Welcome to the New Features Roundup, a blog series highlighting noteworthy enhancements to the ThousandEyes platform designed to increase the value you, our customers, receive from our solution across various use cases.
At ThousandEyes, we’re committed to providing you with the platform and products most capable of delivering the broad visibility and insights IT needs to optimize digital experiences across their end-to-end application and service delivery chain. We understand that meeting that commitment requires us to both continuously evolve our solution with powerful new capabilities and continuously communicate to keep you informed of what’s new and how it can support your operations.
To ensure you have a chance to not only read about but see these new capabilities in action, we also host a quarterly webinar where we demonstrate them and discuss others that are currently in the works. In hosting these sessions, we also seek to create a direct channel for our customers’ questions and to provide us with their valuable feedback.
As is usually the case, our quarterly update attempts to categorize the capabilities we’re highlighting according to some of the critical areas you’ve identified as posing distinct challenges. For this month’s blog and webinar, those categories and related capabilities are:
Optimized Automation Workflows
Enhanced Visibility and Intelligence
New ThousandEyes Agent Integrations
With those categories in mind, let’s dive into the specifics. Or, you can use the links above to jump directly to the section that interests you.
Optimized Automation Workflows
A major focus for this round of feature updates was around enabling increased productivity and data extensibility through new automation capabilities. These updates allow you to spend less time configuring the product and more time leveraging the data and insights. Additionally, we’ve made it even easier to send ThousandEyes test data to external platforms for alerting, data correlation, and archival.
A lot of users are leveraging the OpenTelemetry support within ThousandEyes to export test data to external systems. This can be useful for alerting on specific event criteria and also for correlating ThousandEyes test data with metrics from other enterprise monitoring tools.
We’ve released additional test type and metric support when using ThousandEyes for OpenTelemetry:
Page Load Time
Final Query Time
Additionally, the OpenTelemetry (OTel) integration now supports sending events via an OTLP explorer to HTTP-based receivers. This removes the need to setup a middleman OpenTelemetry connector and allows you to directly stream data to platforms that have built-in HTTP endpoints. With this capability, you are now able to send OpenTelemetry streams through the existing GRPC methods as well as the added HTTP support.
ThousandEyes dashboards allow you to view critical metrics regarding your users and applications and provide a roll-up of information with customizable widgets to display the data in different ways. This macro-level view into overall environment and network performance can also be extremely useful for network operations and tier-1 support teams to be able to quickly identify widespread issues.
With the addition of the dashboard drill-down feature, you will now be able to pivot into a single or multiple metrics displayed on a dashboard and view the associated test data. This allows you to perform a more in-depth investigation into a performance event and easily view all of the information that ThousandEyes has collected to help troubleshoot. Additionally, you can use Views 2.0 to display multiple tests within the same view, which helps you easily visualize all of the components and data surrounding the event.
Enhanced Visibility and Intelligence
The next group of features focuses on enhancing the display and usage of test data that is collected with ThousandEyes and also expanding the application support and locations where you can run tests from. ThousandEyes Cloud Agents and Enterprise Agents give you the ability to test to and from networks and applications and visualize the data path to look for any performance issues or to help in troubleshooting. With the additional contextual elements in the UI and enrichment data, you’ll be able to get an even better understanding of where a user’s connection is traversing, hop-by-hop, and get insights into the infrastructure elements within cloud providers and their associated performance metrics.
In the rapidly evolving cloud computing landscape, visibility into network paths is more than a luxury—it's a necessity. With most applications and services now leveraging some form of public cloud resources, this visibility becomes more difficult, as the paths and performance metrics for these types of application traffic get masked once they enter the provider’s network. This makes it challenging for ITOps teams to identify and troubleshoot network issues in these instances, and they are unable to pinpoint the exact area of problem due to this lack of visibility.
To help solve this challenge, and as part of our ongoing effort to increase visibility into and through cloud networks, we are releasing a new feature: AWS Network Path Enrichment. Announced at Cisco Live earlier this summer, this new feature is now generally available. It improves the identification of cloud infrastructure through AWS networks, providing insight into the different services and locations that traffic may be traversing through within the provider.
With this new AWS Network Path Enrichment, you will see additional details surfaced within a ThousandEyes path visualization, displayed using Views 2.0, when traffic traverses into the AWS network. This is done through our detection of an IP address in a discovered AWS network. Once these cloud network devices are discovered, ThousandEyes can provide identification of which AWS service is being used by the discovered node with new Amazon service nodes, such as S3,EC2, Route53, and Cloudfront. For applications leveraging AWS Global Accelerator, ThousandEyes can also provide identification of these nodes as well as display actual performance metrics so that you can benchmark these against expected values.
Figure 3. Path Visualization with AWS EC2 node identified
To learn more about AWS Network Path Enrichment, read our blog post highlighting some recent advancements in ThousandEyes’ cloud monitoring capabilities.
Test Templates allow you to quickly deploy tests and dashboard content for common applications. When adding a new test in ThousandEyes, you can select “add from template” and view all of the available content that can be used to configure monitoring for popular SaaS and enterprise tools. The initial release of Test Templates supported applications that have been certified by the ThousandEyes team, and now we are adding two additional levels of certification: Partner-Certified and User-Defined.
Partner-Certified templates are those where the ThousandEyes team has worked with third-party vendors and application providers to create content for commonly deployed and monitored applications. The initial release includes content for services from major cloud providers, such as Microsoft and Google Cloud. These templates make it easy to monitor key services with built-in definitions for API endpoints, service URLs, and related content including alert rules and dashboards. This gives you a quick way to set up tests from many different Cloud Agent or Enterprise Agent locations to destinations within these cloud providers.
We have published best-practices guides for some of the most popular applications that are available within Test Templates, and these go into detail on test configuration and monitoring tips.
User-Defined templates allow you to create test definitions for applications or monitoring targets that you repeatedly use and make it easy to stand up new ThousandEyes tests using these. IT Operations teams can also use these to publish certified configurations for other groups and individuals to use when they are deploying new applications that are monitored using common criteria and settings. The templates are published for the current account group so other users in your organization can also leverage these.
To create a new test template, you can leverage the ThousandEyes API to define the properties associated with the application that should be included and then easily save that configuration. Once created, the User-Defined template will be available along with the other ThousandEyes and Partner-Certified templates for deployment. To view all of the configuration options and instructions for test templates, please visit the developer guide.
AWS Wavelength is an infrastructure offering that has been optimized for mobile edge computing applications. Wavelength Zones are AWS infrastructure deployments that embed AWS compute and storage services within communications service providers’ (CSP) 5G networks, so application traffic from 5G devices reach application servers running in Wavelength Zones without leaving the telecommunications network. This avoids the latency that would result from application traffic traversing multiple hops across the Internet to reach its destination, which allows customers to take full advantage of the latency and bandwidth benefits offered by modern 5G networks.
It is essential to be able to monitor the performance of these agents in a similar deployment method on a carrier’s network in order to accurately measure application and user experience. ThousandEyes has now deployed Cloud Agents within different AWS Wavelength supported carriers to allow you to simulate performance of users accessing those applications via a 5G network.
The initial rollout of this service offering consists of 30 agents deployed in 7 countries across the following:
- SK Telecom
- US East
- US West
- Canada Central
- Europe - London
- Europe - Frankfurt
- APAC - Tokyo
- APAC - Seoul
Two example use cases where you might leverage the agents are as follows:
Case 1: A mobile gaming company provides servers in Verizon’s Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) environment in order to provide the best performance to their mobile gamers. That MEC deployment relies on backend services and databases that run in a cloud provider or hybrid environment on the Internet. The ThousandEyes AWS Wavelength agent will give visibility between the MEC and Internet, allowing you to monitor the network quality of backend services.
Case 2: A web application provider has its services running in a cloud provider, hybrid environment, or bare-metal. Many of their customers use the mobile app or the browser on their mobile phones. The ThousandEyes AWS Wavelength agent will give them visibility into their mobile customers' quality of service from their carrier’s MEC to the web application.
These agents can be leveraged for Agent-to-Server tests and are available now for all customers. They can easily be found within the Cloud Agents list and are identified by the connected provider and AWS Wavelength service — for example, Charlotte, NC (Verizon - AWS Wavelength).
New ThousandEyes Agent Integrations
The last two features in this roundup focus on extending the ThousandEyes agent to new platforms and devices, making it even easier to report on performance across a wide variety of users and hardware. By extending the footprint of supported monitoring hardware and integrating with third-party management tools to ease and automate deployments, ThousandEyes continually provides the most in-depth user experience monitoring that is now even simpler to deploy and manage.
A key part of enabling the best user experiences is having data and visibility into all of the paths and components between a user and the services they are accessing. Only ThousandEyes can provide this visibility with the combination of endpoint device metrics, like on the newly supported RoomOS devices, and also from all distributed geographic and network testing points.
To gain enhanced visibility into Webex performance, organizations can now deploy the Endpoint Agent to RoomOS devices alongside leveraging ThousandEyes Cloud Agents that are already embedded into Webex data centers and services to monitor Webex and Webex Calling services. Using this combination of monitoring, IT teams can quickly understand if there is a wide-scale Internet or application outage that is causing performance problems or if it is localized to a single site or device.
The ThousandEyes Endpoint Agent has previously been supported on Windows and Mac operating systems and, with this latest release, it is now available natively on hardware devices running Webex RoomOS. This support extends the Endpoint Agent’s monitoring capabilities to these Webex devices and gives granular performance metrics without the need to deploy additional monitoring within conference rooms or at remote locations.
Once the ThousandEyes integration within Webex Control Hub is enabled, RoomOS devices that are registered will have the ThousandEyes Endpoint Agent activated automatically and Automated Session Tests can then be run on those devices. The performance metrics from these devices will also appear in the Webex Calling or Meeting Troubleshooting view, allowing you to view the hop-by-hop performance and journey of the traffic for a RoomOS device to the Webex services.
Ensuring the best user experience for critical business applications is made possible through visibility into endpoint machines and the applications they are accessing. The ThousandEyes Endpoint Agent provides key insights into both machine level utilization, such as CPU and memory, as well as essential network metrics that can help troubleshoot any issues between a user and an application.
To ensure a successful endpoint monitoring deployment, user friction must be avoided in order to help a streamlined rollout. ThousandEyes is now introducing the integration of the Endpoint Agent into the Cisco Secure Endpoint client, which allows Ops teams to leverage existing deployment methods for other Cisco networking and security services to deploy the ThousandEyes Endpoint Agent. This provides a single package installer for all endpoint services, making it easier to obtain the latest versions and push this out to users.
Connect With Us To Learn More
We look forward to sharing even more improvements during our next ThousandEyes New Features Roundup in the near future. In the meantime, you can reach out to your Cisco representative or contact us if you have any questions about anything discussed here. And don't forget to connect with the larger ThousandEyes user community on our new Support Community.
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