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ThousandEyes Expands Global Vantage Points Across Cisco Networking Platforms for Optimized Digital Experience

By Angelique Medina
| | 9 min read


Cisco is announcing the embedded integration of the ThousandEyes agent into its Cisco SD-WAN edge routers and switches for data centers.

Earlier this year, Cisco announced the first embedded integration of Cisco ThousandEyes vantage points into its enterprise networking platforms. Starting with the Cisco Catalyst 9000 series of switches, tens of thousands of organizations around the world were given turnkey access to ThousandEyes agents across their campus and branch sites. Overnight, organizations looking to gain insight into the performance of applications and services critical to their users had a scalable way to achieve this—with no separate compute or agent lifecycle management required. 

This integration with the Cisco Catalyst 9000 series represented an important first step, delivering ThousandEyes Internet and Cloud Intelligence to the largest number of Cisco enterprise networking customers. Now comes the next stage in bringing together Cisco networking platforms and ThousandEyes vantage points. 

Today, as part of its cloud vision, Cisco is announcing the embedded integration of the ThousandEyes agent into its Cisco SD-WAN edge routers, as well as the Cisco Nexus 9000 series of switches for data centers. Combined with the Cisco Catalyst 9000, these integrations create the industry’s only network-wide observability outposts, from which organizations can gain unprecedented, actionable insight into all of the networks, services, and applications (e.g., Internet, cloud, SaaS) that they don’t own, but are essential to their business.

Actionable Insight Beyond Your Zone of Control

Enterprises today are swimming in a sea of SaaS and cloud, as they continue to consume networks, apps, platforms, and infrastructure as services (XaaS). While cloud adoption enables greater agility, it comes at a cost, as IT organizations are now challenged to deliver optimal digital experiences across a complex web of dependencies they don’t own and are not able to directly instrument and manage. To make matters worse, these dependencies rely on the Internet, which itself is unpredictable and prone to outages.

To gain insight into these dependencies and help customers accelerate digital transformations as they move more resources to the cloud, Cisco is extending ThousandEyes vantage points network wide so that organizations can see any network as if it belonged to them and understand how its performance is impacting application experience. With ThousandEyes Internet and Cloud Intelligence, organizations can immediately pinpoint and resolve issues and identify ways to continuously optimize performance.

ThousandEyes for Cisco SD-WAN—To the Edge, and Beyond

Moving to SD-WAN typically involves wholesale or partial changes to the underlying mode of transport to leverage more flexible and cost-effective Internet services. At the same time, security architectures are evolving, introducing an additional service layer that adds to management complexity. Beyond the WAN, cloud and SaaS networks can also impact end-to-end performance and application experience. When something goes wrong, determining who and what is at fault can lead to long and often fruitless troubleshooting cycles that erode business productivity and IT reputation.

ThousandEyes Internet and Cloud Intelligence extends Cisco SD-WAN visibility with detailed, hop-by-hop network insight necessary to troubleshoot and take action, alongside the application context to understand how every part of the end-to-end network is impacting performance.

Beginning with IOS-XE 17.6.11, the ThousandEyes agent will be included as a containerized application within Cisco Catalyst 8300 and 8200 Series Edge Platforms and Cisco 4000 Series Integrated Service Routers (ISRs)2. The ThousandEyes agent can then be quickly and scalably enabled across every SD-WAN site through the vManage console (vManage 20.6). Once deployed, the ThousandEyes agents are available to be used as vantage points within ThousandEyes’ cloud-based application portal.3

While the integration with the Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series switch enables visibility from branch and campus environments—in particular, enabling IT and network administrators to understand site-to-site and SaaS application performance—the ThousandEyes integration with Cisco SD-WAN comes with unique capabilities. This includes allowing a single agent to route traffic via the SD-WAN overlay, as well as across the network underlay via direct Internet access (DIA). Correlated network overlay and underlay visibility, alongside end-to-end application performance, provides WAN operations teams the actionable insight they need to quickly identify and resolve issues and to implement optimizations that improve user experience and vendor management.


Learn more about the Cisco SD-WAN integration and how to use ThousandEyes to gain end-to-end insight into your WAN (overlay/underlay) all the way to business critical apps.

ThousandEyes for Nexus 9000—See Into Every Part of Your Application Ecosystem

Applications are becoming more modular, distributed, and dependent on best-of-breed external APIs and services. Enterprises are also increasingly leveraging a hybrid cloud approach, where some workloads and application elements are hosted in the data center and others in cloud VPCs. The result is a complex ecosystem of application components, services, and networks that can make or break user experience. Managing the connectivity and performance of every dependency that underlies critical application functionality and workflows is critical to delivering highly-available and optimally-performing applications.

With ThousandEyes embedded on the Cisco Nexus 9000 Series switches, organizations have turnkey vantage points from which to see beyond their data center, across external networks, to all of the services and applications that matter to their application’s performance—enabling them to quickly resolve issues, effectively manage providers, and identify opportunities to improve user experience.

The ThousandEyes agent will be available on the Nexus 9500 and 9300 Series of switches as a Linux package, running in NX-OS mode—with no software update required.4

Visibility From Everywhere Is a New Critical Capability

Increased reliance on Internet, cloud, and SaaS has shifted the IT center of gravity to outside the enterprise, creating a visibility gap that can leave you vulnerable to disrupted or degraded digital experience. With ThousandEyes embedded across Cisco networking platforms—from campus and branch environments, to WAN edge and data center—enterprises can gain scalable, turnkey visibility from wherever users and apps are located to wherever matters, whether inside or outside their perimeter. Enterprises can now gain the actionable visibility they need to successfully embrace and operate in a cloud-first world.

How To Get Started

Cisco customers who received an entitlement to use ThousandEyes via their Cisco DNA Advantage license for the Catalyst 9000 can leverage their entitlement across the Cisco SD-WAN and Nexus 9000 platforms. For organizations interested in seeing how ThousandEyes visibility can address their needs, contact us for a customized demo, or watch this webinar to learn how to make SD-WAN rollouts a success.

1 Cisco IOS XE 17.6 is targeted to be released in Q3CY21.
2 All Cisco Catalyst 8300 Series Edge Platforms, as well as Catalyst 8200 Series platforms and 4000 Series ISRs with a minimum of 8 GB DRAM and 8 GB flash storage are eligible.
3 Requires separate ThousandEyes account and license.
4 Cisco Nexus 9500/9300 Series switches, running latest NX-OS System Software release 9.3 is targeted to be released in 2HCY21.

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