Blog Post

Solving the challenge of cost-effective monitoring across multiple locations and branches

Discover how Enterprise Light Nodes ensure seamless, cost-effective connectivity and quick issue resolution for businesses with multiple branches.

You’re at the checkout in a supermarket, and suddenly, the payment system stops working. Frustrating, right? Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common scenario that explains why some people think twice before shopping in person. It isn't just a problem for shoppers—it's a major headache for businesses that operate across multiple locations.

It doesn’t matter how well your point-of-sale applications are running across 800 different locations if your customers aren’t able to checkout at location 801. That’s why having an enterprise network monitoring solution running across all branches to continuously check the availability of crucial applications, identify problems, determine their causes, and facilitate swift resolutions is a crucial capability to remain competitive.  

Introducing Enterprise Light Nodes: Scalable Internet Performance Monitoring simplified

For years, our customers have leveraged Catchpoint’s Enterprise Nodes to gain proactive visibility into their business-critical systems and applications. These nodes can be deployed in a variety of environments—from branch offices and retail locations to data centers and even moving vehicles like airplanes or buses. Whether you choose physical or virtual appliances running on Linux OS, deploying Enterprise Nodes provides deep insight into the performance, availability, and reliability of your networks and applications, eliminating any blind spots.

Building on this powerful foundation, we’ve enhanced our Network Experience solution with Enterprise Light Nodes, lightweight software uniquely tailored for flexibility and scalability, designed to be easily installed in network environments with limited resources (either human or hardware). Capable of being affordably deployed in thousands of retail locations, this new capability provides comprehensive coverage and continuous monitoring across all your locations, ensuring your network remains robust and responsive.

The need for a lightweight solution in large network infrastructures

In today's sprawling network infrastructures, deploying monitoring nodes across hundreds or thousands of locations can be prohibitively expensive. However, Enterprise Light Nodes offer a cost-effective solution by leveraging lightweight agents that can be installed on minimal hardware, such as existing routers or even low-cost Raspberry Pi devices. This approach drastically reduces the upfront costs associated with traditional deployments.

Moreover, Enterprise Light Nodes are designed for simplicity, allowing even non-technical local employees to install and maintain the system without complicated provisioning or ongoing on-site maintenance. This ease of use not only furthers cost savings but also ensures that any employee can quickly set up the system right out of the box.

The financial benefits of this capability extend beyond just installation. By placing nodes virtually anywhere at a minimal cost, businesses can proactively monitor and quickly diagnose issues at individual locations before they escalate.  

For example, imagine during a peak shopping hour, your credit card system unexpectedly fails at one of your retail locations. The staff, overwhelmed with customers, might not report the issue immediately, causing you to lose money and customer trust with every passing minute as transactions slow down to cash-only. Say the issue gets reported an hour later; that still doesn’t tell you WHAT went wrong.  

With a local node installed, you’re immediately alerted the moment a system fails. This prompt detection allows you to quickly understand the issue and start resolving it—often before it impacts any customer. Consider the impact: installing a $50 Raspberry Pi as an Enterprise Light Node could save you not only hours of sales losses but also preserve your customer service reputation. That’s a small price to pay for such critical, real-time insights and problem resolution.

Analytics and alerts simplified

With Enterprise Light Nodes, monitoring enterprise network and application health becomes straightforward. Our analytics break down data by location and provide an overall score for each branch and detailed test performance, helping to identify network or application issues. One key feature is the Experience Score, which allows network operations teams to swiftly assess the overall health of each location.  

Enterprise Light Nodes support a suite of tests designed for comprehensive monitoring of branch networks and applications. Customers can deploy these tests on their branch routers to monitor the health of their network and the performance of critical applications. For example, a company with multiple branches might use one set of tests to check for network access issues and another to determine if their application server is down. Similarly, a Managed Network Service Provider (MNSP) might use a primary set of tests to detect any network issues that could affect client-server access, with a secondary set focused on assessing application health.

In the snapshot above, the Test Performance section describes an occasion where the application was inaccessible, yet the network test results were 100%. This indicates that the branch network was functioning correctly, suggesting the issue likely lay with the application server.

Alerts can be configured within the test setup to align with benchmarks or the Service Level Agreement (SLA) with customers. For example, an alert can be set to notify the network monitoring team if application availability drops by more than 80% within a five-minute period. Similarly, an alert could be set for spikes in network latency. While these alerts function similarly to existing ones, their design specifically considers the monitoring strategy across a significant number of nodes at various locations.

In addition to the unique features of Enterprise Light, Catchpoint’s existing analytics capabilities provide the team with insights from thousands of locations or nodes simultaneously. This comprehensive view enables the team to pinpoint affected locations, delve into the data to identify the root cause of issues, and quickly devise solutions.

Enterprise Light Architecture

Industries with numerous stores, branches, or smaller locations rely on their teams to use business applications that connect to central servers. By implementing Enterprise Light Nodes on routers across all locations, companies (along with their ISPs or Network providers) can monitor both network and application health efficiently from the end-user location. This setup not only offers insights into the performance of their infrastructure but also supports the measurement of Experience Level Agreements (XLAs).

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In conclusion, proactive monitoring with Enterprise Light Nodes ensures that businesses with multiple branches can maintain seamless and cost-effective connectivity. By addressing issues before they impact operations, companies can offer reliable service to both employees and customers, safeguarding their valuable reputation, time, and money.  

Download our Network Experience Solution Brief to learn how to ensure your network is reachable – not just available – from anywhere, all the time.

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