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Buyer's Guide
Application Performance Management (APM)
September 2022
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Hani Khalil - PeerSpot reviewer
Service Assurance , Senior Manager at a computer software company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 5
Great visibility, easy to set up, and has very responsive technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "Sometimes when we face issues with the new technologies or very old technologies where we cannot enhance the service, they move to work with us directly and start doing some development on this area which is very good for us."
  • "The solution needs to enhance the management dashboards."

What is our primary use case?

We publish more than 140 business services to the whole Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We need to monitor the behavior of service from the customer's perspective which is called real user monitoring. This solution gives us visibility on that. In the same tool, there's another part for diagnostics where we can drill down to the code level and find issues with the code or the data to see, for example, web services code. 

How has it helped my organization?

We have a service serving the whole Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Anyone who wants to do some transaction on vehicles, or anything related to public relations, needs to log into the portal. It's made it easy and enhanced protection. 

Another way it benefits the organization is in the number of calls from the customers. Before getting reports from the customers about when service is interrupted, we now know from eG any issues are and the team direct can drill down to find the issue. We can find out if it's from our applications, our data center, or from a third-party integration as it integrates with many other companies and ministries in Saudi Arabia.

In this way, we reduce the time downtime for the service, the number of impacted users, and the issues the customer will face.  It allows us to solve the issues faster.

What is most valuable?

The visibility and the ability to monitor user behavior are very useful to us. So is the fact that we have diagnostic capabilities. We divided the usage of these two parts - one for our business team and one for our support team where they can see the availability, performance, and application or service updates from a customer perspective. 

We appreciate that the team can understand the issue from our application, database, code, data integration, et cetera. 

We like that two different teams can use it and it fits each of their individual needs. 

Sometimes when we face issues with the new technologies or very old technologies where we cannot enhance the service, they move to work with us directly and start doing some development on this area which is very good for us.

The initial setup is pretty simple. 

The solution can scale.

Technical support has been great.

What needs improvement?

The solution needs to enhance the management dashboards. They have small dashboards. You can do small customizations on it, however, when you have business requirements that require executive dashboards it will cost us too much. They need to do a development like this. 

We are looking to have tenure-based services covered in eG. They promised us this in the future.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been aware of the solution for 20 years. We recently did a POC and we've been using it for about a year or so now. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution has been very stable. We faced one issue related to volume traffic where we increased the JVM heap on the servers and some resources then it became stable so stability is great for us.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is quite good. We do have plans to expand usage in the future.

The main thing here is we have something called connectors. These must be published over the internet to connect as much and we're able to select the services for each connector which means it's scalable for us.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support is very responsive. If there's a critical issue they connect directly to you so on the same day and do their best to solve it. In the case there needs to be some development or escalation they'll do it on the same day.

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

We previously had Dynatrace. It was costly already and then they changed the licensing scheme and made it very, very, very expensive. It cost us almost $3 million Saudi Riyal a year to have it for our own services which is why we decided to switch.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not complex. It's almost easy to implement - especially the parts of real user monitoring where just you need to generate a tag for each service and share it with the development team. 

We have a team for monitoring. We manage almost 10 tools, one of them being eG. We have one primary administrator and one backup, and both did the implementation together. It doesn't take too much time actually. Once you know the procedure it's okay.

The deployment took about two weeks.

What about the implementation team?

We did the implementation by ourselves based on the best practices from the data center. We asked them just to do a health check for us just to see how things looked overall as sometimes you need to do some calculations in terms of the traffic volume that you're going to receive and how many agents will be reporting to your system. You need to make sure everything is accurate and it's best to have a second opinion.

What was our ROI?

We definitely have seen an ROI. We, for example, cut the costs by using the tool. We also reduced the number of calls. This was one of the main value-adds for our operations department. We were able to cut service requests by 75%.

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

We paid about 300,000 Saudi Riyal for the solution and it was quite affordable compared to the competition. That's less than $100K a subscription for almost 150 services or 100 system licenses where one portal is a license and looks like the agent is a license. We can vary almost 30 portals until with 10 integration services. We utilize only 85 agents or 85 people and under this license, we can manage more.

If a user wants to try the solution, they can do a one-year license and, if they decide to continue, can do a perpetual license.

If you need a professional service from their side, it costs nothing extra.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have done POCs on my tools and I found this solution to be one of the easiest tools - even in the administration part.

I tested AppDynamics, Dynatrace OneAgent, and Micro Focus ADM. This we have on-premise. We have one tool, Catchpoint, on the cloud. It's quite easy and not very technical due to the fact that it was on the cloud.

One of the main reasons why we moved with eG is not only due to the fact that it's on-premise deployment but due to the cost. When we selected the tool we were at a level where we needed to cut the cost for the whole operations department. We could not move with Dynatrace or AppDynamics as it's close to half a million to cover the whole services where eG only cost us around 300,000 Saudi Riyal and would cover 85 to 90% of the business requirements. We saw everything we needed at that time and we got everything at a proper cost. 

What other advice do I have?

We're just a customer.

If the solution is right for a company depends on the environment and if your environment is very complex, like the one we have with many security items. You need to test everything before buying it actually.

From the almost six months of doing many POCs on other tools to find a good one for us, I noticed that 95% of these tools are using the same technology and same behavior, however, you need to know your business requirements to decide which would work best for you. If you need just to decide based on the fancy interface you have, you will pay a lot of money for this. However, if you need just to get the value of the technical team and then you present it in any way you need it, this product would be better for you.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten overall.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Real User
Provides reach and varied analytic capabilities, but security standards need improvement
Pros and Cons
  • "There are custom reports available along with the inbuilt reports."
  • "I would like the ability to get more data points with regard to some of the unique requirements that we have."

What is our primary use case?

SmartBear AlertSite is being used for URL monitoring and multistep transaction-based monitoring. 

Our organization works with anything within application monitoring. We work with the end customer to understand their pain points and then propose the monitoring solution, which includes strategic consulting and designing the overall monitoring implementation solution. 

We leverage the SaaS locations that the solution offers, plus we have spun it on-premises on a Private Node Server. This appliance is deployed within our own network, which we host and manage.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of AlertSite are the reach and the varied analytical capabilities, and the dashboard. There are custom reports available along with the inbuilt reports.

The solution is easy to navigate with a user experience that is right on the UI front. 

What needs improvement?

AlertSite requires improvements related to security, even at the enterprise level. Our organization has encountered many security-related findings with respect to how the security standards have been implemented. 

For example, the Log4j issue that occurred last year, impacted SmartBear products. Since we were hosting the appliances on our intranet network we had a significant risk. The turnaround time of the response to provide an updated release caused us to struggle.

In future releases, I would like the ability to get more data points with regard to some of the unique requirements that we have. For example, the OTP, or one-time password code, is something that is generated and sent over to an individual's mobile device or mail. Over the past few months, the requirement has been sent over to a specific mobile application. This means that only mobile devices are getting the code. If SmartBear provided this functionality where we only need to give the end client's email ID or that specific endpoint's email ID, it would make things much easier. We would not need to create our own script. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been consistently using AlertSite for three and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have never had any concerns with the stability of AlertSite with respect to SaaS prioritized locations or with our on-premise set-up. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

AlertSite is scalable within the SaaS environment, as the vendor manages this. With respect to the on-premise infrastructure, we have faced a number of issues. We had to set up maximum capacity benchmarks.

We have a team of eight administrators as well as over 200 recipients who are either power users or read-only, that have access to AlertSite.

How are customer service and support?

I have contacted customer service and support several times. When we first began to use the solution, we would reach out to get more granularity in terms of the advanced functionalities that were available. Particularly scripting techniques and best practices, even for the on-premise appliances. 

Now, we contact support for more unique issues like multi-factor authentication and new functionalities that have evolved. 

Overall, I would rate technical support a four out of five. They are not available 24/7 and their team is located in the United States.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

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

Prior to using AlertSite, we were using Micro Focus SiteScope and BPM. 

Historically, SmartBear AlertSite was used by another service line within the organization. When the team discovered we were looking into proof of concept by evaluating and exploring other solutions, the service owner contacted us to advise that SmartBear AlertSite was available in the service line and was available with the existing contract.

After we completed the proof of concept with regard to the capabilities the solution offered, we felt that it was a fit. It was one of the latest and greatest tools in terms of modern technologies. We were very interested in the extension, it was user-friendly and an easy-to-use solution. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of AlertSite is straightforward. The user interface is not complicated making the setup fairly simple.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation of AlertSite was a migration project. Our company has close to 600 different monitors. From the Micro Focus tool stack, we were moving over monitors to this new platform. The implementation took four months. 

There was a multi-step transaction-based monitoring. The synthetic monitoring required script creation related to the various use cases that we have. 

What was our ROI?

The return on investment of this solution is well witnessed in our organization because of the integration and various capabilities that it offers to interact with the upstream or downstream systems. It has been used in our organization as a proactive indicator for any priority-one or severity-one incidents that are triggered. 

Before the end customer is opening an incident ticket, the tool is smart enough with regard to the scheduling that we have done it. From this perspective, the end customers are seeing the value. As tool owners, or solution providers, we also are happy. The high incidents are getting captured, and the team is benefiting from this.

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

We have an annual contract with AlertSite. The cost is high.

What other advice do I have?

For anyone considering implementing AlertSite for the first time, I recommend that first and foremost they do very clear inventory documentation. This can then be given to the sales representative at the beginning of the proof of concept so that the cost can be anticipated based on future workload.

When considering the tool's capabilities, your requirements may be XYZ, but you should still explore the other functions within the tool that can be leveraged. The solution not only offers simple URL monitors, or synthetic monitors, it also provides you the ability to execute network-level monitoring and gives you the ability to exhibit that API value retrieval mechanism.  

If someone is interested, they should go ahead with the demo setup environment and do the POC. 

Overall, I would rate AlertSite a seven out of 10. While there are a lot of positive points, there is still room for maturity of the solution. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Buyer's Guide
Application Performance Management (APM)
September 2022
Get our free report covering Dynatrace, AppDynamics, Microsoft, and other competitors of Micro Focus Business Process Monitor. Updated: September 2022.
632,611 professionals have used our research since 2012.