AT Internet is one of the early pioneers of digital analytics, helping companies measure their audience and optimize their digital performance across all marketing channels. From data collection to exploration, activation, and the sharing of insights, AT Internet’s Analytics Suite Delta provides high-quality, GDPR-compliant data that optimizes decision-making companywide.
The company worked with Catchpoint to:
- Validate service quality.
- Pinpoint external network issues and vetting service providers.
- Easily visualize application errors.
- Optimize web pages.
Not many monitoring solutions have had such a positive impact on our business. This is why we’ve been working with Catchpoint’s digital experience monitoring solution for five years and counting.
AT Internet had long relied on internal network monitoring using various tools. However, it lacked a way to monitor conditions beyond its network, such as Internet peering and domain name system (DNS) resolution. “We have customers around the world using a variety of Internet service providers,” says Thomas Fisher, business unit manager at AT Internet. “We needed a view of performance and availability from the customer side in, but it was very challenging to achieve this.”
When they experienced performance issues, AT Internet customers would share data generated by their monitoring tools. To diagnose the issues, AT Internet would ask them to run and share traceroutes and DNS resolution tests. However, it was exceedingly difficult to pinpoint the root cause of certain problems from specific locations such as China and South America – especially if the problem was not detected by AT Internet’s client tools.
In an attempt to improve visibility, AT Internet deployed two external monitoring servers in South America, China, India, and the United States. However, this limited deployment did not help address customer performance issues in other parts of the world. Plus, as Fisher explains, China is complicated because of the number of providers and size of the country.
After evaluating a handful of active observability tools, AT Internet chose Catchpoint’s Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) solution for several reasons, including the fact that it is user friendly and has the largest global presence, with more than 850 monitoring nodes around the world. That includes one of the largest monitoring networks in China, comprising 105 nodes.
“The management menus and interfaces in other tools were very complex. Moreover, Catchpoint has monitoring locations across the entire globe, while other vendors didn’t have a presence in places like China. Catchpoint’s coverage allows us to monitor the customer experience from every network and location worldwide,” says Fisher.
A variety of teams within AT Internet use Catchpoint tools, including those responsible for infrastructure, quality, and the front-end experience. The infrastructure team receives alerts via Catchpoint, while the quality team uses metrics to monitor performance, availability, and load time. Meanwhile, the front-end team uses Catchpoint to determine whether a change will impact performance or availability before it is pushed from test to production.
Validating Service Quality
AT Internet monitors its main applications using three Catchpoint monitoring locations in three countries and with three different Internet service providers (ISPs). Every five minutes, Catchpoint nodes perform tests for granular visibility of its application and tag availability. “We don’t want to monitor Internet problems or things not related to our availability. Using this 3 x 3 x 3 model, we are certain about availability,” Fisher says. Moreover, as an objective source of truth, Catchpoint proves valuable with AT Internet’s customers. “It gives credibility with our customers that we use a best-of-breed solution to monitor our availability and quality,” he says.
Pinpointing External Network Issues and Vetting Service Providers
It is not uncommon for AT Internet to run up against peering problems and ISP outages. Catchpoint provides visibility into the status of providers worldwide, making it easy to diagnose problems when customers have trouble reaching the AT Internet solution. Moreover, Catchpoint’s global presence empowers AT Internet to vet new content delivery network (CDN), DNS, and other providers.
Easily Visualizing Application Errors
The screenshot feature within Catchpoint enables AT Internet to troubleshoot issues more easily. In one case, a customer reported an error message that prompted the quality team to evaluate its data availability. Seeing no problem with data availability, it used the screenshot option in Catchpoint and saw that the error message was different than what the customer had described.
AT Internet also pushes a unique ID when making the call from Catchpoint. If there is a failure, the teams can drill down in Catchpoint and correlate the ID with its internal tools to troubleshoot more easily. In addition, Catchpoint helps the infrastructure and quality teams more easily see all alerts. “When we experience a major internal network issue, we see many alerts in numerous places. It’s far simpler to view them centrally in Catchpoint,” continues Fisher.
Optimizing Web Pages
Whenever AT Internet is considering the purchase of a third-party technology to improve the end-user experience, it can use Catchpoint to analyze the performance impact on its solution. In one case, it saw that its web page response time dropped 60 percent by migrating from third-party solution AngularJS to Angular.
“It’s usually difficult to determine the performance improvement of such a change from the end-user perspective. But with Catchpoint, we can easily do so and even quantify the impact. This is invaluable whether we are buying new solutions or analyzing the impact of existing solutions on an ongoing basis,” Fisher explains.
By taking advantage of Catchpoint along with other measures, AT Internet reduced its tag loading time by at least 50 percent**.** Moreover, rather than spending hours and even days investigating performance and availability issues, AT Internet can pinpoint and troubleshoot issues within 30 minutes on average. The quality and infrastructure teams regularly use Catchpoint as part of their monitoring and bi-weekly reviews. The teams find it valuable to see graphs and data within Catchpoint, since not all issues generate an alert. More recently, the front-end team started using Catchpoint. “Instead of only using their monitoring system, they understand the value of seeing the end-user perspective too. They recently made a big change to the programming language for our front-end app and used Catchpoint to compare the performance from the previous version. This helped them confirm their hard work paid off,” continues Fisher.
Everything about AT Internet’s solution performance and availability is tied to Catchpoint. “Catchpoint has been seamlessly integrated into our processes. Adding it to our toolbox gives us the end-to-end perspective we need to ensure the best quality service for our customers,” concludes Fisher.