Catchpoint review including alternatives

Websites and mobile apps have become the face of your business – for customers, associates, and employees. But, unfortunately, if your services are performing poorly on delivery, you might not know about it, and your business will suffer as a consequence

Catchpoint tracks the performance of all elements involved in delivering Web systems and mobile apps from the server that hosts them through the networks that provide them to the devices and software that display them.

The combination of services offered by the Catchpoint system is pretty unique. While many other systems provide synthetic monitoring to check on response times or accurate user monitoring to look into site feature performance, few combine that service with checks on the networks and Internet service providers that transport your digital presentations to their destinations.

About Catchpoint

Originally called 3GenLabs, Catchpoint Systems, Inc. was founded in 2008 and had headquarters in New York City. Three of the four founders of the company are still in senior C-Suite positions. They have guided the business to an expanding enterprise with 240 employees and annual revenue of $45 million.

The company combined network connectivity, application performance monitoring, and unified endpoint management into a single platform. The motivation behind this concept was the realization that to work out why a website or mobile app wasn’t working as hoped, a business needed to switch between several monitoring tools. The lack of cohesion between the different analytical systems meant that important performance issues could fall between the cracks, not fully comprehended, or even be noticed by various monitoring services.

The Catchpoint system can be used for private networks, mainly to check the delivery of in-house applications to both desktop and mobile endpoints. However, the service’s primary value lies with businesses that run Web services and mobile apps

Companies that would benefit from the visibility provided by Catchpoint include eCommerce businesses that need to make sure that their websites are operating correctly at all times, and Internet service providers, which need to check that their service is performing well for the business systems that they carry.

As well as offering constant availability and performance monitoring, Catchpoint provides SLA tracking, and marketers can also use it to benchmark the sales performance of the different website and mobile app designs.

The Catchpoint platform

Catchpoint offers a SaaS platform that combines all of its services in one package. These interconnected systems are:

  • Network Monitoring
  • Endpoint Monitoring
  • Synthetic Monitoring
  • Real User Monitoring

Through these four modules, a systems administrator can provide live information on the delivery performance of applications. This cycle of services leaves out issues of server performance. So, the package isn’t everything that a Web application manager needs to watch over the delivery performance. However, in many cases, businesses outsource Web hosting to service providers. In this scenario, the Catchpoint package indicates when the hosting provider needs to be contacted about performance issues. 

With all of the transport and display of Web services being tracked, the system administrator will know when to rule out all other issues and narrow down performance responsibility to the server.

The causes of Web performance problems can be composite with detection methods requiring several test strategies to comprehend why a screen is not being delivered efficiently fully. This is the core value of Catchpoint – it combines several different types of tests to identify a problem.

Network Monitoring

The Network Monitoring function of Catchpoint operates at Layer 3, which means that it queries routers and deals with IP addresses but doesn’t go down to switch level or look at MAC addresses. This means that there might be some address allocation problems on a network that the monitor couldn’t cope with – DHCP problems, for example.

The system can monitor performance on wireless networks and LANs, and it is specially equipped to watch over internet connections. The base systems for the network monitor are Ping and Traceroute. This reports on roundtrip time and packet loss, as well as a list of nodes, passed through. When it gets to the “last mile,” the live network monitoring report shows the ISP that delivers the application to the end-user.

The network monitor also makes constant checks on DNS records on the internet relating to the monitored Web server. For example, it will notice if a hacker changes the DNS record to divert traffic to a fake site.

The system administrator can set up a plug-in in a browser to check on the delivery performance of a Web hosting service. Network monitoring is closely tied to Synthetic Monitoring, which also uses Ping for connectivity testing.

Endpoint Monitoring

Endpoint Monitoring focuses on employee devices within a business. However, this doesn’t mean that the monitoring service is limited to one office location. This system will also track the experiences of remote home-based or roving employees.

The platform section that monitors endpoints overlaps with the Network Monitoring module because this unit also watches over the performance of VPNs that secure connections between remote workers and the office network.

The dashboard for the system shows a world map with all active sites highlighted on it. This feature also picks up activities at remote office sites.

A significant advantage of the endpoint tracking service is that it also shows users’ activity, displaying which SaaS packages the company subscribes to are in use by each user at any point in time. This would show, for example, if one of the remote employees were logged into the Word service of Cloud-based Microsoft 365. The report also indicates connection speed to each location from the Sass packages that are in use.

The SaaS subscription usage data can also be summarized, so it is possible to see how many licenses for each package are being used. That feature will help you adjust your license purchases.

All of the data gathered by the Endpoint Monitoring system is stored for three years, so you can analyze activity over time and assess capacity requirements both on-site and across the globe if you have multiple sites or remote workers.

Synthetic Monitoring

Most website administrators are already familiar with Synthetic Monitoring services. This category of performance monitor sends out requests for a site repeatedly, checking on the response to report on downtime. These tools can also be used to record response times and are often offered from launch sites worldwide.

Catchpoint offers 20 different tests and can launch them from 800 locations. The tests that the system provides can be varied to enable simultaneous exploration of the other elements involved in delivering a Web asset. For example, it is possible to determine whether slow response times occur on the stretch provided by the user’s internet service provider. Another factor that could slow down delivery would be a slow wireless service within a property. 

The time it takes for a user to access a website could be influenced by slow connections to DNS servers or slow responses from them. The tests also provide feedback on the load times of different elements on a page. This can also lead to examining the influence of development frameworks, APIs, and content delivery networks on the delivery times of page features and content. Load times can be expressed in the Google Lighthouse speed classification.

Real User Monitoring

The Real User Monitoring (RUM) service in the Catchpoint platform gives insights into the experience of end-users who access your sites and mobile apps. This is a passive monitoring technique that records events rather than running initiating tests.

It is possible to correlate performance with user activity. For example, if the number of users that drop out of a site rises, you can look to see if there was a delivery problem going on at that moment. This facility also extends to mobile app usage monitoring.

RUM information is helpful in marketing teams and site designers because it shows how users move through the site. It is possible to use this monitoring service to different trial layouts and improve the appeal of pages on the site.

Catchpoint deployment options

Catchpoint is a SaaS platform, so it includes the host that runs the software. However, to get around problems that firewalls can cause when communicating with devices on corporate networks, an agent system can be installed on-site.

The Catchpoint agent module is called an Enterprise Node, and it is available for installation on RHEL or CentOS Linux and as a physical or a virtual appliance. If you don’t have Linux servers, the easiest of these options is with a virtual appliance. The module will run on top of Hyper-V and VMWare.

Catchpoint price

Catchpoint doesn’t list its prices, and it doesn’t offer a free trial. However, you can book a guided demo of the system to see how you would use Catchpoint for your monitoring needs.

Catchpoint strengths and weaknesses

Catchpoint has identified a need in the market that few other providers catered for. The collection of monitoring systems for Web applications from host to user device is a good idea. It gives web admins a single console for most supervision and analysis tasks needed to run an online system. We have identified some good points and bad points about the Catchpoint service.

Pros:

  • Host-to-user performance monitoring for Web applications and mobile apps
  • Options to track delivery to corporate endpoints
  • Performance tracking for SLA conformance
  • Identifies the carrier delivering internet services to each receiving device
  • Integrations for DevOps and collaboration tools

Cons:

  • No server monitoring
  • No integrations for JIRA or Jenkins
  • No security monitoring

Catchpoint alternatives

Catchpoint threads together many monitoring systems that let you see which delivery service lets down the response times of your mobile apps and websites. However, this service is not the only option because other companies are offering a similar service.

A weak point in the Catchpoint package is that it doesn’t include server monitoring. The Network Monitoring module is also less comprehensive than the system monitors offered by rival providers. However, if you are particularly interested in watching over a corporate intranet, there certainly are more robust packages that you could consider.

Here is our list of the five best alternatives to Catchpoint:

  1. Datadog Real User Monitoring This service is a user activity tracking system delivered as a SaaS platform. With Datadog, you choose the monitoring services you need from a menu and then slot them together. This list of services includes server monitoring and network monitoring in two flavors – device performance and traffic analysis. Datadog also offers synthetic monitoring. Other options include an allocation performance monitor that creates service dependency maps and performs distributed tracing to track the performance of the microservices that support mobile apps and APIs. You can try all of Datadog’s modules on a 14-day free trial.
  2. Site24x7 Real User Monitoring This SaaS platform is very similar to Datadog, but its plan packaging differs. In addition, site24x7 offers mixes of services in its plans. For example, in its APM plan, you also get network, server, and website monitoring, both synthetic and RUM. This is a great combination that gives you all of your monitoring needs to trace the causes of poor API, mobile app, and website performance. Try the system on a 30-day free trial.
  3. Sematext Experience This site monitoring service is delivered from the Cloud and combines offers essential user monitoring utilities. Sematext also has a Synthetics package – use these tools together to determine the effects of poor performance on user actions. A Monitoring plan from Sematext covers networks, applications, and servers. Combine all three methods to get a complete perspective on your IT system and its Web outposts. Get a 14-day free trial of all of Sematext’s modules.
  4. AppDynamics End User Monitoring This is a RUM service from a SaaS platform specializing in application performance monitoring. It uses Machine Learning processes to link together benefits in a dependency map and predict the resource needs of those modules. The central system offered by AppDynamics offers a combination of application, server, and network monitoring. The End User Monitoring system is charged separately, but the two systems will fit together. Access a 15-day free trial of all of the services offered by AppDynamics.
  5. Dynatrace Digital Experience Monitoring Dynatrace is a close competitor of AppDynamics, and they are almost identical SaaS platforms. One big difference lies with the charging structure for Dynatrace, which offers individual units. Subscribe to Full-Stack Monitoring and Digital Experience Monitoring to get a full AIOps service for website, mobile app, and API monitoring. Try these options on a 15-day free trial