Removing Performance Blind Spots

Zendesk uses ThousandEyes data to shed
light on problems that customers experience.

About the Company

Zendesk provides a customer service
platform designed to bring organizations and
their customers closer together. With around
60,000 customer accounts, Zendesk is used
by organizations in over 140 countries.
Industry: SaaS Headquarters: San Francisco, CA, USA Use Case: ISP Monitoring, End User Monitoring
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Experience is Everything

Zendesk is a customer service platform that around 60,000 organizations rely on to foster better customer relationships. As a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, application delivery and user experience is a top priority for Zendesk.

The Challenge in Delivering Quality Performance

As a customer service platform, if Zendesk is slow or unavailable, it can affect its customers' users as well. Since it's delivered over the Internet, even if the Zendesk application itself is working well, network quality may degrade perceived performance. "We would encounter situations where our application was working well but we would still hear customers report slow performance," says Steve Loyd, Vice President of Engineering Operations at Zendesk. The primary requirement for Zendesk was a solution that could not only measure application performance from many locations, including customer sites, but could also identify the root cause of issues anywhere along the path.
Video Thumbnail for The Customer View of Application Delivery at Zendesk

"With the Deep Path Analysis technology that ThousandEyes provides, we
now instantly identify where the problems are along the network, an area
where ThousandEyes easily outperforms every other solution we've tried."

Steve Loyd
VP, Engineering Operations

Why Zendesk Chose ThousandEyes

Zendesk conducted a thorough evaluation of various products that could measure application delivery and network performance from different parts of the world. Besides the external health check, Zendesk also needed a way to conduct the same measurements from customer environments (last mile) and their own data center (first mile). In addition to these requirements, having powerful troubleshooting capabilities was a high priority evaluation criteria for Zendesk given the critical nature of their service. Among all the options evaluated, only ThousandEyes provided Zendesk with a solution that could report on external health as well as first mile and last mile performance.
ThousandEyes Path Visualization
Zendesk quickly identified an issue between their hosting provider and their ISP (red interfaces)
that resulted in some customers not being able to reach the service.

Identifying an ISP Blind Spot Using ThousandEyes

One morning, ThousandEyes alerted on availability problems to a Zendesk service that were affecting some of Zendesk's customers. The operations team couldn't find anything misbehaving on their application stack, which raised suspicions on a hosting provider Zendesk used. In the past, when such problems had occurred, the operations team at Zendesk hadn't been able to identify issues outside the application stack.

With ThousandEyes, the operations team used Deep Path Analysis to identify specific routers that were dropping packets, all belonging to the same Internet Service Provider (ISP). Stepping back in the timeline, Zendesk saw that the ISP in question connected directly to Zendesk's hosting provider. This was a network issue at the edge of their hosting provider which was affecting Zendesk's application performance.

Using the Interactive Sharing capability, Zendesk shared the view identifying the problem router with their provider and the provider immediately reacted to the problem. Steve Loyd recalls the incident, "We were able to examine our hosting provider's network with a microscope to instantly identify where things were broken and share that data with them, making the entire troubleshooting process much faster and easier than before."

In order to keep their customers happy and reduce the impact of performance related outages, Zendesk was searching for a monitoring solution that could truly identify the root cause of performance issues in the delivery of their SaaS service. With ThousandEyes, Zendesk has a solution that provides deep insight into application delivery and equips the operations team to react quickly to problems impacting their customers. Zendesk now uses ThousandEyes metrics as the ground truth to measure and share SLA metrics with their customers.

"We were able to examine our hosting provider's network with a
microscope to instantly identify where things were broken."

Steve Loyd
VP, Engineering Operations

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