Cisco brings net intelligence to Catalyst switches, app-performance management

At Cisco Live! 2021 Cisco integrates ThousandEyes technology with Cat 9000 switches, AppDynamics dashboard

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Cisco says upgrades to its Catalyst switch and AppDynamics application-monitoring package will let enterprises more easily see and fix network and applciation problems.

The company has added network intelligence-monitoring capabilities it bought from ThousandEyes in May 2020 to its Catalyst 9300 and 9400 Series boxes and its AppDynamics Dash Studio application-management dashboard.

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The ThousandEyes software analyzes performance of local and wide-area networks and the internet. By utilizing its world-wide system of software and agents, it provides insights into all manner of cloud, enterprise and endpoint services that can let network, application, and cloud teams work together to quickly isolate and resolve problems, said Ty Amell, CTO at Cisco AppDynamics.

When it bought the company, Cisco said it would embed ThousandEyes technology in a variety of its products including its AppDynamics application performance, SD-WAN, WebEx and Meraki families to enhance visibility across the enterprise, internet and the cloud. That integration has begun in earnest.

For the Catalyst 9300 and 9400 Series, Cisco has added a ThousandEyes agent for the switches’ IOS operating system. From the agent, customers can monitor performance of applications and network components on campus and branch-office networks. 

Until now, there has been no single internet- and cloud-intelligence platform to provide insights for remediating application issues across data-center, multicloud and edge networks, wrote Anoop Vetteth, director, product management with Cisco Enterprise Switching in a blog about the announcement. 

“ThousandEyes also provides network assurance by analyzing and recording connectivity, hop-by-hop path monitoring, BGP monitoring, DNS tests, and VoIP tests,” Vetteth stated.

New Catalyst 9300 and 9400 switches will have the ThousandEyes agent pre-installed and ready to run with the appropriate DNA Advantage and Premier subscription. Current 9300/9400 switch customers can use ThousandEyes for the remainder of an existing Cisco DNA subscription but will have to upgrade the switch image in the locations they want to monitor, Cisco stated.  

ThousandEyes technology is also being integrated into the Cisco AppDynamics dashboard.

The AppDynamics performance-management platform uses a series of agents and controllers to monitor the performance of application code, runtime, and behavior. Agents are deployed across the enterprise, from devices to containers and host application locations.

The system uses AI and machine learning to correlate information from across different domains to better understand application performance and infrastructure dependencies and quickly identify problems. The system supports analytics to help IT teams understand why things are not working optimally, analyze the root causes, and predict when problems will occur.

Increasingly with multicloud environments, IT teams don’t own all the network components, so understanding network and application performance problems is challenging, said ThousanEyes director of product marketing Angelique Medina. “With the ThousandEyes integration they can correlate application and business-performance data with network and internet performance metrics to quicky determine whether external dependencies or internet vulnerabilities caused a problem.”

With common AppDynamics and ThousandEyes tools and shared application and network data, IT teams gain real-time visibility into application-performance issues or network snags in order to troubleshoot problems quicker, Medina said. 

Joint ThousandEyes and AppDynamics customers will be able to view network and internet metrics within the AppDynamics Dash Studio beginning in April, without the need to purchase additional licenses or agents.

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