Catchpoint Peak: IT Performance Summit: Live report

Directly labelling itself as the ‘Internet Resilience Company’, US-headquartered Catchpoint joined the growing band of enterprise technology companies eschewing the traditional conference circuit in favour of a more tailored & personal interaction experience.

With a full complement of product managers, C-suite executives and CEO Mehdi Daoudi all present, the Computer Weekly Developer Network team attended Catchpoint Peak: IT Performance Summit this April in Atlanta, Georgia.

Staged at the ‘almost on the airport landing strip’ Porsche Experience Center, this Atlanta leg of the event joins a series of other location engagements being held across Europe and North America.

Catchpoint CEO Daoudi’s session was entitled ‘IT is all about high-performance’, a clear reference to Catchpoint’s Internet Performance Monitoring (IPM) platform, a set of enterprise software services designed to provide visibility into aspects of the Internet that can impact a business.

As already noted here, this year has seen Catchpoint release “Test Suite for Google Cloud,” a tool designed to ease the end-to-end monitoring of Google Cloud services from different customer-chosen endpoints including customer premises, other public clouds and Internet endpoints. 

Daoudi spoke about the need to consider not just team & systems but also innovation, he says that achieving peak [Internet stack and wider enterprise IT system] performance is hard and companies need the right tools. Why? Because the world has changed – and hybrid cloud across distributed Internet-centric workload channels with a whole plethora of third-party dependencies is now the norm.

Other sessions presented here included ‘Taking eBay to the edge’ by Junaid Akhtar, director of CDN edge infrastructure at eBay. Akhtar explained how eBay is hoping to gain a performance edge by taking advantage of edge computing to deliver a world-class customer experience.

“Looking at modern networks, any global enterprise company needs to establish ‘reach’ when thinking about structuring a Content Delivery Network (CDN) – and if you have multiple CDNs then they need to be able to function as one unified entity… and that unification factor needs to carry through to the way the security policy is enforced throughout the business,” said Akhtar.

With a key technical specialism in edge compute environments, both Akhtar and Daoudi lamented the lack of standards across CDNs and – in a world where we now talk more directly about OpenTelemetry – Akhtar says that whenever he needs to solve technical problems, it’s always a question of doing to with a multi-CDN mindset.

After lunch, the next session was ‘Network and Service Resilience in a Multi-Cloud World’ presented by Peter Blum, group product manager at Google. With the recent subsea cable cuts, the importance of global networking has been made evident. The Google Cloud team shared their strategy and progress on their cross-cloud networking initiative and how it relates to the global front-end.

“As a major cloud provider, we look at what customers are doing using our cloud every day and think about the resilience factor – but we realise that most customers today are using multi-cloud deployments so spending time to make that easier for them to connect it all together,” said Blum. “We built out a lot of the infrastructure that serves our platform for use on our own products [and so this of course means for search], but what’s neat about the DDoS, load balancing and other systems in Google is that they are deployed across Google Cloud and Google services. So, because we can leverage the same teams and technologies across these functions across the big Google estate, – on reliability although none of us are always able to predict where outages occur, we build and enable a ton of network and regional diversity so an issue like a natural disaster or human driven subsea cable outage does not impact us or our customers.”

Part of making the Internet more resilient for organisations like Google comes down to sharing capacity across undersea cables, especially in scenarios when outages occur due to the cables being severed through physical damage (ship anchors etc.) often accidental, but sometimes deliberate.

Afternoon sessions included ‘IT Leadership Evolution: Driving Innovation and Growth’ presented by Gerardo Dada, field CTO at Catchpoint. Dada insisted that IT does not need to be a cost centre, so this session explored how IT can become the enabler for digital business, reduce digital friction and protect growth. The maturity model is a roadmap to ensure IT is strategically aligned with the business and is value-led.

Into full Internet stack visibility

Also at the event, ‘Innovations for Digital Resilience Speaker’ was presented by Howard Beader, VP of product marketing at Catchpoint. The session explored issues relating to Internet stack visualisations, full visibility into the Internet stack and 3rd-party dependencies, intelligent root cause identification and other innovations that help achieve peak performance. Beader was joined by Catchpoint executive VP of product Matt Izzo.

Referring to the forthcoming [The] Internet Resilience Report 2024 questioning IT digital leaders as to their business requirements for Internet resilience and challenges around implementing it – the study highlights customer experience, ability to secure revenue and increasing operational efficiencies as key drivers, but at levels perhaps not as high as Catchpoint itself would ultimately assume will be the case in future.

“New products from Catchpoint include Internet Sonar, WebPagetest and we’re now introducing tracing (so you can follow a path all the way from the user down into the code), so the key product functionalities we’re bringing forward now into deployment – most of which we’re still doing a lot of work on to enhance – are deeply helpful in terms of the way they will drive reliance inside organisations,” said Beader & Izzo, speaking as a team.

Izzo spent an extended period discussing how firms today should think about their Internet outage management scenarios. Suggesting that Catchpoint is in place to help organisations to spend ‘less time finger-pointing and more time problem-solving’ in day-to-day operations, the company’s Internet Sonar service uses data from the world’s largest, independent active observability network to monitor from where it matters. The result is an AI-powered, real-time, interactive status report that can be displayed via an interactive map, a dashboard widget or accessed by any system via API.

According to the company’s product spec statements, “Catchpoint Tracing solves the problem of complex, large, distributed environments having an impact on customer’s digital experience. The Catchpoint platform extends Internet Performance Monitoring (IPM) all the way through to tracing request journeys through the application stack. With detailed user experience and distributed tracing data in the same platform, gain a holistic, end-to-end view with analytics and drill-down, all without missing a beat.”

Later afternoon slots included a panel session – with Ebay, Beyond, Honeywell, & Sony covering topics including optimising digital experiences, AI-Ops, OpenTelemetry, modernising legacy tools and next-gen observability.

A peak performance customer story was also available presented by IBM speaker, James Love, customer success architect, NS1/IBM – an engagement designed to explain how IBM ensured the ‘big game’ and (it claims) delivered on the digital experiences we all demand.

Closing remarks and driving simulation experiences rounded out the day.

Catchpoint CEO Mehdi Daoudi: Positively poised on Internet Resilience factors.

Catchpoint executive VP of product Matt Izzo (left) & Howard Beader, VP of product marketing at Catchpoint (right).

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