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Closing the Visibility Gap: Understanding ThousandEyes and Cisco’s Integration – Part 2

The is part two of my two-part series covering ThousandEyes, and Cisco Integration announced at Cisco Live. In my last post, I discussed how ThousandEyes’ integration with the Cisco Catalyst 9000 series of switches and how this enables engineers to collect data directly from the switches.

Insights with AppDynamics

In the second part of their announcement, ThousandEyes presented their integration with AppDynamics Dash Studio. If you aren’t familiar with AppDynamics, they offer an Application Performance Management (APM) tool that utilizes end-to-end transaction tracing to provide insight into how an application (cloud and on-prem) performs. AppDynamics can provide deep visibility into an application’s code to help engineers proactively identify and diagnose issues. AppDynamics is one of my favorite tools to prove it’s not the network.  

The AppDynamics APM platform utilizes an agent-based code instrumentation model that gathers performance metrics and business transactions to reveal bottlenecks and inefficiencies within the application code. APM is absolutely critical to understand the app stack, but with app modernization, an app is no longer monolithic but a mesh of microservices distributed in diverse clouds and third-party networks and have multiple external dependencies.

ThousandEyes’ integration helps enhance these capabilities by delivering visibility into these external dependencies and environments by measuring how the internet, routing, the content delivery networks (CDN), API calls, and services outside of the organization’s ownership impact the user experience. With ThousandEyes and AppDynamics, organizations can now close the gap in troubleshooting user experience.

A Network Engineer’s Friend

Internet and network performance metrics gathered by ThousandEyes are natively pushed into the AppDynamics dashboard and correlated with application performance metrics to provide a single pane of glass view for network and application teams to quickly troubleshoot and resolve issues. The metrics here allow you to correlate the network performance data and application performance data. For a network engineer, this offers a few key benefits:

  • Prioritize Incidents: This data will provide insight into the true impact of an issue reported. We’ve all been there when a user says “the internet is down” when it’s a single user or service.
  • Real-Time Tracking: This allows us to diagnose issues proactively and pinpoint the root cause by providing the hop-by-hop path of how traffic flows.

For our application teams, they can correlate the application and network performance in the dashboard, can select an event, and drill down to the network metrics that coincided.

Let’s say you have a cloud-based application that interfaces with a customer database on the backend. Your users are reporting latency when updating customer’s information. Traditionally I would look at the network bandwidth, VPN performance, and if I don’t see anything, I will escalate to my application team. Now usually, this results in a back and forth between the two groups. 

I can use ThousandEyes and AppDynamics to see the whole delivery chain and drill down to isolate the issue down to a specific API and correlate that with a third-party service experiencing latency issues. The dashboard will allow me to provide a clear picture for teams and management to understand.

To take advantage of these features, you will need a license for both ThousandEyes and AppDynamics.  

How Does it Benefit NetOps and AppOps?

With correlated and proactive visibility in a single dashboard, application teams can immediately identify if any network, internal or external, is at fault and escalate the evidence to the network teams, eliminating finger-pointing between the two groups. You can now dig deeper into the issue with ThousandEyes to exactly identify where in the underlying network the issue exists and why. Performance metrics can also guide the network teams to prioritize incidents based on severity and impact.

The Integration Advantage

In summary, these new integrations will make troubleshooting our networks a bit easier to see the entire flow of traffic from the user to the application. The Catalyst 9000 integration providing campus-level traffic insights and then AppDynamics to tie it together from the application performance providing full end-to-end flow.

To fully manage application performance, you now need to see the end-to-end digital supply chain that includes those external networks alongside APM. With the ThousandEyes integration, visibility is expanded to include the Internet, third-party networks, APIs, and every dependency that impacts application experience. For network, application, and cloud teams, this new visibility means closing the technology and operational gap in troubleshooting user experience. For network, application, and cloud teams, this new end-to-end visibility means closing the gap in troubleshooting user experience. 

Joint ThousandEyes and AppDynamics customers can immediately take advantage of these features, with no additional licensing.

About the author

Deirra Footman

For the past 10 years, Deirra has established herself as a subject matter expert in the areas of routing and switching, network monitoring/analysis and Network Design. As a lifelong learner with a hunger and passion for all things technology, she has also worked to expand her skill set into Security, Cloud, and Automation. In 2016, Deirra published her blog CCIE By 30 where she shares her experience in Cisco Networking, technical resources, certification study tips, career tips as well as reviews on industry trends.

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