Flashtalking provides digital advertising products, services, and support for online advertisers, key media buying, and creative agencies. Flashtalking serves billions of ad impressions throughout the US, Europe, and international markets for media groups including WPP, Publicis, Omnicom, and Havas. Flashtalking partnered with Catchpoint to:
- Ensure placement and delivery of all of advertisements.
- Validate their service level agreement (SLA) obligations to their customers.
- Proactively monitor all their network architecture, including third-party infrastructure.
- Provide performance insight from multiple regions around the globe.
If you only use internal monitoring, you'll never see what your customers see. You always need an external monitoring solution, specifically, to ensure that you can see exactly what the end- point delivery and performance is from outside of your type of operations or your limited bubble.
Flashtalking’s business is predicated on its ability to deliver a very large volume of data impressions, all the way from the placement of an ad to ensuring that ad delivery. To ensure that there are no disruptions in service, the company uses a very large deployment network consisting of multiple solutions, backups, and monitoring tools. This includes an ad-serving engine, multiple sites for each region and several vendors, databases, and various clients for each of their products, all housed under one roof. Each one of their solutions also includes redundancies that are run in an active-active type of environment to allow for rapid troubleshooting if one of the primary components fails.
In addition to its own infrastructure, Flashtalking needs to give their clients a full view of ad performance and effectiveness. They must also be able to report on the performance of the different agencies and publishers with whom they work, and from all the different locations to which the end client needs their ad(s) delivered.
SLA reporting is vital for Flashtalking, as the delivery of their clients’ digital advertisements is the basis for their revenue structure. Catchpoint’s ability to measure not only Flashtalking’s own IT infrastructure components, but also the different networks and third-party infrastructure used globally, played a huge role in the decision to switch from their old monitoring vendor.
With tests set up across 20 different Internet service providers (ISPs) and more than 30 different global locations, Flashtalking relies on Catchpoint’s widespread node coverage, which comprises more than 800 global points of presence. These are set up with a round-robin randomization pattern to give the team a sense of the general Internet performance rather than the limited view they would get from a static set test using a limited number of ISPs. “We decided to move to Catchpoint because it was the best solution for the volume of transactions, as well as the ISPs, the locations, and the types of delivery that Flashtalking deals with,” says Joseph Keling, director of IT at Flashtalking. “Catchpoint had the largest geographic footprint as well as availability of ISPs to satisfy a wide variety of needs.”
Catchpoint’s custom Selenium scripting capability also allows the Flashtalking performance team to set up a single test for each of their products, which gives them insight into performance at each stage along its path through the IT architecture, whether it’s a single site, single server, or multiple databases. From there, the Catchpoint analytic and graphing capabilities allow the team to do deep-dive analysis of every first- and third-party component to determine the root cause of any performance alerts, thereby reducing mean time to discovery (MTTD) and mean time to repair (MTTR).
One of the key aspects of this strategy is the ability to manage their cloud performance, primarily with the multiple content delivery networks (CDNs) within their IT architecture. If there is a local issue with one of these CDNs, rather than relying the vendor to catch it and notify them, Flashtalking is alerted immediately from the client perspective by using their Catchpoint tests and seeing that the latency has reached a critical threshold. This allows them to shift their delivery through another CDN and maintain both their SLA obligations and the end user experience.
Flashtalking is also able to use Catchpoint for cloud migration purposes by having an area within their testing strategy dedicated specifically to their CDNs and domain name system (DNS) providers. These measure end-point delivery for both HTTP and HTTPS, and with the historical testing capabilities, serve as the basis for benchmarking efforts of these infrastructure components.