1. Solution Value
Internet Performance Monitoring solutions address the thorny challenge of ensuring continuous service availability for digital companies that rely on the public internet to deliver services. Because the internet is a heterogeneous entity, no two connections are the same. Each path between an end user and a web service is determined by numerous variables, including the type of last-mile connectivity, peering internet service providers, content delivery networks, hosting location, and the type of service requested, among others.
This complex web of third parties that facilitate service-to-user connectivity means that customer experience is dependent on the performance of these third parties. Historically, enterprises have had little to no visibility over the performance of networks or services that they do not directly manage.
Catchpoint’s Internet Performance Monitoring solution is a suite of cloud-native monitoring services that offers end-to-end observability across what the company calls the internet stack—the heterogenous collection of networks, services, and providers used to transit services online. The Catchpoint IPM solution is tuned to monitor the individual elements of the user experience, with specific modules for Customer, Workforce, Network, Application, and Website Experience.
2. Urgency and Risk
Organizations are prone to normalcy bias–the tendency to underestimate the likelihood or impact of a negative event. This can be wrongly validated when an organization has not recently experienced business-critical outages.
99.99% availability SLAs can also be misleading. While nobody realistically expects a service to be available 100% of the time, a 99.99% SLA can wrongly be regarded as “always available.” It’s also worth noting that composite SLAs, which are a result of multiple 99.99% availability services chained together, will decrease overall system uptime considerably.
In these instances, enterprise systems are both dependent and vulnerable to vendors in the internet stack. An outage in any link of these complex and opaque architectures is hard to identify, diagnose, and resolve. More often, it is first highlighted by end users, at which point, both the business and consumers have already suffered damage.
Besides the obvious damage caused by a service outage (such as lost revenue), organizations may also face a brand crisis and loss of customer trust. Following that, they need to invest additional resources to regain that trust.
Like cybersecurity, the cost of doing nothing is far greater than a proportional investment in IPM. Large outages happen to the largest, best-equipped organizations, and regardless of the effort to prevent downtime, nobody can reach 100% uptime.
Without an IPM solution, enterprises are far more exposed to damage from an outage than otherwise. Reactive approaches to investing in IPM cannot help businesses deal with current outages. There is little to no risk associated with deploying Catchpoint IPM, as it is a cloud-native solution that does not interfere with technology operations. The only real way to reduce the risk of damage caused by downtime is to invest in an IPM solution proactively and establish the required workflows to help with troubleshooting and diagnosis.
IPM solutions shine a light on the dark corners of the internet stack. They leverage a cloud-based architecture made up of independently hosted vantage points deployed across providers in the internet stack, enterprise nodes, and end-user agents. Among the benefits of an IPM solution:
Improved visibility and diagnostics: An IPM platform helps teams measure, scope, and respond to an outage or event. Catchpoint IPM provides end-to-end visibility between an organization’s services and end users. Comprehensive metrics from a trusted and independent source reduces mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR) and mean-time-to-innocence (MTTI).
Independent observability: While some service providers, such as cloud service providers (CSP) or content delivery networks (CDN), offer reporting capabilities, Catchpoint employs an observability network that is decoupled from the hosting cloud providers, enabling IT operations teams to proactively detect, identify, fix, and validate issues even when those service providers suffer an outage.
End-user experience monitoring: Catchpoint IPM products can assume the perspective of end users to measure their experience in accessing and using web services such as websites or enterprise applications.
Proactive optimization: Beyond real-user monitoring, Catchpoint’s IPM provides synthetic testing, simulating requests to applications and services from different browsers, devices, and locations. Synthetic tests can monitor service uptime, response time, and regional performance issues.
4. Best Practices
The ideal IPM solution is modular and flexible, providing enterprises with multiple avenues for protecting performance, revenue, and optimizing user experience. Organizations can employ best practices and develop additional value-adding services, such as:
- Monitoring critical systems first: As is the case with many technologies, enterprises need to stage rollouts to control cost and people impact. To support that, a good IPM can provide customers a deployment model that allows the customer to start with the most critical systems first. As all Catchpoint solutions share the same underlying platform, enterprises can start by monitoring priority services first, then expand to the other available solutions. This can ease initial deployment effort, lower time to value, and measure success with an initial proof of concept.
- Reporting for SLA and service credits: The number and location of the inspection points (called vantage points by Catchpoint) make a huge difference in the quality and ROI of any IPM solution. These will have a direct impact in helping customers meet their defined SLA’s and avoid associated penalties. Catchpoint’s independent monitoring solution can help organizations measure adherence to SLAs and calculate appropriate service credits when the SLAs are breached.
- Integrations with service management systems: Integrations with service management systems such as ServiceNow can help IT operations streamline the investigation and troubleshooting processes. Catchpoint has an advanced API with out of the box integrations to popular service management platforms.
- Integrations with existing visualization tools: Enterprises that use tools such as NewRelic or DataDog can bring in their IPM data to keep the same Ops teams workflows.
- Bring-your-own KPIs: Organizations with industry-specific monitoring requirements, such as VoIP, SEO, or sentiment analysis, can create a custom monitor in their preferred scripting language. These scripts are then run on a Catchpoint agent defined in the monitor and collects metrics.
- Self-remediation for workforces: Rather than funneling IT issues through the first-line support team, end-user devices can run a Catchpoint agent, which enables an organization’s workforce to troubleshoot connectivity and experience issues. An example is highlighting to users that poor performance is not caused by a problem with a cloud-hosted application but rather by the user’s home WiFi packet loss.
- Vendor selection: Catchpoint can help identify the best-performing vendor for each part of your service delivery chain and measure ongoing performance.
- Leveraging Catchpoint’s internet resilience program: This is a managed service offered by Catchpoint that monitors a customer’s infrastructure for up to four weeks and is best used for notable events like Black Friday or the Super Bowl. The service can help organizations ensure they have the right resources and expertise in place to handle the challenges associated with large increases in traffic.
5. Organizational Impact
IPM solutions offer new data sources indispensable for operations teams. Any team with an Ops suffix can integrate these new data points in their workstream. Catchpoint is designed to support each of these teams across their capabilities. Common examples include:
- NetOps: Gaining insights over network reachability and traffic routing, secure service access, and VPN monitoring. The NetOps team can better navigate the digital service delivery chain without having their workflows impacted by local or distributed critical events.
- DevOps: Actionable insights through all stages of the DevOps lifecycle from pre-production to release and continual optimization. Monitoring cloud applications from the same distributed locations as end users and getting visibility into API performance and uptime.
- SEO and marketing: Monitoring site speed, usability, and resilience in real-time across various browsers, devices, and global locations to rapidly identify and fix performance issues before they impact the business.
- ITOps: Evaluating on-premises, public, hybrid, or multi-cloud environments–including third-party components. Getting additional visibility into cloud migrations to identify when issues arise, ascertain root causes, effectively triage, and improve incident response times.
To better understand how the investment in an IPM solution should be evaluated and budgeted, IT decision-makers must consider the following points:
- Time to value: While the Catchpoint solution is cloud-based and requires little setup, the deploying organization must develop incident response processes using the metrics provided by Catchpoint.
- Suite of products: Catchpoint offers multiple solutions based on a shared underlying platform. The products include Customer, Workforce, Network, Application, and Website Experience Monitoring modules, and can be used on-demand as business requirements change.
- Pricing structure: The Catchpoint pricing structure is based on usage. It’s a flexible structure that enables customers to employ any service and configure the vantage points and volumes as needed.
- Diversity of coverage: The solutions are inherently flexible and enable businesses to monitor segments of the internet stack from where it matters as well as adjust the coverage as use cases change.
6. Solution Timeline
The opportunity to start monitoring is immediate. As a cloud-delivered solution, enterprises can plug and play to access data. The ramp up from switching on the service to extracting value from the data depends on employee training and workflows.
Catchpoint SuccessPath is the onboarding program that establishes tests and routines based on the required monitoring solutions to support training and upskilling. Catchpoint can also augment an organization’s monitoring team with managed services.
The resources needed to deploy Catchpoint’s solutions are minimal. The only technical implementations required for organizations that use the enterprise nodes include adjusting the security policies to whitelist traffic to and from Catchpoint nodes or, where needed, installing enterprise nodes behind the firewall. Both processes are well-documented and supported via Catchpoint SuccessPath.
Plan, Test, Deploy
- Plan: Consider integration opportunities with data pipelines ITSM and major incident management. Also, identify which segments of the workforce require agent deployment. For example, agents can assist remote workers or traveling sales staff manage their devices but may not benefit office-based workers or off-shore support teams that have direct access to IT service desks.
- Test: Organizations can leverage Catchpoint’s free 14-day trial for proofs of concept, which offers 100% of the features available.
- Deploy: The only configuration requirements for deploying the solutions are whitelisting traffic, installing agents, carrying out integrations with the organization’s existing ITSM tools, and creating custom dashboards and KPIs.
Enterprises need to consider new types of infrastructure that will affect their business and how Catchpoint solutions will adapt over time to include them. These can be web3-based applications and services or multi-access edge compute (MEC).
7. Analyst’s Take
The increasingly intricate digital supply chain and proliferation of as-a-service delivery models means that today’s IT systems have more points of failure than ever before. When services are dependent on third parties, they are highly vulnerable to outages. IPM solutions address this by providing visibility over external networks and services. Catchpoint’s IPM solution is uniquely positioned to help organizations navigate performance issues and degradations while posing virtually no risk to the enterprises deploying the solutions.
Today’s question is not if but when an outage will happen. This means IT decision-makers must choose between bearing the full weight of these outages or investing in an IPM solution to navigate them intelligently.
8. Report Methodology
This GigaOm CxO Decision Brief analyzes a specific technology and related solution to provide executive decision-makers with the information they need to drive successful IT strategies that align with the business. The report is focused on large impact zones that are often overlooked in technical research, yielding enhanced insight and mitigating risk. We work closely with vendors to identify the value and benefits of specific solutions and to lay out best practices that enable organizations to drive a successful decision process.
9. About Andrew Green
Andrew Green is an experienced technologist whose areas of expertise include enterprise IT, fintech, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and fixed and mobile connectivity. His engineering experience as an operational support system designer and radio networks optimization engineer helps him assess new technologies from both a technical and commercial perspective. Currently, Logan oversees Vodafone’s portfolio of managed IT products targeted at large enterprises. He has also been working as a technical writer and business strategist across the technology industry, helping mid-sized organizations define their propositions, offerings, and market positioning.
10. About GigaOm
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