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Driving Simplified IT Operations With New ThousandEyes Innovations

By Joe Vaccaro
| | 10 min read

Summary

This week at Cisco Live EMEA, we unveiled ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry, deeper FSO with a new bi-directional integration with Cisco AppDynamics, and that WAN Insights GA is coming soon. Learn about these important innovations for simplifying IT Operations.


Operational efficiency and continuous improvement are the cornerstones of IT operations organizations. ThousandEyes is designed from the ground up with ITOps in mind, giving teams the crucial tools, performance data, and correlated insights to solve customer problems faster. 

To further strengthen the operational effectiveness of today’s IT teams, ThousandEyes is introducing three new capabilities: 

  • ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry, unlocking ThousandEyes cloud and Internet intelligence across OTEL-compliant systems 
  • Cisco Full-Stack Observability deepened with bi-directional ThousandEyes and Cisco AppDynamics integration
  • ThousandEyes WAN Insights, generally available this spring

ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry: A First in Unlocking Cloud and Internet Intelligence

ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry brings data standardization and portability to the ThousandEyes platform, sending ThousandEyes network metrics in a standardized format to any OpenTelemetry (OTEL) supporting platform. ITOps teams often require data sets acquired by multiple operational platforms. This need to assess and gain insights from disparate observability domains requires contextual data correlation, and speed is often critical when services are degraded. As part of this framework, ThousandEyes data is tagged with correlation labels, enabling the recipient systems to identify which test and application this data applies to and to facilitate correlation with other external data sets.  

As the first network visibility solution to support OpenTelemetry, ThousandEyes is making it possible to interconnect cloud and Internet intelligence across a wide range of solutions. ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry integrations unlock ThousandEyes data portability and greatly improve ITOps workflows when tackling network and application performance issues. Network teams gain enhanced flexibility and control over their data, enabling them to retain their data longer or solve data retention compliance issues. They can even graph powerful visualizations and infer correlations across diverse data sets. Ultimately, this helps them solve problems quicker and get services restored and running faster.

Integrating ThousandEyes metrics sent in OpenTelemetry with other OTEL-speaking ITOps tools offers many use cases by streaming ThousandEyes network data in real time to:

  • A data visualization platform, enabling data from multiple observability systems to come together for insights that could not be determined from any single platform
  • Application performance monitoring (APM) tools to provide a comprehensive view of issues affecting the application
  • Data platforms for a flexible and efficient way to store data for long retention periods

ThousandEyes and Cisco AppDynamics Bi-directional Integration: Deepening Cisco Full-Stack Observability for Digital Experience Monitoring

IT teams frequently need to quickly isolate customer experience issues, whether they involve the user environment, Internet path, application, or cloud infrastructure. With the bi-directional integration between ThousandEyes and Cisco AppDynamics, IT organizations have a powerful way to correlate business issues from end-user experience to application transactions and their dependencies, including the full network path and Internet routing. That’s Full-Stack Observability at its best.

Users of ThousandEyes and Cisco AppDynamics can connect their accounts to each other and, once connected, Cisco AppDynamics automatically pulls OTEL-based metrics from ThousandEyes network tests that are relevant to the applications monitored by Cisco AppDynamics. Key ThousandEyes data is automatically matched to observed domains within Cisco AppDynamics, enabling rapid consolidation of data and a simpler workflow. ThousandEyes network insights are displayed in the Cisco AppDynamics dashboard, assisting teams investigating digital experience issues and facilitating greater collaboration between network and application teams—an outcome of Cisco’s Full-Stack Observability.

Figure-1-ThousandEyes-Network-Insights-Cisco-AppDynamics-Dashboard.png
Figure 1. ThousandEyes Network Insights is visible in the Cisco AppDynamics main dashboard

Within the ThousandEyes platform, automatic discovery of the monitoring environment from  Cisco AppDynamics enables ThousandEyes to detect external dependencies (for example, APIs) and offer monitoring recommendations based on potential gaps in network coverage. Unmonitored services related to critical applications can be easily identified, and preconfigured templates allow teams to quickly rollout tests to ensure appropriate monitoring coverage. ThousandEyes also generates streamlined views for ITOps teams, with convenient application-specific dashboards summarizing the health of critical services and all of their dependencies. 

To further assist with troubleshooting, application health status from Cisco AppDynamics appears alongside ThousandEyes test views as a correlated layer. With this business application context, network teams can see the end-to-end health of application reachability and performance.

Figure-2-ThousandEyes-Cisco-AppDynamics-Consolidated-Data-Troubleshooting-Workflows.png
Figure 2. Consolidated data from ThousandEyes and Cisco AppDynamics speeds up troubleshooting workflows

The bi-directional integration between ThousandEyes and Cisco AppDynamics seamlessly merges expansive network visibility of Internet and cloud environments with trusted application-layer insights. These combined insights help to correlate business issues across application transactions and their dependencies, including the full network path and Internet routing, supporting customer digital experience monitoring, a Cisco Full-Stack Observability use case.


ThousandEyes WAN Insights: From Reactive to Preventative

ThousandEyes WAN Insights forecasts network conditions and then provides recommendations to optimize SD-WAN network performance. WAN Insights ingests telemetry directly from your SD-WAN environment and then applies statistical models to forecast performance and to recommend alternate paths, at a circuit level, to improve user experience.

Figure-3-ThousandEyes-WAN-Insights-Monitor-Network-Behavior-End-User-Experience.png
Figure 3. ThousandEyes WAN Insights monitors network behavior to recommend a path to provide the best future experience for your end users. Now your network avoids issues instead of reacting to them.

WAN Insights natively supports a set of default applications, including Microsoft 365 and Webex by Cisco. Additionally, network teams can easily bring their own critical or custom applications by defining them in vManage and then onboarding them on to WAN Insights within a few clicks. Once set up, WAN Insights proactively monitors end-to-end paths at a per-application level and provides application-specific path recommendations. Teams can proactively use these recommendations to identify new or developing issues and make necessary changes before application performance drops below desired levels.

Figure-4-ThousandEyes-WAN-Insights-Business-Applications.png
Figure 4. Bring your business critical applications on WAN Insights including your custom applications to avoid end user impact.

ITOps teams can greatly benefit from the preventative approach of WAN Insights by lessening the need to react and instead leverage ThousandEyes to enable customers to proactively prevent bigger problems from developing across their networks. WAN Insights helps ITOps to:

  • Stop reacting and start working towards preventing SD-WAN network-related problems with critical business applications
  • Catalog important applications and implement a proactive monitoring and improvement approach
  • Get real-time recommendations to avoid issues and improve overall user experience

Accelerating IT Operations

With these new innovations, ThousandEyes is continuing to drive proactive network assurance and operational efficiency, enabling IT organizations to continuously improve how they identify and mitigate active as well as future performance problems.

Assuring network performance and user experience across the many technology domains that stitch together digital services requires layered visibility. This layered visibility requires data and correlated insights that are actionable, proactive, and continuous. ThousandEyes brings together this combination of operational capabilities and creates a common operational language that extends across the varied responsibilities of IT Operations-focused teams. 

  • ThousandEyes integration with Cisco AppDynamics allows customers who have both products to take their full-stack observability capabilities to the next level with enhanced detail and correlated insights of their network and application performance.
  • ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry unlocks the power of ThousandEyes data, making possible new powerful visualizations and correlations across diverse data sets and giving customers incredible flexibility and control over their data.
  • ThousandEyes WAN Insights helps organizations to avoid performance problems by enabling customers to proactively identify issues before the user experience suffers. 

Availability Details

  • ThousandEyes WAN Insights (currently in limited preview) will be generally available for Cisco SD-WAN customers with DNA Advantage licenses in March 2023. 
  • ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry and the Full-Stack Observability bi-directional integration between ThousandEyes and Cisco AppDynamics will both be generally available for all ThousandEyes customers in April 2023.

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