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How to get correlated, real-time visibility into application and network performance.

As a networking guy, I have already seen the network transform in such a way that we need to understand more of how the applications work to provide the optimal experience for the users. The industry has moved to utilize software-defined networking, to deliver dedicated application experiences to individual applications or services.

We need to give our infrastructure the intelligence to understand more of how the applications work, and we have gained a lot of these capabilities in the new Cisco Catalyst 9000 platform of switches and access points – on the WAN side with Cisco SD-WAN and in the datacenter with Cisco ACI. Each of these being able to deliver application-based traffic steering and real-time monitoring and analytics, and sharing these across these three different types of infrastructure. 

But how can we gain even deeper insights? Cisco recently acquired ThousandEyes, a cloud-based platform that aims to deliver better digital experiences with unrivaled visibility into the Internet, the cloud, and the networks your application run on. This gives us multi-layered visibility from app to network to internet. So now that we can make sure our infrastructure is delivering on promise all the way, from the client to the app. Should we stop there? 

Applications have also become deeply complex and modern applications are not monolithic services running on a single server anymore. They are highly distributed and scalable microservices that can live on hundreds of different nodes and virtual or physical machines, each performing individual tasks to make the application behave the way it should. It’s not enough to know that our clients can reach our application, we need to be able to identify and track their application experience through the lifecycle of the application. We can do this by relying on Cisco AppDynamics. 

AppDynamics is an all-in-one monitoring solution often also called an Application Performance Monitoring tool. It relies on AI and ML to understand how your application works, deep into the code and transaction level, to be able to detect performance issues, errors or even malicious events that could indicate a security breach within the app. The great about it is that AppDynamics and ThousandEyes tightly integrate to be able to share data and context for end-to-end visibility.

Stitching all this together: What am I really trying to say?

Using these tools in conjunction with each other, we will be able to:

  • Correlate app- and network-level information to provide a true, end-to-end view
  • Quickly identify the root cause of performance issues from the application to the network
  • Proactively manage network policies based on application performance metrics
  • Bridge functional silos to build a better customer experience

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