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Buyer's Guide
Application Performance Management (APM)
June 2022
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Information Systems Engineer III at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Top 10
Offers us the unique capability to see what the customer is seeing but the audit log system needs improvement
Pros and Cons
  • "As always, within the IT industry, everybody's always looking to upgrade and update everything else like that. Apica has been one of those things but it's really hard to replace because it offers us the unique capability to see what the customer is seeing. A lot of other ones can do Selenium script and things like that, but there's a lot in Apica that we use right now. We utilize a lot of the scenario options in Apica right now, and there's a lot of other ones that do parts of it, but it doesn't do everything that Apica does."
  • "Alerting needs improvement. It's a little noisy. It needs some better options. Currently, they have an issue, when you set up a synthetic monitor, you can set up where it's monitoring from, a data center that Apica owns."

What is our primary use case?

We're a banking software company, so we use it for Synthetic logins to test how one of our end users would log into our product for a customer, how long it would take, what loads, and then log them out. Then we test how long it takes to do that entire process.

On the Synthetic side, we only use it SaaS-based. We actually put it through an SSO. We use Okta for an SSO. That's how we're securing our connections there. Security-wise, Apica's got a couple of things in the works that are going to help them out, but they're not there now. In particular, they're coming out with a key chain that allows us to save. You can hash passwords and users, they don't have that right now. Passwords and logins are set in plain text.

How has it helped my organization?

Before we had this particular product we were using SolarWinds to do something like this. The problem with that, however, was that was an internal check, which means it was coming from our network. With Apica, we could do the same type of check, and then we could also make a scenario script that would go and click the things we wanted to click, but it would come from an external source that we did not control. That would give us a better baseline for what the customer sees, as opposed to what we expect to see from our network.

What is most valuable?

We like the scripting features and the scenarios. It allows us to set up exactly how a customer would log in, what they would type in, where they would click on the screen, and then takes screenshots of it so that we can actually see it happen and see what they see at that time.

We also use it for up-down checks for a lot of our websites that we make ourselves for our customers to make sure the sites are up or down. It's not part of the Synthetic side of it, but we also use the ZebraTester. We're actually implementing various homemade tools on our site as well by API.

We use ZebraTester for some of the sites and other things before they even become into the Synthetic side.

It is highly flexible when it comes to websites. There are a few things that it does fall down on, but for the most part for logging into a website to check to make sure elements are loaded on the screen, it's highly flexible. If I don't want a certain element to load, I can block it or I can ask it to ignore it. If I need to check for a certain element, I can do that as well.

As always, within the IT industry, everybody's always looking to upgrade and update everything else like that. Apica has been one of those things but it's really hard to replace because it offers us the unique capability to see what the customer is seeing. A lot of other ones can do Selenium script and things like that, but there's a lot in Apica that we use right now. We utilize a lot of the scenario options in Apica right now, and there's a lot of other ones that do parts of it, but it doesn't do everything that Apica does.

Apica is indispensable in a few things that we do. It currently is the only one that we have that catches CDN outages. We have many tools that monitor our customer sites, but a lot of those are API logins. If we had a CDN outage and the site didn't load all of its elements, we wouldn't be able to tell that. Apica can tell that because it's looking for particular elements on the screen. Indispensable may be a strong word, but we do highly rely on it for some things.

We use Selenium scripts and we were able to do more specific checks, so it makes it feel like we're actually a customer logging into one of our sites, checking their accounts, and logging out.

The scripting feature has kind of saved money and resources. When we first got it set up, it was a pain because we didn't have the script set up before, but now we have it setup and it's running on multiple checks. Multiple checks, meaning, our Synthetic login checks range around five to 550 checks. Now when we have scripts set up to make the Selenium check, I can pump out new Selenium scripts for one of our online banking customers in five minutes.

Alerts are always accurate, but they might not always be useful. Apica alerts on two different things: one, when an element that is in the script cannot load, and two, when a part of what's loaded comes up with a certain internet error code, a 500 or 402 or something like that. It's always accurate because those things are always not doing that, or they're getting the errors, but it may not actually be as useful. To deal with that, we generally either have to block the URL that's throwing the error code or whatnot, or we have to verify the elements.

It's very accurate but sometimes not useful. It's also noisy. When Apica alerts, it does not have a pull-in time or anything else like that, unless for elements or error codes. It does for SLA times and variances, but not for the other ones. It could be that it's a one-time blip and something didn't load on the screen, it alerts immediately right then. If it loads the next time, it's not going to alert. If it's still set up, it alerts. It can be noisy.

This level of alerting accuracy has saved us time and money in operational costs. With CDN issues, it lets us know, for instance, that we have a homemade monitoring system for our products as well that monitors to make sure that things that should be there are there, but it doesn't actually take into account if the webpage itself is loading. A number of times we've had major CDN outages where our homemade monitoring tool is fine because everything is loaded by an API, but the webpages are not. When that happens, Apica tends to go alert hard and that lets us know that "Hey, we need to go check over here as opposed to over here." That saves us time and money on troubleshooting.

We have two different approximations in terms of how much it's saving us. The way that we do our major incidents, is that we do it per customer. If we have five customers down for five minutes, that's 25 minutes of downtime. I don't have an exact number. I know that things like that when it affects our entire environment are pretty substantial.

It has also saved costs involved in managing monitoring. It has at least saved us in the cost of that it gives us one pane of glass to go to for Synthetic monitoring. I can actually send one of our analysts to go look and if they want to know if a page loaded, they don't actually have to go log in, they just have to log into Apica and check to make sure Apica's running well. That saves time, which saves them money.

What needs improvement?

Alerting needs improvement. It's a little noisy. It needs some better options. Currently, they have an issue, when you set up a Synthetic monitor, you can set up where it's monitoring from a data center that Apica owns. However, for each data center that you attach to a monitor, that's considered an extra license. That's a bit iffy. They're usually behind on the version of Chrome that they're using for the Synthetic monitors. Currently, they're using Chrome 85, they're 11 iterations out of date. They're trying to get that fixed up with something called Evergreen, which will basically be a Chrome browser that'll stay constantly up to date, but it hasn't been implemented yet. 

The problem with that is that we generally test our product with the newest versions of Chrome and everything like that, so sometimes we've run into issues. Also, when they updated to Chrome 74, we lost some monitoring capabilities that we had before that did not transfer over with this new version of Chrome.

I'd like easier access to the API. Their API, it's not bad, it's just bulky. It's a little unwieldy in the way it has to be used. One of our app developers is currently working with them and he wanted to do a number of calls to the API, and he was not able to do that. They had to make special changes to our API to make the number of calls he wanted to make. It didn't seem to be scaling as well as we thought it would. But they worked with us to actually get it to do that. That's a plus point.

I'd like to see more abilities to do mass changes to checks in the GUI, in the interface. Things like setting a mass amount of blocks for checking a bunch of checks and saying, "Make sure that this URL is blocked on all these checks." Currently, we can only do that through the API, and last time we had to do that, we actually had to use Apica support to do it. 

Finally, they have an audit log system called Journal. However, it can only check, if I remember right, two weeks at a time. That becomes really difficult when you need to check on something that you need to go back multiple times and you don't know the exact dates of the thing that changed. For example, I had a user who got changed in one of my checks and I needed to find out when it got changed. It ended up being three months ago, but I had to go back in two-week increments until I could find it. Their Journal, their auditing system, needs a little bit of work.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've had Apica for five years. 

We are using the SaaS portal.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is not bad. We've never actually had an issue with Apica, the product. The alerting really comes back down to how this thing alerts, how the alerts are sometimes not useful. That's the worst I could say about the stability. We can turn them off or we could filter them through a third-party.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From what it does, it scales pretty well. I can easily go in, pull on a check, assign a scenario to it and boom, I'm done. I've done that many times. A couple of weeks ago I spent the day creating very specific Selenium checks for very specific parts of a customer's website to make sure that they load properly. It handles it quite well.

We have roughly 100 users using this solution.

We take Apica data and we send it to our data warehouse so that we can do SLAs for our customers. There's me who sets up all the monitoring in there. And then we have our NOC, who will go in there and they use it to actually make sure sites are up and everything. It's used throughout the company in all ways: business side, maintenance, and monitoring.

I do the maintenance of Apica. 

I have 683 checks. For the Synthetic login, the checks, it's 400 checks. Those are the ones that we mimic the login like a customer would log in. For the VT checks, which are basically just up and down checks, we have 112 of those. That's not just our customer sites, we also use this product for our site as well for corporate sites.

We do have plans to increase usage. When a new customer gets added in, they get a check as well. Every customer gets a check.

How are customer service and technical support?

Support has never been a problem. Their support is top-notch. We either email or get our client experience manager on the line. They have been top-notch, willing to help, willing to go the distance. I have very minimal complaints about support. The one complaint I did have, they actually addressed it very quickly.

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

We started with SolarWinds, and after that, we moved to Apica. We then got rid of our SolarWinds integration and went to LogicMonitor. LogicMonitor has its own website monitoring tools. However, the problem with LogicMonitor's website monitoring tools is that it's very hard to set up a script the way that Apica does. They also don't provide screenshots of what happens. We've looked at a number of other vendors as well. The problem always comes down to it doesn't do the things that Apica does.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very complex. I wasn't even part of the initial setup, but I know it was very complex because we needed an external source for our checks, but we needed to be able to mimic logging in like the customer did. This was back in December of 2014. I have a feeling nowadays though, they probably have this down to a fine science of how to get people implemented and their stuff up and running.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI. We use it for all of our customers and it does help us. A lot of times it can catch things that happened to the site, but don't happen to the API. We've seen a good return on that.

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

Pricing is based upon not so much users, but the number of checks you're going to create. Make sure when you set up an account with this, to request more licenses for checks, for any type of check, than you actually need. This will save in the long run. They're really good about setting this up and getting you more licenses but there's always a cost with that.

If you think you're going to need 100 checks, make sure you get 110 licenses. Then remember if you want to do multiple-site checks, not just one-site checks, you're going to get a license for each site.

With all companies, you get the base product, but the base product's not all that you want. You want it with a whole bunch of other stuff with it. We can safely assume that there are probably other costs to add things. Things like additional integrations with other products are not included in the standard license. 

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I have learned from this solution is the sheer number of sites that can load when you load one website. We do online banking, but when you load online banking, it also loads 50 other URLs as it loads through there. That might include Google, Facebook plugins, or things like that. It has really opened my eyes to how many things load when you just open up a single webpage, even if there's that much on the webpage itself. It's very comprehensive when it comes to website monitoring.

I would rate Apica Synthetic a seven out of ten. We've had our problems with it and we're still waiting on some add-ons and features, but for the most part, it's never wrong. It's just sometimes noisy and feels old. The UI is very basic. It's not bad, it's not ugly, but it's basic. It uses old browsers. 

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.
Shankar HN - PeerSpot reviewer
Head of Network Management Solutions at Convergent Wireless Communications
Reseller
Top 5Leaderboard
You can create a template for a device, then apply it to hundreds of similar devices
Pros and Cons
  • "PRTG is simple to manage. First, you can create a template for a device, then apply it to hundreds of similar devices. That's a great advantage."
  • "There's always room for improvement. The high availability feature is good, but it's an area that PRTG could marginally improve. For example, in PRTG, both servers have a different IP, but it would make things a lot easier if they were bound by a single IP."

What is our primary use case?

It's a globally distributed network. We have multiple data centers or IT setups, and PRTG is deployed at the local data centers. Some of the applications are in the cloud, and PRTG can also monitor those.

What is most valuable?

PRTG is simple to manage. First, you can create a template for a device, then apply it to hundreds of similar devices. That's a great advantage. Secondly, I can use the 80-20 functional rule for any devices I need to monitor. 

For infrastructure monitoring, 80 percent of parameters are monitored every minute or so. I can define all of them at the highest level, and those definitions are inherited at the lowest level. Then you need to customize the setup for the remaining 20 percent. You can deploy them in various groups and do a group-level setup, which will again percolate down to devices. 

The third thing is the concept of tags. PRTG assigns tags to devices and also the parameters you monitor. For example, if you choose to deploy a bandwidth sensor, PRTG automatically tags it with that parameter while giving you the freedom to apply your own tag. 

Let's say my organization has three or even four ISPs. If I'm globally distributed, the ISPs could be different. Now I can monitor all the bandwidth across ISPs based on the tag, or I can see the bandwidth of each ISP individually. I know my uptime and recovery in case of failure. I can also group by choosing a specific ISP tag and getting a report. I now know which of my ISPs is a better performer, which helps me improve the service and decide who to go with.

PRTG is constantly evolving. You have between eight to 12 releases every year, including enhancements to functionality and performance as well as security and bug fixes, so it stays current with our business requirements. It's a well-rounded product.

What needs improvement?

There's always room for improvement. The high availability feature is good, but it's an area that PRTG could marginally improve. For example, in PRTG, both servers have a different IP, but it would make things a lot easier if they were bound by a single IP.  I'm not necessarily trying to say PRTG should imitate other products. 

I'm saying it should be like a typical HA solution should be. It is a fail-safe feature, and the HA component should act like one. In PRTG, it is in an active-active mode, not active-passive. Now, the customers don't need to know the mechanism behind the high availability. They just need to know how many servers are required for deployment. If there is a cluster with a single IP address, it's much easier from the customer's point of view. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been working on various versions of PRTG since 2003. While we are using PRTG, we are also looking at various alternatives, but we haven't seen a reason to switch so far.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

PRTG itself is a highly reliable product because of large installed base.

How was the initial setup?

Overall, PRTG is easy to install and understand. We provide frontline support for our customers, but our more competent customers don't come back to us for any support at all. If they don't have the skills, they can install and do the basic deployment, but they require hand-holding and coaching for some things. Still, I think it's a straightforward product. Once a user gets started with the product, they don't need hand-holding for basic functions.

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

The price of PRTG is reasonable. PRTG's competitors like SolarWinds and ManageEngine charge more for the same functionality. They are much more expensive at licensing level. What's more, PRTG comes as one bundle. For example, the database is part of the PRTG release, so Paessler takes total responsibility for all components they deliver. With other products, you need a separate database engine and databases, and these NMS companies don't take responsibility. When they put out new releases, what if it doesn't work with the previous release of a database? Things become a little tricky. You have to deal with two or more entities for NMS but only one with PRTG.

What other advice do I have?

I rate PRTG Network Monitor 9.5 out of 10. If you're planning to implement PRTG, my advice is to first create a master plan. Set a goal for monitoring. Decide what you want to monitor and why. You need to get ready by organizing network management at the technical and policy level. If you start with a clear understanding of your goals and your environment, PRTG will be a cakewalk.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:
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Techincal Support at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
A stable solution for backend application monitoring
Pros and Cons
  • "This product provides good visibility into applications at the backend."
  • "There should be a facility to integrate with other monitoring applications that are currently running in the environment."

What is our primary use case?

We are a system integrator and DX Spectrum is one of the products that we implement for our clients. In conjunction with DX Infrastructure Manager (CA UIM) and DX APM, this gives our customers visibility into what is happening end-to-end in their applications.

How has it helped my organization?

Some of our customers are large banks and government agencies, and they are getting value from using it.

What is most valuable?

This product provides good visibility into applications at the backend.

Some of our customers like the Service Desk aspect of it.

What needs improvement?

IP conflicts cannot be resolved automatically in the case where an IP address changes. This is one of the capabilities that SolarWinds has.

There should be a facility to integrate with other monitoring applications that are currently running in the environment. For example, if a customer is already running SolarWinds then it would be helpful if integration between these two was easy to do.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with DX Spectrum for about 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, it depends on the environment. Sometimes, the application does not function well because of the type of security and policies that are in place. Certain policies will block the application, making it unstable. We learned this after some of our customers complained and we investigated to determine why.

When we come across a situation like this we start working with their security department to address the issues, and then everything will start working well.

Overall, I think that it's a really stable product.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support for this product is not encouraging. When our customers have issues, there is a delay in response from the support team. This causes some of our customers to doubt the solution.

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

One of our customers was using SolarWinds, but have since switched to DX Spectrum because they were issues with it. Once they implemented DX Spectrum, they were able to determine the root cause of their problem and solve it.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is straightforward. The length of time required for deployment depends on the environment. For example, in a financial institution, it takes between one and two months because we need to do some information gathering and have confidence that we are meeting the requirements.

There are times when we are mid-deployment and the customer will stop us to say that they want something new. In cases like this, it slows down the implementation phase.

What about the implementation team?

Our in-house team handles the deployment for our customers.

What other advice do I have?

One of the issues that we have is that our customers are not aware of the product's full capabilities and what it can do for them. We are running our own campaign to give our customers a better understanding of the benefit they can get from it.

In summary, I think that it's a fantastic and durable product. For me, it is nice and I am actively recommending it to my clients.

I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller
Management Information System Officer at Kenmare Resources Mauritius
Real User
Top 20
Effective monitoring, scalable, and useful online resources
Pros and Cons
  • "We are able to monitor our virtual infrastructure, virtual machines, windows servers, databases, and the network using a simple network management protocol. We are able to pull almost all the metrics that we want, receive notifications, and have them integrate with telegrams for certain devices that are critical, such as UPSs."
  • "Zabbix does not draw automatic mapping of the network, this is something they should add in the future. There is a lot of effort that is involved in tailoring some of the settings which could be made easier."

What is our primary use case?

We are using Zabbix in my workplace to monitor the infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

We are able to monitor our virtual infrastructure, virtual machines, windows servers, databases, and the network using a simple network management protocol. We are able to pull almost all the metrics that we want, receive notifications, and have them integrate with telegrams for certain devices that are critical, such as UPSs.

What needs improvement?

Zabbix does not draw automatic mapping of the network, this is something they should add in the future. There is a lot of effort that is involved in tailoring some of the settings which could be made easier. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Zabbix for approximately four years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Zabbix is scalable because depending on the size of your infrastructure you can have distributed proxies servers across your network that will feed to the main server for the metric. It is similar to branches, where you can have one product for each branch and then the central server speaking in your central location, it works perfectly.

Our entire IT department is using Zabbix, which is 15 people, but we have approximately 600 devices being monitored.

How are customer service and support?

I have never had an issue that I needed to contact support. However, everything I have needed was able to be found online from the community or the Zabbix site manuals. Zabbix does offer support based on a subscription.

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

I was using Centurion previously but I decided to switch to Zaddix because of costs. I was using the community edition of Centurion and it was very limited but with Zabbix, you can have an enterprise-class monitoring solution for free. I did research quickly and then I phoned Zaddix to see if they could solve all my problems without having to pay anything. This is when they confirmed I could and then I switched.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was easy. It took approximately three hours to get the server up and running.

What was our ROI?

By using Zabbix you minimize the cost of operation because you recieve an enterprise-class monitoring solution for free.

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

The solution is free to use but they offer support as a paid service. If you can go read the manuals and do the fine-tuning based on your needs, you do not need to pay anything and you will have a full solution.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated PRTG and SolarWinds.

What other advice do I have?

You do not need to spend a lot of money on solutions that have similar functionality, such as PRTG or Solar Winds. With Zabbix, you receive a free enterprise-class monitoring solution for free, as long as you know how to use it.

I would recommend this solution to others.

I rate Zabbix a nine out of ten.

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.
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Owner at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Scalable, easy to customize, integrates well with any platform, and they have good support
Pros and Cons
  • "The feature that I like the most and the best part is the customization."
  • "We have enquired if there are any possibilities of monitoring non-IPBS devices."

What is our primary use case?

I use this product as my network monitoring solution.

What is most valuable?

Being an engineering product, the customization is easy for us compared to SolarWinds and ManageEngine.

It's a total integrated package. The feature that I like the most and the best part is the customization.

This product integrates well with any platform, and I don't see any issues with it.

What needs improvement?

We have enquired if there are any possibilities of monitoring non-IPBS devices.

Currently, I am using another security tool called Nizami Network to monitor the security solutions or automation-based networks, which is something that Everest, SolarWinds, or Manage Engine cannot do. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Everest IMS for a couple of years.

We are using version 5.3, which is the latest.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In my experience, this has been a stable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As the number of devices changes, this product adjusts, so it is scalable.

There are 250 users in our organization.

We plan to continue using this solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

I count on Everest's technical support more than anything else. I am 110% satisfied with their support.

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

Previously, we used SolarWinds. It's a good product, but the pricing is too high, and customization is not possible.

We last used SolarWinds two years ago.

How was the initial setup?

It's a straightforward installation process. 

The length of time for deployment including installation, customization, and everything needed to get it running will take at least a week's time.

What about the implementation team?

We had help from Everest for the implementation and deployment.

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

The price is much better than SolarWinds.

We pay for a number of devices on the accounts and since it is on-premises, we pay the maintenance charges for the year.

What other advice do I have?

I don't require a technical team. I only require a team of two people for monitoring.

I would recommend Everest IMS to others.

On a scale from one to ten, I would rate Everest IMS a nine.

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.
Buyer's Guide
Application Performance Management (APM)
June 2022
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