell if it is an issue with the data center or the back-end network. It can tell them the root cause at a high level. And if there is any outage it will also tell them that. If the application is down, they'll know how long it's been down. It mainly plots out a graph and shows what time it started, what time it ended, how many users were impacted, and how many business locations were impacted.

We can look into a lot more details about Microsoft Teams, specifically the audio or the video, and we can look at network stats on it.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the alerting. As soon as we click on an incident, it takes us directly to the problematic PC. It's a direct solution. We click on an alert and it takes us to the incident details. The details show in different colors, in a graphical representation, and I like that the most. 

To give an example, we have a SharePoint portal and we configured about 15 banners. If any one of them is breaching the threshold of the number of users, any support person can easily click the incident and nail what the root cause is by looking at the graphical representation. It may be the network or another issue.

There are a lot more features for troubleshooting and monitoring and a few other tabs are available, nicely presented. 

The beauty of this product is that it does support desktop. I've seen a lot of products and they have synthetic monitoring, but they're not real-time. Aternity is real-time and it covers desktop applications. An APM may not help, but a real end-user solution like this is helping us with any issues on the desktop. The thin client is running on the local machine, so we need to know what's happening at the end-user machine. This is another one of the features I like. 

Another nice feature is that we can customize a lot of dashboards using Tableau.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Aternity for about one-and-a-half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is stable. I haven't seen any issues, other than a few outages. They were able to fix them on-the-fly.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scaling is very easy because it's a SaaS product. If you want to add more endpoints, it's easily achievable. In terms of increasing deployment it all depends how you're going to handle it: manual or automated. On a scale of one to 10, scaling is a seven to eight. It's easily scalable.

We currently have 200 users, meaning 200 stores. But we have about 3,000 stores. Even if there are only two or three pieces per store, that would be around 10,000 endpoints.

Maintenance is very minimal. One person is more than enough for maintaining 1,000 or even 10,000. The development is a one-time effort, and after that it is all maintenance. It's just administration: installing the endpoints, making sure endpoints are talking to each other, and configuring any new applications.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their support is good. They respond on time.

The transition from Riverbed was smooth. Aternity was acquired by Riverbed and now it's a different entity. But we didn't see any difficulty or hiccups. The transition was easy and I haven't seen any difference in the support, other than that the support portals were all changed. Riverbed has its own URL.

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

We used AppDynamics, but it's purely for application performance from the data center, not the end-user. We did not have any tool and we had a lack of end-user visibility.

We tried synthetic monitoring. It's like there is a PC sitting and running a few scripts at several intervals. But if there is an issue and we want to get real-time stats, synthetic monitoring lacks that. For example, if the network seems to be good at 10 o'clock and the back-end and PC seems to be good, but at 11 o'clock the network is slow, you only know the 10 o'clock stats. At 11 o'clock you don't know what happened. Aternity has 

  • real-time monitoring
  • very good alerting 
  • ServiceNow integration. 

How was the initial setup?

Setting up the process is very straightforward. All you need to do to install is double click a link. The user does that. And from an admin perspective, it's very easy for web applications. You directly punch in a URL and it can monitor based on the thresholds.

The complexity is only with the desktop application configuration and we need to do that to capture business activities. It requires some expertise. It's not as easy for someone from the support team. You need some development knowledge.

Because this is SaaS, it's not on-prem, all you need to do is procure the license. For the endpoints you can do it manually or use automation. The time it takes to deploy depends on the number of endpoints. We use Radia to deploy to 200 endpoints and do any upgrades. It's a straightforward process. It also depends on the number of applications. For one application and between 100 and 500 endpoints, it might take four weeks or so.

Some customization may be needed and that has to be done by Aternity's SaaS team. For example, if you want to do location mapping or fast tenant configuration for Microsoft Teams, there is a process for talking to any external SaaS tenant. We had to do some customization on this, importing certificates.

What was our ROI?

We have not seen ROI on a large scale because we are planning to go with this on a large scale. We are just doing 200 endpoints. But it is definitely helping us.

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

Pricing depends on the number of endpoints. With only 200 endpoints, which is what we have, it may be a little expensive. But I think pricing is negotiable; that's what I heard from sales.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

There are other products for this kind of functionality, but for our use case there is no such tool because we are directly looking at the user PC, rather than comparing how much detail someone else might give us. If you are having an issue, I am looking directly at your PC and seeing what happened during that time frame. I can see resource consumption on the PC for that process; Aternity's resource consumption data is very good. And it also has basic remediation, such as restarting the process, emptying the recycle bin. We haven't done much, but there are so many features available.

We tried Microsoft monitoring itself and AppDynamics synthetic monitoring and there was one more product that we did a PoC with as well. Other solutions we looked into were not real-time monitoring solutions and that's the primary reason that we selected Aternity.

What other advice do I have?

I would definitely recommend this product if you're looking to get on-time, real-time alerts from the end-user point of view. Your application may be good with hosting in Azure or AWS, but when it comes to the end-user, it's important to know how your application is behaving. What is the performance like? What is the user interaction like with your application?

It is not only for monitoring. At an enterprise level, the 10,000-foot overview, we can see a lot more details. We can generate a lot more stats for the enterprise. We can see the software inventory and how long it has been in use. For example, if anybody is using Microsoft Visio or Word, the licensed products, we can decide to move them from inventory and save some money. We can also look at how the Macs are performing compared to Windows. We can run queries and it can generate a lot more data about the end-user.

We are dependent on Aternity. We get daily alerts and they help my administration team and my support team a lot. They get to know things in advance and that way they can isolate the problem and start working on it.

I would rate the solution at eight out of 10. The two points that I'm not giving it are because a little development knowledge is required for configuring desktop applications, and to create some dashboards you need some Tableau knowledge. It doesn't require much scripting; it's easy, drag-and-drop, but people should be aware that some development knowledge is required for creating advanced dashboards.

Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
Zoilo Amoranto - PeerSpot reviewer
Service Designer at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20Leaderboard
The beauty is in the metrics, enabling our teams to improve device and application performance
Pros and Cons
  • "DEM-Q (Digital Experience Management Quadrant) is very useful. This is where they stand out with their dashboard, because it gives us a picture of how our company is doing compared to the other businesses out there."
  • "There are also built-in activities that let you measure things like preview mail, open address book, and send mail. Those are the activities that we are able to get measurements on, and those are things we have not seen in other software monitoring tools."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We have a big number of devices and we use it to get a pulse check of how our desktops or workstations are behaving across the enterprise. We don't have it on every device. We have it scattered across all locations where we have a presence. We get metrics such as CPU information, memory utilization and, most importantly, the application performance that comes out-of-the-box with Aternity.

Let's say we release new hardware. We have a testing team and they want to see how applications will behave on that new hardware. They install Aternity and they look at the metrics — the CPU, memory utilization, and application response times. That's how a lot of our businesses use it. There's another area where we just focus on how our application is behaving. So the two core uses are hardware performance, based on a new release of hardware, and application performance, regardless of the hardware.

We used to have the on-prem Aternity solution, but now we are using their SaaS solution.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the features that Aternity has is the boot time. It measures how long a workstation takes from when you first power it on until the device is usable. We were able to provide our engineers and our developers that information. We've seen situations where these services are taking a longer time. These applications take up some of the CPU. We've shown them the data and they have come and said, "Okay, we can probably improve in this area."

The business or department that is responsible for that software or device can look at the actual metrics that we are able to provide and say, "Okay, this is actual data, not just anecdotal data from users who say, "My email is slow." They can act on it. That's the beauty of it, the metrics.

DEM-Q (Digital Experience Management Quadrant) is very useful. This is where they stand out with their dashboard, because it gives us a picture of how our company is doing compared to the other businesses out there. We're one of the big five or six banks in Canada. We are able to see how we are doing compared to the other financial industry companies out there. We don't want to compare ourselves to, let's say, technology companies or retail companies. We can compare ourselves with the financial industry. At the same time, we can also compare ourselves with the rest of the globe, but in our case, having that ability to compare ourselves with other financial industry companies is important.

What is most valuable?

The application monitoring is the most important feature. For example, how long does it take to open Outlook, or how long does it take to send an email or preview mail? How long does it take to open Word? When it comes to launch time, how quick is the application?  We use that for a lot of our Microsoft applications. The ability to measure response time is the best feature.

There are also built-in activities that let you measure things like preview mail, open address book, and send mail. Those are the activities that we are able to get measurements on, and those are things we have not seen in other software monitoring tools.

Aternity enables us to see exactly what employees see as they engage with apps. That means we use Aternity in a reactive mode. When we get a call to our help desk saying a machine is slow or acting up or not behaving as expected, we monitor the device for a couple of days, and then we make our diagnosis based on the reports. We use Aternity to troubleshoot user complaints.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've gone through many iterations of their software. We have been using it for at least five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any outages of the SaaS environment, but what we're struggling with now is the stability of the agent. We've been using a GA version. They came out with a beta version and another beta version only to scale back and remove the beta version. Now we're back to the GA version. The back-end of the SaaS is solid. It's the connector, the agent piece, where we are struggling. I have been opening tickets with Aternity because we are not getting, rather we're losing data. Our endpoints are not reporting data the way they did before when we had a more stable version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Because it's a SaaS version, it can easily adapt and scale. If we have 2,000 agents, we can easily scale to 10,000 and to 50,000 without having to consider the back-end. Scaling is very easy. I trust that their back-end will support when we scale up.

We are licensed for 2,000 end-points and we are currently using 1,000. We are waiting for the GA version of the agent before we can utilize the other 1,000. I don't want to use the remaining 1,000 on an unstable agent.

How are customer service and technical support?

Aternity's technical support is excellent. When you open a case, you get a response right away. I find their technical support very responsive.

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

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very straightforward. We signed on with our Microsoft Azure environment and had access to the SaaS version. We got the metadata. We integrated this metadata with our Azure, set it up on our Azure side, and off we went. It's very simple.

Deployment took about two weeks, including deployment of agents. It's not just a one-day task to deploy the agents. There were multiple deployments. That included setting up the single sign-ons and the dashboard.

To manage the environment we have two people involved right now, managing the console. But when it comes to the tool for getting reports and metrics, there are about 15 to 20 people doing so in different lines of business. 

What about the implementation team?

We did it ourselves, in-house.

What was our ROI?

We have seen return on our investment with Aternity. We've seen how our applications behave, especially the core applications, so we are getting a very good return on our investment.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at a competitor, Lakeside SysTrack, but I found that Aternity gave more bang for our buck and it was going to give us the information that we need.

What other advice do I have?

Evaluate it, look at the pros and cons, define what you're looking for and, if it fits your needs, go for it. It's a very helpful tool to have in the bag. I would highly recommend it.

The biggest lesson I have learned from using Aternity is how our core applications behave. Before, we did not have any sort of metrics. Now, we have visibility into how our applications behave so we can actually tell the owners of the applications how to improve their applications.

Aternity has its own calculation for measuring user experience. Out-of-the-box, it does measure the user experience for Microsoft Office suite and the browsers that are out there:  Microsoft Edge, IE, and Chrome. It gives you a number, and it's just a good number to see, but it doesn't really tell you the whole picture. If it gives us a rating of nine, what does that really mean?

User experience is very hard to quantify because it's an aggregate score of different measurements, but it does give you an indicator of how your applications are performing. But for me, the true metric is the response time, the actual numbers that show when the user opens Outlook that it takes three seconds. For me, that's a better definition, than a rating of one to 10, for user experience. I'm not discounting Aternity's user experience metric because that is the way their competitors do it as well.

In terms of the solution providing visibility into the employee device and into application transactions all the way through the back-end, it's "yes" and "no." The solution does provide workstation performance matrix — CPU, memory, I/O read, I/O write, and network information. For all the way to the back-end, they have another solution, an APM that we are not currently utilizing. If we integrate our Aternity with APM, that's when we'll see from endpoint all the way to the back-end. But because we don't have the integration with the APM, we only see the front-end. We don't see all the way to the server side.

Aternity hasn't helped us to reduce hardware refresh costs by considering actual employee experience rather than just the age of the employees' devices because we've always had some sort of logic for when we refresh our device. It's a three-year cycle for our desktops and a four-year cycle for our laptops. Aternity has not changed that model.

The fact that other solutions may provide deeper visibility into device performance comes down to a few factors. Price — how much that other solution costs; ease of use — how easy it is to deploy to our fleet; and the quality of data. I'm sure that there are other tools out there that can do what Aternity's doing, but in our case, we are happy. We are satisfied with the data we're getting from Aternity, with its ease of use and how agents are deployed.

Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
Endpoint Administration Manager at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Makes us more proactive - we can determine how many users could be affected by a problem reported by one user
Pros and Cons
  • "We've looked at the Digital Experience Management Quadrant (DEM-Q) to see how our digital experience compares to others who use the solution. We have used that to see how we are trending and it gives us some insight into areas that we might need to focus more on. That's helpful."
  • "Aternity doesn't currently provide metrics about actual employee experience of all business-critical apps. It's something you have to build out. It's not 'canned' that way and there is a lot of configuration that you have to do to the environment to collect the data you want to collect and that is important to you."

What is our primary use case?

Within our company, we have approximately 2,700 users and around 3,000 devices. We primarily use Aternity on our mobile laptop fleet, which includes about 1,200 devices. We use it to get insights into usability and user-experience on those devices.

We use it to monitor applications, application performance, for alerting of system errors, troubleshooting, tracking changes and how they've affected the performance. We use it for all the functions of the platform to give us that visibility.

We're using the SaaS version.

How has it helped my organization?

Without a tool like this, that can give you insights into how things are behaving, you can't really see that from an IT administrator's perspective. Oftentimes, an IT user will call and say, "I'm having this problem," or, "I had this problem yesterday." Without having the device there in front of you, it's sometimes very difficult to get the details. This platform has given us a lot of those details. It's always on and listening as long as the device is in use. We can jump back in time and say, "What happened around this time? Oh, we can see this application crashed." It helps a lot with the troubleshooting of problems, and trending and determining how widespread a particular problem is. It helps us prioritize problems appropriately. If we see that one person is having a problem, it's obviously isolated, it's not a wider spread application problem. It gives us that visibility.

As we have problems being reported through our service desk, this gives us a way to go back and determine how many users could be affected. We can shift from reactive to more proactive and watch for certain things like blue screens or application crashes. It's helped us better prioritize our problems as a result of having that visibility.

It's making us aware of where we should be spending our time. There are certainly time-savings in the sense that we're not spending time on things that aren't unnecessary.

Also, the ability to compare benchmarks has affected our decisions about IT investments. It's something that we have used and will use as we adopt new technologies, to understand the performance hits of the application. While we haven't realized the full return in that regard, it's something that we will.

In addition, it has reduced the mean time to mediation. I can't give you a metric because it's not something we're actively tracking right now.

What is most valuable?

We've looked at the Digital Experience Management Quadrant (DEM-Q) to see how our digital experience compares to others who use the solution. We have used that to see how we are trending and it gives us some insight into areas that we might need to focus more on. That's helpful. It's a new feature. 

It gives you the ability to filter the comparison by geography, industry, or company size. Obviously, I'm not going to compare myself to another area that may not be relevant and that doesn't run similar applications to those we do as a financial sector company. I wouldn't say it's not valuable, but I wouldn't say it's super-valuable to us as a company. Others might feel differently.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Aternity for about a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been fine. The platform is always available. Occasionally, we get weirdness with certain dashboards not loading, and we have to refresh the screen, but nothing too major there. 

We haven't had any major issues with it not being available or being usable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There are no concerns with scalability, given that it's a SaaS platform. (I know they do offer an on-prem). 

To my knowledge, we're well below any threshold or level that we need to be concerned with. For our environment size, it's just fine.

It is only on a fraction of our devices. It's all of our laptop fleet, which is somewhere on 1,200 or 1,300 devices, currently. Beyond that, we could be deploying this within our virtual desktop environment. We could be deploying it to our physical desktops, to get that same visibility. This is just where we started, where we had the biggest need.

Our timeframe for scaling it to other devices is unknown, at this point. There isn't an urgent need, like there was for laptops, because of the nature of the device being very mobile and off-network. It could be 12-plus months before we expand our usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

Our experience with their tech support has been good. There have not been any concerns or problems that we haven't been able to get solved through their support.

We haven't had to open a ton of tickets. We're self-sufficient in many ways. A lot of times, what we did for the concerns or the questions we had was to engage with our Professional Services administrator or a contact at Aternity who was dedicated to us, through that time period. Since then, we haven't really had any problems or anything we've had to open up tickets for.

Dealing with the salespeople, my impression is that they were very professional. They weren't overly pushy and we appreciated that. They were very flexible and ultimately wanted the solution to work for us before they were trying to just push it on us. We work with plenty of other vendors that are in there for the quick sale and then back out. I haven't experienced that with Aternity. Our sales rep was fantastic and had a good mindset. Dealing with them has been an enjoyable experience.

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

We didn't have any solution. It didn't displace anything. It was brand-new.

We went with it because, in our environment, we became a lot more mobile. We replaced desktops with laptops, and for a device that's not always on our network, or a device that's not even within our reach physically, it became clear that we needed something that would help us monitor for certain problems. We also needed something to help us understand the consistency of our environment and the usability, as well as the experience of the end-users from their perspective. Especially with COVID this year and having a very remote workforce because of COVID, that additional visibility was necessary.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup, as far as deploying the agents and collecting the data goes, is very straightforward. It's pretty simple. You basically download an agent and, using your other modern management tools to deploy a software package out to your fleet, it's going to start checking in. It's just what you do with the data after you've got the agents deployed and collected, that requires a little bit more heavy lifting.

Altogether, our deployment took about three months. Part of that was due to COVID, which caused us to take a break. We did a long PoC of it, and I include that in our year-long time of use. But as actual paying customers, it's only been since the end of last year or beginning of this year. Of that three months it was probably really about a month-and-a-half of actual deployment.

I had two sysadmins involved in the setup and they're taking care of the maintenance of the solution.

What about the implementation team?

We used Aternity's services and engaged with them to go through the setup and configuration of the environment.

What was our ROI?

We have absolutely seen ROI. We did not have any visibility. We were completely disconnected from what was really going on in our fleet. This has really given us that visibility. We can understand problems and impact in scoping them in our environment, and we can understand how the configuration changes we're making are affecting that performance. It's really given us a very high level of visibility that we've just not ever had.

We haven't really yet realized a cost savings from the solution, but where it has probably helped us improve is in reducing the mean time to resolution, by giving us that visibility. It is also helping us to focus on the things that matter the most, that are moving the needle, and not the things that are just an island and not widespread.

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

Regarding cost, compared to other solutions, Aternity is pretty low. It's definitely lower-cost than others that we looked at, like Nexthink. Nexthink was a very expensive solution. The cost is reasonable. It's what I would expect a solution like this to be. It's definitely not on the higher end, that's for sure.

If you do the hosted solution, there is a hosted SaaS-type fee, per license, but it is pretty minimal.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at a bunch of other products and we didn't see any other product that gave us any greater detail. The challenge with Aternity is that you have to build a dashboard for everything you do. The back-end they use is a Tableau back-end and for someone who has never worked in that type of an environment, like some of my team members, my sysadmins, it can be a little bit of a learning curve.

We've looked at AppDynamics and Nexthink. ControlApp is another platform we use internally that we looked at using here. However, these devices are Azure-AD joined and it couldn't work there.

As far as AppDynamics goes, it's really focused on a company that does a lot of internal development, developing its own applications and platforms. You have to wrap your code with their APIs so that it can collect that data for those types of activities, like load times and activity times: "I clicked on this button, how long did it take to actually get a response?" That was the negative for us. My team doesn't develop and, as a company, we don't do a lot of development work that my team supports. So that eliminated it. 

It was really about the end-user experience angle and getting visibility into how our environment is performing. How are the changes we're making affecting the end-user? We needed more of an end-user perspective than AppDynamics gives you. 

Nexthink is a similar product, but a lot of what they do is web-based activities. It's not necessarily as in-depth as Aternity. It can give you an experience score, but it's more of a web-based, HTTP call format, that it gives you the data on. It didn't have the depth that we needed to give us the visibility to really help us understand our environment and the impact of the changes we're making. That's part of the reason why we eliminated it as a contender.

What other advice do I have?

Be prepared that you're going to have to build it out to fit your environment and make sure that the expertise is there to understand how to do that. My advice would be to engage their Professional Services. They were really good. The gentleman who helped us was top-notch, and if he didn't have the answers he received the answers for us. That would be my recommendation to help realize the return on investment and get the visibility and the data in the format that you want to see it. That's pretty essential.

The biggest lesson we've learned from using Aternity is that a tool like this is absolutely necessary for you to understand your environment. If you ever want to be a proactive company that is trying to get ahead of problems, then you have to have something like this. It gives you that visibility. Without it, you're going to be in the dark and left to people reporting problems through your service desk. That's the biggest learning experience from having this platform.

Aternity doesn't currently provide metrics about actual employee experience of all business-critical apps. It's something you have to build out. It's not "canned" that way and there is a lot of configuration that you have to do to the environment to collect the data you want to collect and that is important to you.

We plan on growing that side of it. We've only had it for about a year, and since a lot of those things are very unique and specific to an environment, it's not an easy thing where you just click a couple buttons and say, "Now, start looking at this." You have to build it out, and that's one of the pluses and minuses about the platform. There is a basic set of applications that it's monitoring. It's looking at specific activities, such as time to open an application or a certain activity to create a new message or an email within an application. That basic, canned stuff is there, but it requires you to build those out and it's something that's unique to their product, the way that they work it. It's a positive and negative.

Aternity doesn't enable us to see exactly what employees see as they engage with apps. There's a little bit of heavy lifting to build out those activities. It's not like, out-of-the-box, it's going to show you everything. It collects a lot of data but presenting the data is up to the administrator and how you use the data. It's not going to necessarily point you to problems, but may help you correlate problems. It does gather the data, but it's not always in a format that's going to make sense to you. The key there is that it's extensible and it's flexible enough to give you the data that's important to you. But it requires the administrator to have a fairly in-depth level of knowledge, using their tools, to build these activities.

In terms of visibility into the employee device and into application transactions, all the way through to the back-end, it's really more end-user facing. It's from the perspective of the end-user. Think about it in terms of on a laptop or desktop and the things that users might do within there. You have to build that out.

Overall, I would rate Aternity an eight out of 10. It's looking at things from the end-user's perspective, not from a specific application's perspective, although you can do that too. But you try to understand how the applications and things being used are affecting the user's experience. It's all about the end-user experience, where other platforms are not necessarily there. They might just be helping you troubleshoot problems as they come up. It's not higher than an eight because there's still room for improvement. There could be some additional things built for you, out-of-the-box. Certainly building those dashboards is not the most intuitive thing. There's a little bit of a learning curve there.

Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
Ryan Du Plessis - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of Cyber Security Engineering & Oversight at a media company with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20Leaderboard
Not only helped us know which devices to refresh, but helped us determine if a refresh was even necessary, with factual data
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable thing that you get from Aternity is very broad visibility. You get visibility of your network, of your endpoints, of your software usage, your application performance, capacity, in one pane of glass. We had 20 to 30 IT tools, including application performance monitoring, network monitoring, security, endpoint detection, network protection, capacity management, service management — every kind of monitoring you can imagine. But Aternity was always the first place that I turned for anything, because you can see everything in it."
  • "We could resolve issues that they had been facing for months or years. They had been having the same issues, the same performance problems, whether it was Excel taking a long time to load, or network instability, or voice call problems, and we would fix it in minutes, in front of them in a meeting, with absolute confidence. It would just blow their minds."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

The initial use case was purely endpoint performance monitoring, but one of the key things that really shone about Aternity as a product was that the use cases were extremely broad. It became, without a doubt, our most important asset management tool.

It was used for productivity management — that was also a very strong use case. 

Another use case was compliance and security, because one of the key things that we started to leverage it for was monitoring when people were turning off or disabling antivirus products. We could measure that with Aternity and then take action. It was really great at compliance and security.

We also used it for application performance, obviously. It provided super-deep levels of insight into applications through performance tracking.

We also used it for cost reduction when it came to unused, licensed software. Adobe was a big one; Visio, Project, Access, etc. We managed to drop our spend quite heavily by using it for that.

How has it helped my organization?

One of the key benefits was when it came to buying. From a procurement team perspective, very often what would happen was that when they were going to buy new IT hardware, they would go to a couple of vendors — big names, like Microsoft, Apple, etc. — and the vendors would give them half a dozen test devices each, and then they would deploy those to various people and wait for feedback. Normally, the feedback would be very human and very speculative. More than likely, the person who got the super-shiny, super-sexy MacBook Pro or Surface Pro, would say, "Yeah, I really like it. It's amazing. It does the job." But what we were actually able to do with Aternity was scientifically measure which asset was giving us the best performance for the spend.

We actually found, in some instances, that it wasn't always the most expensive laptop that was performing the best. It was the one that actually managed to run the company's image optimally. We were able to really save when it came to spending, and do so scientifically. We did not need to solicit feedback from people. The feedback was present in the tool. So when it came to buying, we knew exactly what to buy, at the right price point, for that performance. There were big savings there.

Another key thing that we weren't anticipating saving a lot of money on was network capacity. There were some really interesting dashboards that you can get to in Aternity, out-of-the-box, no configuration needed. They showed top talkers on a per-site basis. If you've got a really distributed organization — our company had offices in 200 countries — each country will procure network infrastructure from whichever incumbent in that nation is the easiest or the cheapest or the best one to get it from. You end up with a very complicated network. In the third-world regions, it's a lot of ADSL. In the more metropolitan areas, in first-world countries, you're getting expensive lease line, or fibre, or dark fibre. For traditional network monitoring solutions, it can become quite challenging, especially when bandwidth and things like that are changing regularly. But what Aternity would allow us to do is actually see individuals who were taxing the network from an endpoint perspective, and we could tackle that on an individual-by-individual basis.

We could also give advice to local IT leaders on whether or not their bandwidth was appropriate for what they were doing. In some instances, we were able to tell people that they could actually shrink the capacity that they were paying for because it was unnecessary. There were all sorts of "edge" use cases. Your ability to save money and to improve performance and to improve productivity with Aternity, is limited only by the imagination of the team that is in charge of the tool.

The solution also provides metrics about actual employee experience of all business-critical apps, rather than just a few. You need to create signatures so that the tool can monitor them appropriately, but it is very agnostic. You need to point Aternity at the thing that you want visibility into, and it gives you exactly that, and in the ways that you want it. You're measuring it from the user, from the inside out, and from the outside in. It gives you very different levels of perspective compared to standard, traditional IT monitoring tools that you use: SNMP, pings, polls. Those conventional, old-world metrics are very easy to dispute as an end-user. If you're an end-user and your experience is bad, someone telling you that the network is up and running and okay doesn't really help you. Someone telling you that the server is good doesn't help you either. It's the perspective of the monitoring with Aternity that really changed the dynamic, because all of a sudden you're able to see things from the end-user's experience. So there are far fewer occasions when you are arguing with your end-user and saying, "No, we don't see an issue." You're far more a proponent of that person's experience. You can tell much more quickly exactly what those issues are that they are experiencing.

We also used its Digital Experience Management Quadrant (DEM-Q) to see how our digital experience compared to others who use the solution. Aternity were probably one of the earlier adopters of a strategy where they would allow customers to baseline their experience against a wider marketplace. It's becoming more prevalent in other tool sets that I see across big enterprise, but it was at least 18 months ago that we started to see Aternity providing us with that capability. It was very interesting because one of the things that some of the bigger industry consultancies, like Forrester, try to do, is create "industry monoliths," where you can baseline against people within your industry. Media companies will look at other media companies; industrial transport and logistics organizations can then benchmark against each other. But where Aternity, and some of the other vendors that are doing this at the moment, brings something quite new to the marketplace, is that you're benchmarking against everyone. That allows you to really see whether what you're doing is correct for you as an organization. Are you getting the results that you need for the money you're spending?

Using DEM-Q undoubtedly affected our decisions about IT investments. It's always very difficult, especially at a large enterprise, to know that you're doing the right thing. When you go into a big purchase, especially for someone who is head of enterprise or head of IT, a key consideration is, "Am I spending the money wisely? Am I going to get return on investment?" If you are able to benchmark against your industry peers and see that you're doing the right thing, that in itself is a validation. It's a validation that you're headed in the right direction. It's a validation that you're spending the money appropriately for the improvements that you're getting.

It can also potentially help you to avoid spending money unnecessarily, because there are certain components, certain aspects of your stack, where you would need to invest heavily to get a small gain. The tool can allow you to look at whether or not that is a necessary investment. "Do I need to upgrade everyone's memory chips from 8 GB to 16 GB?" If you've got 8,000 devices, and an 8 GB memory chip costs you $100, you're looking at close to a million bucks. The tool can show you through its own metrics, and through the baselines against your industry peers, that maybe that's not a worthwhile investment. That million dollars is going to get you 5 percent, and that 5 percent is not necessarily really worth it. Outlook is going to open one second faster. Do you want to spend a million bucks so that everyone can get their emails one second faster? It's that kind of thing that makes decision making much more clinical, much simpler. When I'm sitting in front of a director and he says, "Why do you want this much money?" I want to be able to stand behind that request and say, "If I spend it, this is what you're going to get." That kind of ability to baseline, not only against your own org, but against industry peers, means that when you have those conversations, you can say those things much more confidently.

We saved on hardware refresh by considering the actual employee experience, but it was not only that. Traditionally, with refresh, there is one single metric that IT departments use for going after assets that need refreshing, and that is age. Age is the number-one metric. If you've got 10,000 devices and you get enough budget to replace, say, 1,000 of them, 99 percent of big enterprises are going to go for the oldest 1,000 devices in the estate. That's completely wrong. Just because they're the oldest, it doesn't mean they're the worst. What we were doing with Aternity was targeting the 1,000 least-performant devices; not the oldest. There wasn't some sort of guesswork, but actual science that says which 1,000 were the worst. The 1,000 human beings using those devices would gain the best levels of productivity from those devices being refreshed.

You can also see whether or not a refresh is actually necessary. This is something like "painting the Forth bridge." You paint the bridge and then you go back to the beginning and start all over again because it's taken you that long to do it. With traditional refresh programs, you replace those 1,000 devices, and then you start all over the following year, and you replace another 1,000 devices because you get the same budget. And you do that again and again. But with Aternity, you can look at it and say, "Do we need to?" Are the bottom 1,000 devices performing in such a bad way that they need refreshing? Or are they actually performing well enough that maybe you don't need to spend that $10 million this year? And you can roll that money into network upgrades, or server upgrades, or cloud migration, and wait until the end of the next financial year before you look at it again, because you can actually see.

So you're saving money, undoubtedly, but also investing properly. You're now using metrics that provide you with certainty, instead of just something as monolithic as age. "Oh, a device is three years old, let's refresh it." Sometimes a three-year-old device is perfectly adequate.

In our company, we had 55,000 laptops. On average, the refresh spend would be between $50 million and $100 million a year. We were able to turn about 10 percent of that around, meaning a savings of between $5 million and $10 million, by making sure that we were not refreshing devices that didn't need to be refreshed, and targeting the ones that were most appropriate rather than just the oldest.

It's true that the simplest way to look at these products is in the monolithic way that a financial analyst would look at return on investment. Did we save money? That's really a small part of the value that you can derive from this. The bigger bit is that if you've just replaced 1,000 old machines, and 400 people out of those 1,000 users had bad experiences with their old laptops, they get a slight improvement and they're pretty happy. If you go at it with Aternity, you actually target the 1,000 worst devices, and you're highly likely to be getting a 100 percent success rate when you give that person a new device. All 1,000 of those people are going to be happy. Your "net promoter score," your customer satisfaction, is going to be much more true, accurate, and high. It's very easy to focus only on the financials, but there's actually a big chunk that doesn't fall into financial buckets. That piece is also very good, given the more accurate, targeted approaches that you can use with Aternity.

When employees complained of trouble with applications or devices, the solution enabled us to see exactly what they saw as they engaged with apps, and hilariously so. We did some travel to remote offices to showcase some of the capabilities, and we would sit in an executive boardroom with 10 to 15 people, and troubleshoot performance issues, in the room, in front of people. There was surprise, amazement, and genuine pleasure that we would see on people's faces when we could resolve issues that they had been facing for months or years. They had been having the same issues, the same performance problems, whether it was Excel taking a long time to load, or network instability, or voice call problems, and we would fix it in minutes, in front of them in a meeting, with absolute confidence. It would just blow their minds. You would see levels of faith and trust build in minutes, because they could see that there were no shadow games. We were not hiding behind a telephone. We were sitting in front of them and fixing it tangibly, right in front of their faces. That level of confidence and trust that we built with them was completely irreplaceable.

What was even better than that was that we set aside small pockets of time each month for people to go and target the worst-performing machines, and then proactively reach out to the users. So instead of waiting for someone to complain, we would reach out to the people who were having the hardest time. We would have an IT rep phone a person and say, "Look, we can see your machine is running like absolute trash and here's a couple of things that we can do to fix it." That's just unheard of. Most people were just completely blown away by the fact that they were getting a call to make their day easier and better, and they didn't have to do anything about it.

What is most valuable?

What was really quite good about it was that, with some of the out-of-the-box, standard applications that everyone expects to be able to monitor it was good, but we could monitor home-brewed applications, which big enterprises have a lot of — applications that are not off-the-shelf but are developed in-house — we could monitor those very carefully, and that was incredibly important. It gave us very bespoke levels of detailed monitoring, and that was for on-prem, mainframe, cloud — any type of application. That was great.

The most valuable thing that you get from Aternity is very broad visibility. You get visibility of your network, of your endpoints, of your software usage, your application performance, capacity, in one pane of glass. We had 20 to 30 IT tools, including application performance monitoring, network monitoring, security, endpoint detection, network protection, capacity management, service management — every kind of monitoring you can imagine. But Aternity was always the first place that I turned for anything, because you can see everything in it. 

The beauty of it is that it has that really simple Tableau backend so you can manipulate the data within it incredibly easily. If you can think of something, you can usually find a way to force Aternity to show you that permutation of data, in the way that you want to see it. It's flexibility is great.

The user interface is good. It's elegant, it's quick, it's simple, it's all built on Tableau, so it feels familiar. It's not difficult to learn how to use it.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used Aternity for three years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability was very good. It wasn't without teething issues, but comparatively speaking, if you were to line it up against every other product of a similar nature in the industry, it's very stable.

One of the things we were able to do is set maximum load limits on how much CPU, memory, and disk the product would use. If it went over a specific threshold, the sensor would shut itself down, which meant that it would never really impact performance because before it got to the point where it started to impact performance on a machine, the sensor would kill itself. You've got safety nets upon safety nets. From a stability perspective, it was fantastic.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability was one of the things where I was having to go in and beg my executive for more money because I wanted to put it on every device in the network. I could quite quickly see every possible use case under the sun. The initial business case was only to cover desktops and laptops, but about three months into the project I was back in the executive office asking for more money so that I could deploy it to servers and everything else. I wanted that same visibility across the full enterprise.

The compatibility of the sensor is very broad so we didn't really have an issue when it came to scale. The issue I had was that I wanted it everywhere, and it was a case of having to reformulate the business case and go back to the exec and ask for more money because we identified that it was such a good product. We needed to put it everywhere rather than just on endpoints.

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

We did not have a similar solution previously. We had every other kind of monitoring tool that you can imagine, but they were all for specific use cases: network, database, infrastructure, clouds. They were all point solutions. Aternity was the first solution that was focused on end-user performance monitoring, but it also brought in that breadth of being able to see everything.

How was the initial setup?

I was involved in the initial setup of Aternity, every step of it: the proof of concept, the purchase, the initial roll-outs, the deployment, the management, the training; every facet of it.

The initial setup was fantastically simple. That was one of the things that allowed the business case to go through so quickly and so efficiently. From the proof of concept, the business could immediately see the value in the tool. It was solving problems that had been around for a really long time, and it was solving them in really simple ways. Even though it was a time when the company was going through quite a rigorous digital transformation, we were able to deploy the sensor without creating any disruption. No one really noticed it, to be honest. They didn't even know it was there. And we immediately got the results and the data back.

The thing that took a little bit of time was creating the signatures for our in-house developed applications, but a lot of the out-of-the-box functionality provided immediate value. Two or three days after deployment, we were getting value back. We were seeing data that was interesting and useful and insightful.

We were quite aggressive and were at 99 percent coverage within about three months. That covered just under 60,000 devices, so we were deploying it to a huge enterprise.

Our implementation strategy for Aternity was "concentric circles." We started close to home. We would look at deploying to sites and to teams that we knew and were familiar with, so that we could solicit feedback quickly. We would roll it out and we would give it a little time, with concentric circles of 100, 1,000, and 5,000 users. We'd wait a week, get feedback from people, and see if it had impacted performance. One of the beautiful things is that you can monitor Aternity with Aternity. You can see if it is impacting performance of the machines you deploy it to and you can't say that about a lot of tools. When you're deploying antivirus or EDR or other monitoring solutions, it's very rare that you get to see, first-hand, exactly what impact you are having by deploying your own toolset.

That really allowed us to do quite a lot of PR work with the change-management department. We could say, "Look, we've smashed it out onto 1,000 devices and it has caused no impact. You can see that it has caused no performance issues." We could show them baselines and measurements to prove that, and that allowed us to develop trust very quickly with the change team. As a result, we could move quite fast.

Aternity was the one tool that we were able to actually train all people on. Within my team of 100, I would have specific pockets of people that were experts at database, network, infrastructure servers, endpoints. And for those specific skill sets, your network guys, for example, would be trained on SolarWinds and PuTTY. Your database guys would be Oracle and SQL. But Aternity was the one tool we could give everyone access to and everyone training on, and it was useful to all of them.

What about the implementation team?

We had two dedicated Aternity Professional Services people in-house all the time, attached to our purchase. To me, that was fundamental. Having people who are technical experts to help with the deployment and training and application signature-creation was something you can't beat. If you had to buy the software on your own and try to do it on your own, you would move much slower. Having that Professional Services component attached to our purchase of Aternity was a really beneficial situation.

What was our ROI?

When you look at the breadth of usability, the breadth of use cases that you will discover, you start getting into the kinds of volume metrics where you are saving money when it comes to asset management, and you are saving money when it comes to productivity management, and you're saving money when it comes to procurement and compliance and security. That return on investment business case is the easiest one that you're ever going to do.

I was given 12 months to demonstrate return on investment. We finished our ROI business case within four months. It was that convincing.

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

It's not a cheap product. There are no two ways about that. If you compare it with a couple of the other solutions operating in the space, it might be on the slightly more expensive side, but it is one of those tools where, once you've got it, you understand the true value. You will get that money back.

What I would say to people who are thinking of buying Aternity is that it's not always better to go cheaper. Sometimes you buy cheap and you end up buying twice. What we found with Aternity is that, fine, it's on the expensive side when compared to other products, but it's also 16 times more useful. You will get so much more out of it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated other similar tools, but ultimately settled on Aternity due to its capabilities and compatibility with our existing tooling stack.

The other thing that was very attractive was how Aternity stitched naturally into the Riverbed ecosystem. We were using some of Riverbed's other programs, like AppInternals and NetIM, among others. Aternity felt like it would fit into that ecosystem much better. Ultimately, that was one of the key considerations. And because of the fact that Aternity was a Riverbed product, we already had relationships with that team. Creating that vendor ecosystem was a simpler situation.

But when it came down to the the nuts and bolts of the RFP, when we got into the proof of concept, we could see, despite what a lot of tools say they can do, this one just did it, simply and well and out-of-the-box, without fussing and messing around and trying to configure the bejesus out of it. That was key: Simply put the agent in place and you're good to go. 

Some of the other ones said that they were end-user performance monitoring solutions, but they were very focused on some quite simple things — CPU, memory, and disk — and nothing more than that. They were very mechanically simple and that led to the tool being a little bit useless. Anyone can open up Task Manager and look at how much processor, memory, and disk they're using. But that information isn't really usable and useful until you start to line it up with the other things that really matter. And those include: What does your CPU, memory, and disk utilization mean for the end-user experience? How performant is your operating system, and how performant is your image, and how performant is the application stack that you're deploying on top of that specific image. A couple of the other products that we looked at were very heavily focused on extracting kernel data from the machine, but not really looking at the stuff that mattered. Context is very important. You can't really give someone contextual awareness when the product is only looking at a monolithic subset of metrics.

What other advice do I have?

Based on my experience, what was key was having Professional Services for at least a period of time. It might not be necessary for the full, end-to-end life cycle of the product, or the period of time that you buy licenses for. But having Professional Services — these are people who know the product intimately, inside and out, and who have a direct line of communication to the engineering teams within Aternity — come and help you set it up, get it out of the box and to start to think of those use cases, is helpful. 

Because they've got a direct link to the engineering team which is also getting requests from all of Aternity's other customers, they have the capability of bringing ideas back to you and saying, "This is what another customer is doing. Why don't we do this?" It makes the speed with which you can start to really leverage the product so much faster. You start to get value from it much quicker. My advice is that when it comes to implementation, a bit of Professional Services will go a long way.

Another big thing for me was that monitoring, prior to us using Aternity, always felt like something that we were doing in very specific ways. If I wanted to look at a network, I would go to one product. And if I wanted to look at application performance, I would go to another product. The thing I learned from Aternity was that if you change the perspective that you are using, you can get a much broader level of visibility. The perspective, in this case, is looking from the end-user or endpoint. Because we had changed that dynamic and we were looking from the endpoint inwards, all of a sudden we could see so much more. That was just "revelationary." I really started to look quite hard at whether or not we needed 10 different monitoring tools. And a couple of those monitoring tools were retired because we found very little need for them after we had built proper levels of monitoring into Aternity. There was just no need to have those point solutions in place because we could already see everything in Aternity. The thing that I learned was, although we bought it because we wanted to see endpoint performance — and that's probably why everyone goes shopping for that type of product in the beginning — what I very quickly learned was that it's much more than that. It's a very wide and capable tool.

If you had to choose one tool, if your organization said, "We're going to stop spending money on IT tools altogether, and you're only allowed to have one thing," I would take Aternity every time, because you can do so much with it. It's like the Swiss Army Knife of IT tools. It's the most useful tool I've ever used by a long, long way. There's nothing that I've used that has ever come close to being as useful as Aternity.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
IT Manager | Digital Employee Engineering | End User Product Engineering at a consultancy with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Top 20
Gives us application visibility into user activities
Pros and Cons
  • "Aternity's Digital Experience Management Quadrant (DEM-Q) has been a game changer for us. While knowing your own metrics is nice, if you don't know how you compare to others or what the numbers should be, then it doesn't tell you much. This solution puts that into context (if we are doing better than others or worse), which helps us prioritize where we want to focus and do improvements versus that's just how slow it's supposed to be. It's also great in communicating what we are doing and why we're doing it to our IT leadership teams, by saying, while we're pretty far behind others in certain categories, the time and changes for our prioritizations are justified."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

We have three general buckets that we put things in:

  1. For ad hoc troubleshooting of individual problems that people are having with their laptops in the field. 
  2. Finding, identifying, and resolving wide-scale issues that exist in the field. 
  3. Understanding the impact of changes that we're making in the field as well as reducing the negative impact of changes made in the field.

We need to understand how many machines are experiencing certain crashes, for example: 

  • Blue screens
  • Specific applications that are crashing.
  • Specific versions of applications that are crashing.
  • How various laptop models are performing differently, either having better or worse stability than other models. 

How has it helped my organization?

By tracking the high level number of blue screens in our environment and being able to categorize them according to the specific blue screen code that is returned, we were able to focus on prioritizing the issues that are most prevalent in our environment and taking actions to reduce the number of blue screens based on those priorities. This increases user satisfaction by reducing problems, like blue screens and application crashes. 

We were able to identify certain users who were opening a certain application, but it took a really long time. We were able to see through Aternity that this affected a decent number of users. By identifying those users, we were able to use other tools on specific devices to identify the root cause, which happened to be an IPv6 configuration, then eliminate that problem. Therefore, it increases the performance for approximately 10 percent of users' devices in the field.

Aternity has given us a view into what the user is doing. For example, the applications that we have defined as managed applications will show us what they are running. It will show us any of the activities that we've predefined to get measurements of. It will give us attribute information that the user doesn't necessarily know. For example, if they have their battery on high performance or battery saver, the user doesn't necessarily know that information at the time, but we can actually see it in Aternity. So, in a way, we can see even more than a user would be able to tell us. However, in order to do that, we need to make sure that we have defined the set of applications and activities that we want to ensure that we're tracking on a user's device.

Aternity's Digital Experience Management Quadrant (DEM-Q) has been a game changer for us. While knowing your own metrics is nice, if you don't know how you compare to others or what the numbers should be, then it doesn't tell you much. This solution puts that into context (if we are doing better than others or worse), which helps us prioritize where we want to focus and do improvements versus that's just how slow it's supposed to be. It's also great in communicating what we are doing and why we're doing it to our IT leadership teams, by saying, while we're pretty far behind others in certain categories, the time and changes for our prioritizations are justified.

The ability to filter the comparison by geography, industry, or company size is super important to our analysis. We need to be able to make sure that we're comparing ourselves with other companies that are similar. Also, we get to compare other devices that are similar. Some companies, who are using Aternity, use it more on server operating systems or on desktops. We are a very mobile company, using Aternity on our laptops. It makes more sense to compare us with companies who are also similar because that can make a big difference when you're thinking about how a laptop should be performing versus a server, and also Windows 7 versus Windows 10. You need to put that in context, or you're not going to have a realistic view of where you stand.

What is most valuable?

For the applications installed on the laptop, it's very customizable. So, we can get certain features out-of-the-box and add to them. Even with custom applications, we can create our own monitors and application signatures to track user activities which are specific to our company. We are measuring:

  • How long certain actions take for a user to typically complete. 
  • Before and after any particular change and do the comparison. 
  • In smaller chunks, we can compare a change group to a control group and be more confident about the impact of the change based on the user experience for the change group versus the users who didn't get the change.

Before we make a change that would impact the entire company, we do it on a pilot group and measure it then. So, we avoid rolling something out that fixes one thing and breaks something else, which can happen. Therefore, we have more confidence in our changes.

It gives us visibility into what the user is doing, i.e., the user activities on their endpoint, and the response time for any of those activities. It gives us a breakdown of client activity. e.g., what an end user's computer takes time to complete versus what's happening on the network, and if there are any network delays. 

What needs improvement?

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. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Aternity for almost two years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are client entities installed on every device that are not very impactful to the endpoint, which is very important. The discovery side is stable. We only had one somewhat big outage in the last couple of years, so I would say it is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Officially, on our team, there are three of us who maintain it. I'm managing the team. We have our Aternity engineer who is responsible for ensuring upgrades are going smoothly during the customization, the activities, and any script changes that we can do on our side. We have someone else as an analyst who is looking at the data and surfacing issues in the field. We also have a lot of other people who are using the tool internally, but they're not on our core team supporting it.

There are roughly 20,000 end users of the solution. It scales well.

There is definitely room to grow in terms of the customizations that we can make to managed applications and the activities of our own managed applications. Now that we have more PowerShell and remediation capabilities, we are starting to grow those as well.

How are customer service and technical support?

There is someone who supports the SaaS environment. Anything not on-prem and in the back-end that needs changing that we don't have access to, we can easily ask that of the SaaS administrators. Their responses are very good. 

The support is good. We have had to open up a few different cases here and there, but they are very responsive. 

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

We switched because we needed more near real-time data. The customized, homegrown solution that we were using was not able to pick up information in a very timely fashion. It was only once per week, then we would be a week behind with our reporting. Also, it didn't give us insight into the application activities that Aternity does.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. Aternity sets up the instance on the back-end on their side, then they give us access. We had to set up on our side: The integration with our single sign-on (SSO) provider, then downloading the endpoint agent and sending that out to the machines. 

To set it up, it took maybe a few people hours. For deploying it, that took a couple of weeks based on our standards. However, just getting it up and running, then installing it on a couple of machines was done within a day.

What about the implementation team?

For the deployment, we had our Aternity engineer. We needed someone from our identity team to set up the SSO side of things. We have our software packagers who put the software through our software deployment tool and send it out to the appropriate machines. There is also probably someone else who is reporting back on that. Overall, it's about four to five people.

I would take advantage of the Aternity Professional Services. We had someone from Aternity operating basically in-house with us for nearly a year. We found him to be very knowledgeable. He helped us get the most out of the tool over that first year before we were really ready to take it over alone.

What was our ROI?

Over the last couple of years, we have shown that we have improved user experience with surveys. We surveyed the environment and are seeing that Aternity improved things over the last couple of years. We are now also able to better prioritize our projects and the things that IT is working on.

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

It is definitely a premium solution; it is not an inexpensive product. We have to ensure that we are getting the most out of it in order to justify the cost. However, it is not cheap, especially when you want to install it on all your endpoints.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at a lot of different solutions. We did a proof of concept with Aternity and Nexthink. 

Aternity had a SaaS model, where the solution was on-prem, which was easier to set up on our side. Also, Aternity gave us the insight into application activities and the end user's actual experience that the other tool couldn't give us. Those were the main reasons we went with Aternity. 

Aternity does give us (and other applications don't) application visibility into the activities that the user is actually performing on any particular application.

What other advice do I have?

Eventually, it will reduce hardware refresh costs by considering the actual employee experience rather than just the age of the employees’ devices. Right now, we're still on the basis of how long the machine has been in the environment. Really, it's tied to our own warranty information. When a machine's warranty is expired, then that's about the time that we get a new machine. For a particular model of device, we decided to accelerate that based on the data in Aternity, because we could see that the worst performing machines were with one particular model, which was getting older, but wasn't quite at the state that we would normally replace it. However, because they were performing so poorly, we did accelerate the removal of those devices from our environment, replacing them with a newer model that performs better.

The SaaS model has worked really well, because we don't have to manage the infrastructure. Because of COVID-19, everybody started working from home. That gave us a lot of insights around that time as to different performance and stability changes when someone is in the office versus at home.

Aternity gives us more device information now than it used to. Also, we can customize the solution now in a few different ways: PowerShell scripts being the newest method. While there may be other tools that get deeper into the device, Aternity gives us an advantage from the user experience side of things. 

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

Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
MikeSullivan - PeerSpot reviewer
Digital Experience - Team Leader Canterbury at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20Leaderboard
Good performance, useful for full end-to-end user experience monitoring and profiling users, but should have better billing model and support for mobile devices
Pros and Cons
  • "It is useful for working out whether there are any issues in the network or between the endpoints. It is also useful for working out any performance issues. It has been useful for a lot of stuff around Teams. Our customers like to know what's happening with Teams when they call in. It is helpful for easily profiling users. It records all the applications that are being used for each user, and you can see what users are doing. It is very good in terms of performance. You don't have to wait forever to try and get reports or results. It is quite quick to get everything that you need out of the software."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

I work for a managed service provider, and we offer Aternity as one of the main solutions for any customer who needs applications and full end-to-end user experience monitoring.

The main use case is around application performance. Another main use case is related to Teams. Our customers like to know what's happening with Teams when they call in. Is it a performance issue at the backend or within their desktop environment? 

We have its SaaS-based service version. It is deployed on the cloud, but the agents are deployed on-premise. So, I needed to buy stuff.

What is most valuable?

It is useful for working out whether there are any issues in the network or between the endpoints. It is also useful for working out any performance issues. It has been useful for a lot of stuff around Teams. Our customers like to know what's happening with Teams when they call in.

It is helpful for easily profiling users. It records all the applications that are being used for each user, and you can see what users are doing.

It is very good in terms of performance. You don't have to wait forever to try and get reports or results. It is quite quick to get everything that you need out of the software.

What needs improvement?

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.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Aternity for less than three months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is very scalable. We've got several enterprise customers using it, and we provide it as a managed service with the SLAs and stuff wrapped around it. 

We plan to increase its usage. I don't think we would switch at this point. It already ticks most of the boxes. We've only been using it for three months, and we're signing a lot more customers down that path. It is hard for us to change the application or software internally because it requires a lot of internal training and other things. You can't just cross-pollinate. You will have to change every one of them.

How are customer service and technical support?

We haven't contacted them so far.

How was the initial setup?

It is pretty straightforward. Anyone should be able to do that. 

It is all SaaS-based. You order it, and they set up the backend on their service. You just download the agent and install it on the desktops. It doesn't take a long time at all.

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

You have to purchase it for 12 months, which is an issue because a lot of our customers are on a per-user-per-month type billing.

There are a few additional costs. A lot of customers only get the essential licenses, and then they get what they call the application add-ons on top. They have to pay depending on how many customers and applications they want to monitor.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated Dynatrace. The cost of Dynatrace was about two or three times more, and it wasn't giving what we needed it for. Dynatrace has got some aspects, but it was not what we were looking for. We were looking for end-user experience monitoring, not just application monitoring or application performance.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Aternity a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Integrator, System provider
Buyer's Guide
Alluvio Aternity vs. Nexthink
July 2022
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