Cisco Systems this week announced its intent to acquire ThousandEyes, provider of an internet monitoring platform that Cisco plans to leverage to embed ThousandEyes agent software into a range of devices including network routers and switches, security tools and application performance management (APM) software from AppDynamics.
As part of that effort, ThousandEyes will become the foundation of a newly formed Networking Services business unit in Cisco led by ThousandEyes CEO Mohit Lad. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Todd Nightingale, senior vice president and general manager for enterprise, networking and cloud at Cisco, said the goal is to employ the data collected by ThousandEyes agent software to drive intent-based automation across the entire IT environment.
ThousandEyes provides a networking intelligence service by deploying its software on points of presence across the internet. The data collected is then fed back to data centers operated by ThousandEyes to help organizations understand why, for example, a particular software-as-a-service (SaaS) application is performing suboptimally in one geographic region versus another.
Nightingale said with multi-cloud computing now becoming a reality in the enterprise, the need for that level of insight into what are becoming highly distributed computing environments has dramatically increased.
Once the deal closes, it may take Cisco a while before it can embed agent software from ThousandEyes across its portfolio. However, DevOps teams that deploy applications in IT environments with Cisco networking equipment should be able to troubleshoot applications more easily once the agent software from ThousandEyes is embedded in Cisco networking hardware and software.
At the same time, Cisco will be feeding that data into AppDynamics, the application performance management (APM) platform it acquired in 2017. The AppDymanics platform is employed mainly by cloud operations teams to optimize the performance of applications deployed on various cloud computing platforms, noted Nightingale.
Lad said by becoming part of Cisco, ThousandEyes will become the central nervous system through which organizations will be driving user experiences.
Less clear at the moment is to what degree open source networking software initiatives may have on Cisco’s long-term ambitions. Open source agent software is now being widely deployed to instrument applications that in turn feed metrics back to a wide variety of platforms, including AppDynamics. It’s not only a matter of time before various open source initiatives extend agent software to the networking level.
Regardless of that approach, DevOps teams should be able to count on attaining deeper insights into how network congestion is impacting application performance. As that analytics data becomes more accessible, it should become more feasible to dynamically reroute application traffic to maintain service levels.
In the meantime, network operations and DevOps teams will continue to move closer together. The NetOps team may not necessarily be completed folded into DevOps. However, as networking becomes more programmable, it’s apparent DevOps teams will be exercising more programmatic control over networking services. The challenge and the opportunity now are to find a way to bring those disparate cultures together to minimize the inevitable friction that will ensue.