Cisco Rolls Out Digital Experience Monitoring

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala, Author at eWEEK.

Cisco integrates ThousandEyes and AppD information to provide visibility into user experience.

Cisco recently rolled out a new service called Customer Digital Experience Monitoring, which integrates its application monitoring tool AppDynamics and ThousandEyes network intelligence tools.

The integration is bi-directional so that data can be shared between both systems in real-time. This improves the user experience of digital apps, and it also allows different teams within an organization to work together and make faster decisions.

Understanding User Experience is Critical

A good user experience is crucial since organizations rely heavily on digital apps for many business interactions. Therefore, identifying issues in both the apps and the network enables organizations to be more proactive and fix problems before they affect the end user.

Cisco’s approach is to gain insights into the app and network performance by leveraging application observability from Cisco AppDynamics and network intelligence from ThousandEyes via this new Customer Digital Experience Monitoring service.

The offering utilizes OpenTelemetry—an open-source set of tools for collecting telemetry data from applications—to provide digital experience monitoring by combining application and network vantage points. The bi-directional integration pulls together data from multiple sources, analyzes it in real time, and reduces the time it takes to resolve issues.

Collaboration Between IT Silos

The solution also helps break down silos and reduce friction among different teams within an organization, said Carlos Pereira, Cisco fellow, and chief architect, during a recent news briefing on Customer Digital Experience Monitoring.

A complete picture of an application’s health and user journeys reduces tool sprawl. It fosters collaboration between infrastructure and operations (I&O), security operations (SecOps), development/security/ operations (DevSecOps) teams, and app developers.

A challenge most organizations face is ensuring a smooth digital experience for users accessing apps from various devices and locations. Internet connectivity can have a significant impact on the user experience, especially if there is poor connectivity and users cannot access services. That’s where full-stack observability (FSO) adds value. It can help organizations understand and manage the complex connections between users, apps, and the internet.

Customer Digital Experience Monitoring

Customer Digital Experience Monitoring brings together observability and network intelligence in two ways:

  • ThousandEyes sends network metrics in the open telemetry format to AppDynamics, contextualizing the metrics for specific apps. AppDynamics then correlates internet performance with app performance and the user experience, so IT teams can understand if the problem is on the end-user side, networking, or in application performance.
  • AppDynamics shares real-time application dependency mapping information with ThousandEyes, which helps network operators know which networks are being used for which app and if any issues are affecting them. It also significantly reduces mean time to resolution (MTTR) by providing actionable recommendations and prioritizing network remediation based on business impact and criticality.

Pereira shared a scenario where Customer Digital Experience Monitoring helped identify an issue with an e-commerce service that didn’t stem from a network problem. In just minutes, the root cause was identified as an application problem, which would otherwise have taken hours to determine without the integrated monitoring capabilities.

“From a triage perspective, the problem was detected in less than five minutes. We can perform root cause analysis by just correlating all the domains, and we make this seamless as a workflow that goes across all the tools,” said Pereira.

Cisco is offering Customer Digital Experience Monitoring as part of its FSO Advantage package. A second package, FSO Essentials, comes with hybrid app monitoring, modern app monitoring, app security, and Business Risk Observability—a service Cisco added to the package back in February. However, FSO Essentials doesn’t include the real-time network intelligence metrics and application dependency mapping that FSO Advantage provides.

Smartlook and Digital Experience Monitoring

In April, Cisco shared plans to acquire Smartlook, a company specializing in analyzing and contextualizing end-user digital behavior. Through the acquisition, which will be completed in the fourth quarter of FY23, Cisco aims to further enhance its FSO solution with new insights, analytics, and other capabilities related to application and user experiences.

Pereira said customers could take advantage of additional digital experience monitoring capabilities by implementing Customer Digital Experience Monitoring in combination with Smartlook’s Real User Monitoring (RUM).

Bottom Line: Leveraging Data

As a Cisco watcher, it’s good to see the company leveraging the data in its AppDynamics solution. The ability to understand how network changes and anomalies impact application behavior enables IT pros to translate technical information into business metrics.

Earlier this year, at the Cisco Live EMEA user event, the company announced Business Risk Observability, which uses AppDynamics information to help prioritize security risks.

This is part of Cisco’s bigger commitment to creating better integration and interoperability across all its products. Cisco Live US is right around the corner, and I’m fully expecting to see more offerings, like Customer Digital Experience Monitoring, that highlight the Cisco platform advantage.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.