Blog Post

Prioritize Internet Performance Monitoring, urges EMA

EMA advises enterprises to prioritize Internet Performance Monitoring (IPM) to bridge observability gaps caused by increasing digital complexity.

“Internet Performance Monitoring solutions close the observability gap…” states Enterprise Management Associates in its new White Paper, Modern Enterprises Must Boost Observability with Internet Performance Monitoring. How? “…By providing visibility into global Internet performance and reporting on how that performance impacts application performance and end-user experience.”

In the White Paper and accompanying Webinar in which EMA analyst Shamus McGillicuddy, Vice President of Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations speaks with our CMO, Gerardo Dada, EMA delves into the fact that Internet Performance Monitoring (IPM) has become a business requirement. Market shifts over the last few years have led to a sea change in what is needed from observability, says EMA. “Internet Performance Monitoring tools have become just as important as application performance management, if not more so.”

In this blog post, we’ll speak to some of the game changing takeaways from EMA’s White Paper and Webinar.

Restore digital observability with Internet Performance Monitoring

Firstly, what do we mean by Internet Performance Monitoring?

In the EMA Webinar, Gerardo gives a clear example. If you look at your own company’s website, you might be surprised by how many dependencies from third-party systems are involved in delivering one page - from DNS calls to ISPs to clouds. “It’s a bit of a miracle,” says Gerardo, “that all that happens within 3-4 seconds.” The Internet is complex, fragile and constantly changing. There are many things that can go wrong, from BGP hijacks to WAN issues to ISP latency. Each component needs to be carefully tracked so that when issues happen, they can rapidly be pinpointed to the right area.

EMA’s research recognizes that today’s businesses require a far deeper insight into the Internet than they can gain with other types of performance monitoring, namely Application Performance Management (APM). As today’s digital infrastructure increasingly stretches beyond private, predictable networks, “traditional observability” says EMA, “cannot support modern digital infrastructure”. A new approach is required to guarantee the applications and digital services that power today’s businesses. EMA name this as Internet Performance Monitoring, which, in their words, “restores digital observability.”

A sea change in market conditions

At the heart of EMA’s analysis is the search for a solution to the increased digital challenges faced by businesses over the last 5-6 years. These are numerous. All, however, tie back to the increased hybridization and distribution of digital architecture.

McGillicuddy identifies three primary shifts:

#1 - The Internet is now your Wide Area Network (WAN)

99% of the companies surveyed by EMA about their WAN strategies say they are expanding their use of the public Internet for private WAN connectivity. So instead of MPLS with SLAs, network teams are relying on broadband links or even 5G for service delivery. Enterprises are relying on “a shared resource with unpredictable global performance.”

#2 - Applications are more distributed across hybrid, multi-cloud architectures

By year end, EMA says it expects 9 in 10 companies to have a multi-cloud network. This introduces “a lot of variability and a lot of complexity.” In addition, some components might remain on-premises; essentially ITOps teams are managing hybrid architectures. Further, as mentioned, modern applications rely on third-party services to pull together an entire architecture of services. Even more complexity and variability are thereby brought into the mix.

#3 - Remote work pushes the network edge into homes

As we all know, Covid-19 expanded the remote workforce permanently. According to EMA research, today 43% of an average company are now remote. By 2025, it expects this to expand to 49% of employees. For IT teams, this means they must support the user experience of remote employees “for the foreseeable future.” Half of IT teams surveyed told EMA they needed improved visibility into loss, latency, and jitter for their employees’ remote Internet connections. “The ability to monitor internet performance and user experience for remote works,” warns EMA, “has become a critical challenge.”

“Is APM obsolete now?”

The Webinar Q&A kicked off with this question from the audience. “No, it’s still useful,” said Gerardo. “There are some aspects of APM, like understanding resource utilization. In the past, when one or a cluster of servers were supporting one application. Now we have autoscaling and dynamically provisioned infrastructure in the cloud, it’s less about making sure applications can run but the visibility into infrastructure lets you manage cost. Still, I think development teams will need APM for many years to come, but I would say that APM is insufficient as it doesn’t show you the full picture. A true operations team needs APM to look at the internals of the application but also they also need IPM to understand the real-world experience users are having - through the Internet - of the application itself.”

EMA’s research confirms this. “Legacy APM tools do not account for the variability and instability that the internet introduces to digital architecture,” McGillicuddy writes in the White Paper’s Conclusion. “Instead, it excels at revealing the health and performance of application environments. The internet is invisible to these tools.” EMA ultimately recommends that ITOps teams adopt both APM and IPM. “Adopting a comprehensive Internet Performance Monitoring solution,” they write, “will complement an existing observability tool stack and empower IT operations teams to partner with DevOps and cloud teams to support digital transformation.”

EMA’s five-point guidance on how to choose an IPM solution

EMA’s guidance for companies looking to deploy an IPM solution suggests they focus on the following five capabilities:

  1. Focus on a platform approach – By adopting a unified, multifunction solution, EMA recommends that businesses can monitor the Internet from as many vantage points as possible while also “monitoring end-user experience from the edge of the network.”
  2. Collect telemetry for a hybrid WAN architecture – Telemetry must prioritize the Internet, says EMA, given its criticality to modern WAN architectures.  
  3. Superior multi-cloud network performance monitoring – IT professionals identified three primary requirements: (i) cloud-to-data center interconnection (ii) cloud-to-cloud interconnection (iii) site-to-cloud connections or end-user experience. These tools, says EMA, “should also present all these insights within a single pane of glass.”
  4. Enable better management of remote employees’ user experience – IT teams need to accelerate MTTR for homebound employees, warns EMA. Three critical feature requirements are needed, IT teams told the researchers. These include improved integration with ticketing and ITSM solutions, better dashboards and reports to help teams prioritize incidents, and reporting that shows the state of a network connection from the client device perspective.  
  5. Advanced analytics and AIOps – The most effective solutions, guides EMA, will “offer advanced features based on artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML).” Reduction of noise and better prioritization of issues are just two of the ways that AI/ML can “transform Internet performance metrics” and “turn reporting into actionable insights.”

Catchpoint’s industry leading Internet Performance Monitoring solution

At Catchpoint, we’ve spent the last fifteen years refining our approach to IPM. Ultimately, it comes down to this. We monitor what matters from where it matters. What do we mean by this?  

‘Monitor what matters’ means we monitor the Internet Stack. By this, we mean the collection of technologies, systems and protocols that make possible and impact every Internet connection. The six layers that comprise the Internet Stack are applications, media/AD, cloud services, the Internet core, protocols, and networks.  

'From where it matters' means we monitor each component within these six layers from our global observability network. We take pride in continually adding nodes to our industry-leading network. We currently have 2600+ nodes positioned in over 300 providers in 80 countries worldwide. If you really care about user experience, whether your customer or workforce, it's crucial to understand what their experience is like from their point of view. Further, we monitor from the major cloud providers, but also from different endpoints, last mile networks, within companies, and so on.  

What this adds up to is the ability for our customers to catch issues before they become incidents. We help them do this in a number of ways, including through AIOps, by providing HD-real-time data, advanced correlation capabilities, experience scores, and the ability to drill down through our advanced analytics to a highly granular level. We continually partner with our customers to extend our observability network and strengthen our IPM solution.

Finally, the caliber of our customers speaks for itself. We are trusted by 9 of the top 10 Forbes Digital companies, 6 of the top 6 cloud providers, 9 of the top 10 CDN providers, and 7 of the top 10 publicly-traded Software Companies by revenue. If you are interested in joining them, why not try out our self-guided tour?


Read the White Paper: Modern Enterprises Must Boost Observability with Internet Performance Monitoring

Watch the Webinar: Avoid Observability Failure: Enterprises Must Complement APM with IPM

No registration required

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