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Apica Synthetic OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Apica Synthetic is #10 ranked solution in APM tools. PeerSpot users give Apica Synthetic an average rating of 8.6 out of 10. Apica Synthetic is most commonly compared to Instana Dynamic APM: Apica Synthetic vs Instana Dynamic APM. Apica Synthetic is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 57% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 34% of all views.
Apica Synthetic Buyer's Guide

Download the Apica Synthetic Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: August 2022

What is Apica Synthetic?

Apica Synthetic is a powerful monitoring tool built for enterprises seeking predictive insights into the performance and uptime of websites, applications, APIs and IoT. By simulating user journeys from locations across the globe, IT and DevOps teams are able to proactively monitor applications around the clock, identifying performance and availability issues before they affect internal or external end-users.

Apica Synthetic Customers

Linux Foundation, Sodexo

Apica Synthetic Video

Apica Synthetic Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Apica Synthetic pricing:
  • "Apica is pretty cost-effective if you buy both solutions together: Synthetic and LoadTest. If you are going for one solution, the cost is on par with any tool in the market."
  • "Another main difference between Apica and the other products was the cost. We really thought that the balance in Apica between the features and costs was the best among all the products on which we did a PoC."
  • "The level of alerting accuracy has saved us time and money in operational costs. Overall, it has automated a lot of the manual efforts which have been more complex with some of our other scripting tools or monitors. So, it brings things together by doing things faster and saves us money."
  • "The pricing is very reasonable, but it is not cheap."
  • "License management is another area that Apica could do better. We have already had these conversations with our account teams. This is something that they are looking at largely improving in upcoming releases. I believe that this is already on their roadmap."
  • Apica Synthetic Reviews

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    Shafi Mohammed - PeerSpot reviewer
    Lead Consultant, Engineering Team at a insurance company with 10,001+ employees
    Consultant
    Top 5
    Their support makes the product so much easier to use. They sped up our migration process.
    Pros and Cons
    • "One of the biggest advantages of moving to Apica is the ability get to a hybrid model with the architecture in the cloud and our agents on-prem. We also have access to Apica's cloud agent across the globe. That has changed the way that we have our load testing setup at this point. Previously, it was always internal. Now, with this change in the way it is implemented for load testing, we can test anywhere across the globe and from the list of agents available within Apica's cloud. If I don't have an agent available in a second location, it just takes an email to their customer support, then it is spun up within 24 hours. That flexibility has changed the way that we perceive our load tests, not just in the US, but globally."
    • "The accuracy of alerts can be improved a little bit. Right now, it's pretty good in terms of alerting pretty quickly about failures or changes in response times. However, what we have seen happen is the number of alerts that we are getting is very frequent, and we would like to tone down the number of alerts. That's the only trouble we have. Apica could tone down those settings because there is no option for us to tone it down to a level that would reduce the alerts to a minimum. As a platform, it does send us good alerts, but it could be improved a bit."

    What is our primary use case?

    Synthetic: To replace and improve on the current solution and integrate it with the multiple platforms that are already available in the organization.

    LoadTest: To replace the current solution with a newer and better platform which would not only expand on the current capabilities but also reduces the infrastructure maintenance.

    We have a mix of hybrid models. We have the orchestration platform as SaaS in Apica's cloud. However, the agents that we run checks (or load test from) are located on-prem. 

    How has it helped my organization?

    One of the biggest advantages of moving to Apica is the ability get to a hybrid model with the orchestration engine in the cloud and our agents on-prem. We also have access to Apica's cloud agent across the globe. That has changed the way that we have our load testing and synthetic monitoring setup at this point. Previously, it was always internal. Now, with this change , we can test and run checks from anywhere across the globe. If a certain location is not available , it just takes an email to their customer support, then it is spun up within 24 hours. That flexibility has changed the way that we perceive our Synthetic monitoring and load testing, not just in the US, but globally.

    Availability of extensive API options is an enabler integrating both synthetic and load testing platforms with a wide variety of tools and processes. 

    What is most valuable?

    The tool is flexible to handle multiple complex scenarios, which is one of the good things that led us to decide on Apica.

    Doing the URL monitoring without having to write a script is pretty neat and straightforward. I can spin up a check within a few minutes using the URL monitoring functionality. That is one of the easiest features that gets my team onboarded to use the solution within a couple of days. It is the easiest feature to use, very helpful for doing a quick setup, and delivering to other partner teams in a very short time.

    The alerting feature from Apica for email alerts and integrations with other alerting platforms has been pretty helpful.

    The flexibility of Apica is big in terms of the range of protocols it can monitor and scale for multiple scripts . That has been one of the bigger influences when making the switch. Also, it is not just about the flexibility of the tool, but the flexibility of the team who we work with. The product teams with whom we had interactions have been very flexible. We were able to request Apica to implement new features into their tool set, and they were more than willing to accept and implement them in their production tools. That is flexibility in a vendor relationship I have never seen when I have worked with other vendors. The product team was flexible enough to listen, accept, and implement the features that we wanted.Another key deciding factor for us when going with Apica.

    What needs improvement?

    The accuracy of alerts can be improved a little bit. Right now, it's good in terms of alerting immediately about failures or changes in response times. However, what we have seen happen is the number of alerts that we are getting is very frequent, and we would like to tone down the number of alerts. An option to aggregate alerts for a check from multiple locations is not available and creates duplicates. As a platform, it does send us good alerts, but it could be improved a bit.

    For the Synthetic platform, their dashboard could be a little better. I don't have many options to configure my dashboard to make it suitable for a power user versus a leadership person. The dashboard for our CTO is the same as the one that our technical staff is using. We have made this request to Apica, and they're going to make some changes to it. However, at this point, the dashboards and the way they present the checks could be better. For the level of metrics that it provides for each check, they could provide it at a step level or page level on the landing page rather than having us click a few more times to get that data. That would save a lot of time. These two would be really good changes to help increase efficiency from the current tool and current features that it provides for synthetic monitoring. 

    As far as I am aware, the Apica platform doesn't allow us to execute scripts from JMeter or LoadRunner out of the box, but they do offer conversion utilities.

    For the LoadTest platform, they could increase the efficiency in terms of the results produced. The reporting structure of the results could be improved a bit. Apart from that, it is a pretty good platform.

    Buyer's Guide
    Apica Synthetic
    August 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Apica Synthetic. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: August 2022.
    622,358 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using Apica Synthetic and LoadTest for about a year now.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It has been very stable and availability has been at 99 percent, if not more, so far. In the last year, there was only one issue with availability, which was resolved within a matter of minutes. We were informed right away from support team that there is an issue with availability. Therefore, it has been pretty good and reliable.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    The scalability of the orchestration platform is pretty good. Because it's hosted on the cloud, we haven't seen any slowness in the scalability of the platform. It could be a little better for the LoadTest platform though. 

    • For the Synthetic platform, the scalability is pretty good as we increase the number of checks. The application has been able to scale without issues. 
    • The LoadTest platform could be a little better. We have seen improvement over the last couple of months and the vendor is ready to provide more scaled solutions for the LoadTest platform going forward.

    There are a total of 300 to 350 users on the Synthetic platform. For the LoadTest platform, there are about 100 users in total across the globe.User roles vary in ranges from technicians (the people who write scripts and run load tests), all the way up to managers and directors. This is across the board for both platforms, Synthetic and LoadTest.

    We have about 4,000 checks on monitors running at any one point in time. 

    How are customer service and support?

    The thing that makes the product so easy to use is the support. They made our experience a lot better than what we had have to deal with working with other vendors. Their support is unbelievable. 

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

    We wanted to replace our current existing solution for synthetic monitoring with a newer, advanced solution that integrates with multiple platforms.

    We are replacing Micro Focus Business Service Management (BSM) for synthetic monitoring and Micro Focus Performance Center for load testing.

    How was the initial setup?

    Our initially setup from Apica's side was pretty straightforward. Since this was a hybrid model, we just had to procure some servers internally to setup as on-prem agents, and that was it. Compared to other tools that we work with, this was at least 60 percent easier to set up.

    Apica anticipated our needs during our implementation process. They had a pretty good survey of our requirements and use cases before the implementation. They came up with quite a few recommendations that helped us to design the solution better for our current setup. 

    It took about three to four months for the basic setup to be completed because of the hybrid model. 

    Our idea was to set up on-prem agents as quickly as we could to facilitate the communication from Apica SaaS to the on-prem agent. We also wanted to have both the incumbent team and the new team comfortable with the new setup and decommission the old tool. That was our implementation and migration strategy.

    What about the implementation team?

    I would give them a five out of five on the level of support. From this particular team that I worked with, they were amazing. The willingness to change their tool, or even remove features, based on our feedback is unheard of. I have never seen a vendor do that. I have the highest regards for the Apica support team.

    Apica was able to come in, bringing in technical resources, and help change/convert the old scripts. This helped us to speed up the process of the migration. Without their help, I think the migration would have taken a lot more time.

    What was our ROI?

    Based on our prediction model, we should be at least saving 10 percent of our investment with Apica versus using our incumbent tool.

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

    Apica is pretty cost-effective if you buy both solutions together: Synthetic and LoadTest. If you are going for one solution, the cost is on par with any tool in the market. 

    In terms of licensing, the major advantage with Apica is you don't have to pay for their cloud hybrid, which is included in the license. For example, our company is heavily dependent on using cloud agents for monitoring after load testing.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We also looked at Catchpoint. We looked at them in a very elaborate way, doing a pilot and PoC, but couldn't align them properly with our needs.

    With Catchpoint, the con was the flexibility in terms of working through enhancements and changes. It was not flexible enough to accommodate the changes. The scripting engine for Apica is very flexible, which was another major con from the other tools that we evaluated. In Apica, I can write my own custom code, which I can't do in the other tools. This was a big pro for Apica when we were making our decision.

    The major factor that influenced our decision to go with Apica is that it is the same platform for both load testing and synthetic monitoring in terms of scripts. I could write a script for my load testing and plug the same ones in for my synthetic monitoring. So, it helps us in terms of our DevOps model, where I don't have to rely on two different tools to write different scripts, which is the current model right now. Instead, it increases the synergy between multiple teams to use the same platform and reduces the overhead of script creation from testing to synthetic monitoring, which is a big plus. I'm hoping in terms of efficiencies over time to reduce the number of resources that we rely on for writing script.

    What other advice do I have?

    For Synthetic, we still need to see the alerting in real-time to see how it improves.

    There is around a 15 percent adoption rate in the company for tool use. However, for our target audience, the total is around 80 percent. Our idea is to get to 100 percent adoption for our intended group of users. That is the goal for the middle of next year.

    Apica is a pretty flexible tool. The amount of features that they have to offer is very high compared to other tools on the market because of the flexibility that they have to offer. The product team behind it is very committed to making those changes and the customer happy. I would advise if you are looking at a solution which is easy to maintain and can handle a lot of checks at the same time, then Apica would be the best solution to go with. If you have to do a complete on-prem solution, that is available with Apica as well. It is a pretty good solution in the current market. 

    At this point, I would rate it a nine out of 10 because there are still some enhancements that need to happen for the platforms: Synthetic and LoadTest.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Hybrid Cloud
    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.
    PeerSpot user
    Davide Diana - PeerSpot reviewer
    Senior APM Specialist at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    Enabled us to set up business logic on the availability of our services, with multiple criteria to trigger an alert
    Pros and Cons
    • "There are several features that are really good. The first one is the flexibility and the advanced configuration that Apica offers when it comes to configuring synthetic checks. It provides the ability to customize how the check should be performed and it is very flexible in the number of synthetic locations that it can use. It allows us to run scripts from different locations all over the world, and they have a really good number of these locations."
    • "There are some components of the user interface that are not up to date. Just to give you an idea, today we have web applications that are called single-page applications that are much faster than the old style of web application. If we can move faster into the flow of the graphic user interface, and in a more effective way, it will save us a lot of time."

    What is our primary use case?

    Apica is used to perform availability checks of our IT services. We put what we call synthetic checks in place, and these are mainly used to check if a specific application is running correctly, or if it is not available.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Because it is a platform that allows us to check the availability of our services, we have a process in our company that allows us to open an incident when we receive an alert that is raised by Apica. It is really critical in our company to have a tool like Apica, because every time we have an alert we know that there's a real problem in our system and we can forward the problem to our internal team so that they can take charge of the problem and solve it as soon as possible.

    We are very satisfied with the flexibility that is offered by Apica. In our opinion it is much greater than in other products, even more expensive products. We found a good balance between the cost, after our spending review, and the features that it offers. The alerting is very reactive as well as very accurate. We are really confident in the alerts that we receive from Apica. The alerting accuracy has absolutely saved us time because we can minimize false positives and that means that we don't have to spend the time dealing with them. On a monthly basis it is saving us about 20 hours of work. That is the amount of work we did on false positives that we received before adopting Apica. That might seem like a low number, but trust me, when we have a critical issue, 24 hours are a lot.

    We decided to move from another provider to Apica because it offers, from our perspective, more features and more advanced use case coverage. For example, it has a feature that allows us to set up business logic on the availability of our services. We can apply multiple criteria to trigger an alert. We have availability checks that allow us to check two different services at the same time and, to trigger an alert, both of them have to be down. One of the very difficult things with this kind of product is the possibility of false positives. Thanks to the flexibility that Apica provides, we are able to minimize the false positives, and that means that when we take charge of a problem opened by Apica, we are very confident that it is a real problem.

    We are also using some JMeter scripts. At the moment, the platform itself is not using JMeter scripts, but they provide a converter that allows you to convert a Jmeter script into another language called ZebraTester. Thanks to that, we are using our JMeter scripts without any problems. And that means we can implement automation in the scripting and, obviously, that adds up to spending less time and effort on these automated activities. It's quite critical to have a tool that provides you this kind of automation. Apica also provides public APIs that allow us to run these kinds of scripts on demand. That is a good thing when you have to develop some automation to achieve very specific needs and tasks that are very frequently executed.

    Overall, Apica has definitely saved us costs involved in managing monitoring, although I can't put a number on it.

    What is most valuable?

    There are several features that are really good. The first one is the flexibility and the advanced configuration that Apica offers when it comes to configuring synthetic checks. It provides the ability to customize how the check should be performed and it is very flexible in the number of synthetic locations that it can use. It allows us to run scripts from different locations all over the world, and they have a really good number of these locations.

    There is also the ease of use. The user interface it provides is really advanced, but at the same time, it is really easy to use. That's a really good feature when it comes to daily use and our daily processes on the platform.

    It is also very good in terms of the range of protocols it can monitor. Even if, at the moment, we are only using the HTTP protocol and browser synthetic checks—it's mainly the emulation of the end user browser—they also provide other protocols, such as DNS verification.

    What needs improvement?

    The first thing that I would suggest they improve is the user interface. Not from the point of view of how to access the features, but how they are presented. The user interface is very clear, but there are some components of the user interface that are not up to date. Just to give you an idea, today we have web applications that are called single-page applications that are much faster than the old style of web application. If we can move faster into the flow of the graphic user interface, and in a more effective way, it will save us a lot of time.

    Another feature they can improve is related to how easy it is to set up what they call on-premises locations. Apica offers locations all over the world, but they also offer a manual to install a location on-premises to check the availability of services that are not public. This process, at the moment, is not so easy to achieve. The last time we did it, we were forced to contact their support to set it up. The automation of this kind of setup is not good. It should be something that does not require human involvement to follow the deployment. The possibility of being totally independent in installing and using an on-premises location would be much better.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using Apica Synthetic for about one year.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is absolutely excellent. We haven't had any issues so far. And when there was some kind of unavailability of the service, because no software is perfect, they advised us before or, if not before, as soon as possible, to let us know about the problem. This is definitely a good approach since if you tell us the platform is under maintenance for a problem, we can change our internal processes to take the unavailability into account.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It's very flexible in terms of scalability. At the moment we have about 2,000 scripts running on the platform without any problem. It's absolutely critical, since we are quite a big company, and moving from a software that is quite famous—because CA Technologies is a famous vendor—to another vendor, Apica, that is smaller, could be a risk. But after the PoC, we really trusted the Apica product. We are very happy that the platform is reliable and very scalable.

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

    We used CA Nimsoft Monitor and Dynatrace Synthetic.

    How was the initial setup?

    We were migrating from another product to Apica, so the main task that we performed was to migrate all the scripts that we were using on the old platform to the new one. We were able to do that thanks to the professional services support that Apica provided us. They offered us exceptional help in performing this task. It was mostly implemented using the APIs that Apica offers, since migrating data from a platform to another one requires some automation. You couldn't think about doing it manually. The Apica platform was made ready for our use cases because they provided the API that we needed to perform the migration.

    The second task that I performed internally was to let the company know about the new processes to be implemented using Apica. The technology is the "engine," but then you need to build the "car" around the engine. That meant we needed to develop processes to let the people who were interested in using the platform know how to do so.

    In summary, the first technical task was to migrate all the scripts from the old solution to the new one and the second step was to develop new processes, based on how Apica works.

    Overall, our deployment took one year. But the level of support we received from Apica during our deployment helped reduce the time and costs involved in switching to their product. Without them, it would have taken double the time. Thanks to them, the time needed was reduced by a factor of half. They anticipated our needs, meaning that every time we asked them something specific, they replied right away, "We can do that. Don't worry."

    What was our ROI?

    It's not possible to provide ROI numbers for a simple reason. Last year we only performed the migration of the platform from CA to the new platform, so we have only been using Apica officially starting this year. We need more time to collect this kind of number. But the perception that we have after the assessment that we performed at the very beginning, is that it will halve our cost and double the performance of the processes that are related to the adoption of Apica.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We checked the new Dynatrace Synthetic platform. We decided to dismiss that and move to Apica after we performed the PoC, since we found that Apica was much more flexible than Dynatrace Synthetic.

    Another main difference between Apica and the other products was the cost. We really thought that the balance in Apica between the features and costs was the best among all the products on which we did a PoC. 

    There is also the support and the innovation that they bring. One of the reasons we decided to leave CA and Dynatrace is that they are bigger companies, but they are slower when it comes to solving a problem or when it comes to implementing a feature that we request. Apica is smaller, but being smaller means that you are even more flexible and more available when it comes to solving a problem. For example, Apica provided us with a totally new feature that we requested, before we moved to them. That feature was not in the Apica platform and it was critical for us. In about one month, they were able to develop that specific feature for us.

    What other advice do I have?

    If you are looking for a product that offers a huge technology modernization, and quick support, you should take Apica into consideration, for sure. It is a small company compared to others, but they are really quick in answering your needs and providing you modern technology. If your company is growing and is looking to add new monitoring that is up to date, I would warmly suggest Apica.

    We decided to use the SaaS version because we are trying to change the model of services that we are using in our company. We are trying to minimize the on-premises products because we don't want to be in charge of the management of the infrastructure of things that are on-premises. We are absolutely confident that Apica respects our security needs and that we can use Apica safely.

    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.
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    Apica Synthetic
    August 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Apica Synthetic. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: August 2022.
    622,358 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Performance Synthetic Performance Monitoring and Autonomic IT solutions architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    Automates a lot of manual efforts that have been more complex with some of our other scripting tools
    Pros and Cons
    • "You can tell from the operational space of people who are using and consuming this data that they are more integrated. It is not dependent on one team anymore. It saves a lot of time by capturing and pinpointing the exact problem that is happening quickly. We have moved from getting escalations manually to getting escalations synthetically."
    • "Learning the tool has always been a little difficult from a scripting perspective because the framework is proprietary and unique. Once we became used to what it does and how to perform it, then it became easier for my team and me. I would like to see some of the testing steps be part of a more well-known language, like Java or Python. That would be a big improvement."

    What is our primary use case?

    We monitor various applications provided as dependent services. We also monitor internal applications that are required for different departments. Then, we have a wide variety of applications supporting different departments as well as clients. Whether it be a background transaction, front-end UI, or vendor application, we try to monitor the DNS with Apica

    We have been using it both on-prem and off-prem recently. The Apica platform has its own external instance.

    How has it helped my organization?

    You can tell from the operational space of people who are using and consuming this data that they are more integrated. It is not dependent on one team anymore. It saves a lot of time by capturing and pinpointing the exact problem that is happening quickly. We have moved from getting escalations manually to getting escalations synthetically.

    What is most valuable?

    It has centralized the monitoring into a single pane. With the wide variety of testing tools out there in the market, we have been able to streamline them more into a single, proactive dashboard that manages the scheduling, configuration, and alerting with a very robust API. Those big benefits really brought together our synthetic monitoring objectives.

    They have given us a lot of flexibility in order to get past our security. Overall, they provide a wide range and customization, which helps us get through any issues, but there isn't one solution for every organization or a good wide-breadth of options.

    Their platform does allow us to import JMeter on our files. That provides us some flexibilities, allowing us to use different tools. Their API is also very robust so we can do integrations quite easily by using their core product, synthetic monitoring, as a base. We use that as a trigger for other platforms that will compliment resolution. If the Apica platform continues to monitor successfully, then we can take that result and implement the next action with it.

    It is very accurate. It certainly provides a lot of detail. The quality of the alert is based on the quality of your script and what you are monitoring. This does depend on the ability of the developer along with their strategy and design of the script to capture what they need to be able to monitor performance or availability. Overall, I think it provides a lot of details, if you script it to capture what you need it to.

    What needs improvement?

    We have been able to work with the different protocols. Some of them have been challenging to use inside of our network. Sometimes, we face some difficulties getting to a particular site or authentication. 

    The scripting features are proprietary. I would like to see more enhancements where the core solution can take on more generally available open languages, like Python. While Apica does accept Java and some Python, I would like to see more of the ability to just execute external scripts for generally available languages out there in industry.

    Learning the tool has always been a little difficult from a scripting perspective because the framework is proprietary and unique. Once we became used to what it does and how to perform it, then it became easier for my team and me. I would like to see some of the testing steps be part of a more well-known language, like Java or Python. That would be a big improvement.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    We have been using it for two and a half to three years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It is a very stable platform. It is consistent, e.g., we have not had any outages nor many patches. There are mostly upgrades due to add-on services. Since the last upgrade from version 11 to 12, it has been very stable. They also continue to upgrade into the next version patch for 12. The upgrade process seems to have really improved.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    A lot of different groups across departments use it.

    We are starting to see the benefits of its scalability at this point. Because we're trying to integrate it with other monitoring or alerting platforms, I do see in their own cloud instance that they have integrations with other tools, like AppDynamics. Therefore, they understand fundamentally that their tool is not a single solution that other industry tools covering critical areas, such as populations, make available. They have made an effort to design around the most common industry tools that have been adopted to create an integration. Thus, it's been very scalable for our operations teams.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Their support post-deployment is very good. I have gotten to know some of the staff very well at different levels. There are agents in the US and in Europe. Overall, we have never had an issue as far as time zones and where the teams work. We have a global workforce, and they have a global workforce. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was right in the middle of being straightforward and complex. It wasn't that difficult compared to other things that can be very complex. There wasn't a single server. At the same time, it does require a couple of different servers overall to run the platform, from the web layer to the aspects layer. Other than that, I don't think it was too difficult. They did provide a lot of professional services to guide us. With that partnership, it was fairly easy to do.

    Getting up to 150 checks took about a month and a half to two months. We were able to show the dashboard with synthetic checks running early on, which didn't make the biggest impact, but as we grew, our operations matured, and the platform was adopted, the scripts stabilized more. Then, we were able to show value more further along in having the platform adopted across different applications.

    The implementation strategy is to engage the L1 command center team as well as the L2 teams who are the application owners. The L2 teams are various support group teams who adopt the pickup platform. We need to show them how to convert their current RFPs onto Apica, show them its value, what type of tool it is, and that we're migrating to this platform.

    We centralized our development team to become experts within ZebraTester, showing them the output of the waterfall diagrams and continually ramp up into developing a lot more checks. We grew and matured the number of scripts, then we grew and matured operations and L2 to be able to interpret their check results, showing them the value of having it all in one place. That also shows the accuracy of the checks as they are happening.

    What about the implementation team?

    We received a very high level of support from their team. They want to always make sure that you are successful, providing you the guidance and partnership that you need. They're always offering additional help or suggestions to get you more acclimated and ramp you up quickly. I am very happy with the amount of effort that they put into ensuring you are successful.

    Their level of support absolutely helped reduce the time and costs involved in switching. Their assistance to help establish our platform made us spend a lot less time managing the infrastructure and allowed us to focus on the actual synthetics, which help the business. That was really what made it successful. There was work involved to get the platform up and running, but we were able to really focus on the synthetics overall to bring the value in versus dealing with constant infrastructure issues.

    They have worked with enough different companies to know the most common problems that other organizations have had with their product. Therefore, they were able to predict where we would have trouble with them. 

    Also, their professional services teams are very experienced. They were able to bring us to production level very quickly.

    What was our ROI?

    If the monitoring is successful, then that will have a ROI value.

    The level of alerting accuracy has saved us time and money in operational costs. Overall, it has automated a lot of manual efforts which have been more complex with some of our other scripting tools or monitors. So, it brings things together by doing things faster and saves us money.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We evaluated different products and chose the Apica platform over others. We looked at One UI, some on-prem solutions, and Dynatrace. Right now, we think Apica has been one of the products that has fulfilled most of our needs and requirements. Other platforms can perform some functions better than others. However, Apica's pricing and product abilities are just a better fit for us.

    There are other tools which can perform similar tasks. At the web UI layer, other tools can do a good job. What Apica brings is they do provide a lot of good scripting flexibility within their own proprietary tool. Overall, Apica has been able to accomplish something very unique in our environment. We have used with a lot of different testing tools, but they haven't really brought together a consistent way of performing synthetics which Apica has for our operations team. Therefore, Apica did overcome some of our challenges, bringing together our command center and operations.

    They offer a lot more on-prem than any other platform that we have adopted. For the external instance, they are very competitive with other tools from an external cloud-based solution standpoint. For the on-premise, we can take on a different strategy if we want to. For example, if we chose to go hybrid, onto the cloud, or just keep it on-prem, that's a choice for us, which is a very good option to have.

    We have other tools besides Apica and they all live side-by-side. We will never have just one tool nor invest in just one platform.

    What other advice do I have?

    Organize your operations and App Dev teams to get onboard quickly. That is probably one of the most successful factors that you'll have. If your teams really buy into the framework and understand your objective, then you'll have better success criteria. This is because you really need to have everyone onboard from the lower lanes to the production level in order to continuously be able to get your synthetics updated with each release so you can reduce false alerts. Then, you can continually have monitoring in your applications.

    We certainly have more room to grow. We continuously develop new applications and cycle through changes. Right now, Apica has probably been one of the most popular synthetic monitoring platforms that we use. We do have other testing platforms. Apica is not the only platform that we use. However, for production operations, it is one of our more primary platforms to monitor the health of production applications. While we still have several monitoring tools that we use, Apica has been one of our go-to tools for synthetics.

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

    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.
    PeerSpot user
    Gabriele Armao  - PeerSpot reviewer
    Head of Monitoring at a tech services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
    Real User
    Top 5
    Reduces the time required to fix issues, saving us money
    Pros and Cons
    • "We see the benefit almost every day. It allows us to be alerted whenever there is a store that is not responding properly around the world. We do have a network operation center (NOC) who receives these alerts, immediately checking if everything is okay."
    • "The reporting part that we use for our executives needs a bit more customization capabilities. Right now, you can use only the three main templates for reporting. We would like to be able to customize them."

    What is our primary use case?

    We have an eCommerce company. so we manage a lot of online stores. Our main usage is to make sure that our store web pages are different types of web pages, so there can be a homepage, search page, or product list page for each online store that we manage worldwide. We leverage a lot of Apica Synthetic probes to make sure that every store is available and responding as we expected worldwide. This is to ensure that there are no outages in specific parts of the world. Also, we collect some performance metrics, like response time, time to first buy, etc.

    We are using the web-based service. While we do have some on-premise probes installed, we use the service on cloud the all the way. We installed the probes two or three months ago.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We see the benefit almost every day. It allows us to be alerted whenever there is a store that is not responding properly around the world. We do have a network operation center (NOC) who receives these alerts, immediately checking if everything is okay. There are some false positives, depending on the website configuration that we are checking. Other times, the alerts are real. We receive a very quick alert through our NOC so we can immediately check and try to find the root cause. This is our biggest benefit. 

    Another benefit that we leverage is the creation of reports every month, regarding the availability of all our stores. This is something that is needed by the executives of our company. They want to see this report with the SLA availability of the stores. We are able to do this straight away with Apica Synthetic.

    We don't have a lot of very complex monitoring cases because most of our checks are basic HTTP checks. However, in some cases where we use the solution with ZebraTester for scripts and monitoring, we have been able to properly import the scripts used on other platforms, reworking them so that they would work with the platform and have no issues.

    What is most valuable?

    The features that we use probably 99 percent of the time are the HTTP and HTTPS checks. We set up a lot of them. This is 99 percent of our current usage of Apica Synthetic as well as some full browser checks, but this is a lower amount. We also use some scripts that utilize the platform, but our usage of them is very small. 

    An very important point for using Apica is the ability to have Chinese probes, which is not common among these types of tools. Other important things were the Grafana native integration and PagerDuty integration, which are all tools that we use extensively.

    What needs improvement?

    When we started using Apica Synthetic, we lacked a very important feature that was readily available in the following months. The alerting is usually very good - it allows if any websites or web pages are not responding properly. What we missed was the ability to aggregate alerts. This means that if we were monitoring one website with multiple probes worldwide, like Tokyo, France, and London, then Apica Synthetic would initially alert us if any of these three probes were responding with errors. We wanted a less sensitive alerting. For example, we could be alerted if the website was unavailable from all three probes, not just one. However, an aggregated check was not initially available. 

    We do have two main open topics with them, regarding the features that we would like improved or added. 

    1. The reporting part that we use for our executives needs a bit more customization capabilities. Right now, you can use only the three main templates for reporting. We would like to be able to customize them. 
    2. The management of their single-sign on authentication does not 100 percent fit our requirements.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using this solution for around two years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is very high. We had probably one outage in two years. I am very happy with its stability.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is very scalable. Of course, scalability comes with a cost. If you need to scale out, that means you would need to use more of your licenses. However, that is reasonable.

    There are mainly three to five administrators of Apica who check the platform, configure things, etc. These administrators are all part of the monitoring team. Plus, there are another 40 to 50 users who access the tool to check the collected data. Sometimes, they will also add some checks, but most users only check the outputs.

    Right now, we are around 80 percent adoption. We would like more people to use it on our side. On the Apica Synthetic side, we would like to cover some additional checks that we haven't had time to add.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Their support team is very helpful. If we miss something, they make sure this is easily taken into consideration in the future. This is very important for us, because we tend to evolve pretty quickly. Also, in terms of requirements, they are very responsive, which we really appreciate. On a scale from zero to 10, I would say that they are very close to 10. I would probably give them a nine. I am not giving them 10 because 10 is perfection. I am leaving some room for improvement, but it is a very high rating in my opinion.

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

    For now, the coverage is 100 percent of what we need. We were using another tool before migrating to Apica Synthetic. So, we made sure that all our needs were fulfilled and Apica Synthetic was covering all those needs. 

    The reason that we switched was mainly because the previous solution that we were using did not have all the features that we needed. It was not really well-maintained. Often, it had some outages, which were unplanned. Overall, its usability was very low. So, it looked like a very old, not updated tool. So, we needed to find a better tool for our purposes.

    We were using Broadcom ASM. I know they changed the name a few times, but initially it was owned by CA, and now it is owned by Broadcom. 

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was very straightforward. 

    The solution went through our InfoSec review, which is something very important for us. The fact that we can deploy the service in a hybrid way is very useful because we do have some web pages available that are only using our internal network. We used to have two separate kinds of solution in order to monitor Internet-facing websites and internal ones, but thanks to this hybrid solution with the on-premises probe, we are able to use only one tool for both use case scenarios. This is very good for us.

    What about the implementation team?

    We did use the professional services provided by Apica to help us with the migration, since we were migrating from an existing tool. Therefore, it was not from scratch. So, we leveraged them, and it was a very straightforward process. I would rate the level of support that I received during the migration as a nine (out of 10). This level of support helped reduce the time and costs involved in switching. Without the support, we would have had to do that entire job on our own. This means a lot of man-hours, and we couldn't afford that much because we don't have a lot of free capacity.

    A few times, they solved some issues or problems with what they were importing or moving. They notified us, providing us with a better option. So, they anticipated our needs.

    The migration took around four to six months. 

    One person from our company was involved in the migration. This person's role is as an application performance specialist. His main job is to manage our application performance and availability tools. During the scope of the migration, he supervised that the checks were migrated properly as well as responding to Apica in case they had some issues or suggestions.

    What was our ROI?

    Apica Synthetic is used to avoid losing money, rather than make money. 

    Our JMeter script is loaded into the Apica Synthetic platform. If Apica Synthetic didn't have this feature, we would have been forced to either choose another solution or add an external service to adjust for this purpose. In this case, they saved us money by allowing us to use only one tool.

    The aggregated check has since been implemented by Apica, and now we are using it. Thanks to this, we are seeing when there is really a problem instead of just seeing some glitches and issues with the alerting. This has saved us time in operation costs because instead of having to check every time for just one probe that is failing, now our NOC center is able to focus on the important ones. We are saving a third of the alerting, e.g., if we were alerted and had to check three times a day, we are now doing it only once. 

    Apica Synthetic reduces the time required to fix issues. If our website is down for hours, then we lose money. So, the less time it takes for us to be alerted of a problem, then the less money we lose.

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

    The pricing is very reasonable, but it is not cheap.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We did some PoCs with other tools before selecting Apica Synthetic.

    What other advice do I have?

    I would recommend it to get in touch immediately with Apica Synthetic support to have a chat with them and discuss best practices. They are usually very helpful since they are knowledgeable about the tool, so they are able to suggest the best way to implement checks.

    I would rate this solution as a nine (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.
    PeerSpot user
    Global Monitoring & Tools Manager at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
    Real User
    Top 10
    Provides insight on our application availability at the enterprise level
    Pros and Cons
    • "Our application SREs do script checks in such a way that closely mimic our customers' actions using the platform. Because there are so many different ways and options to be able to configure checks to closely mirror your applications' capabilities, it provides a lot of optionality for teams to create the right type of check that can notify when there are any issues. At the end of the day, we want our monitoring tools to be able to catch any outage before our customers do. This is where Apica Synthetic does a great job."
    • "We have been focused on reducing polling times for synthetic checks. We have gone from 10 minutes down to five minutes for a pretty broad swath, but there is some appetite to reduce that further, which could be an improvement."

    What is our primary use case?

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

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

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

    How has it helped my organization?

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

    What is huge for us:

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

    What is most valuable?

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

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

    What needs improvement?

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

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

    For how long have I used the solution?

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

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

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

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

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

    How are customer service and technical support?

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

    How was the initial setup?

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

    What was our ROI?

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

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

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

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

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

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

    What other advice do I have?

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

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

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

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

    Disclosure: 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.
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free Apica Synthetic Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
    Updated: August 2022
    Buyer's Guide
    Download our free Apica Synthetic Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.