Cisco moves to cover a Network Gap

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Back in October last year I published a report entitled “Monitoring and managing the performance of complex hybrid IT infrastructure environments”. This was based on some primary vendor research I had conducted. One of the vendors that took part was ThousandEyes. Given that most of the other vendors were covering the monitoring and management of a very wide range infrastructure assets I felt compelled to single out ThousandEyes, even though their overall score hadn’t put them among the leaders. I wrote,

We feel we should highlight and commend the participation of Thousand Eyes. This vendor has a strong track record in network routing and path tracing, specifically those areas that the Hybrid Infrastructure Management (HIM) vendors don’t cover.”

In the report I noted that there was still a Network gap and that performance data on the elements beyond the local routers and switches, i.e. the physical links and routing over wide area networks, do not appear to be provided in the HIM solutions I had been researching. Around the time of the report and in the intervening months, there has been a flurry of mergers and acquisitions as vendors have sought to pull together an end-to-end solution that embraces multi-cloud and legacy on premises infrastructure, but still that same network gap existed.

The announcement, last week, by Cisco of their intention to acquire ThousandEyes could be seen as just another example of a consolidation in a fast growing but crowded market. Clearly, Cisco sees the ThousandEyes acquisition enhancing their existing network and AppDynamics application performance management (APM) solutions. Todd Nightingale SVP and General Manager, Enterprise Networking and Cloud at Cisco blogged “To everyone looking for more intelligent, reliable and agile application and internet experience, come take a look at this amazing technology and stay tuned for developments as we embed ThousandEyes into Cisco products throughout our networking, cloud and application offerings.”

While this move will bring significant benefits  to both Cisco, ThousandEyes and their customers, the acquisition further serves to highlight the growing importance of being able to monitor the performance of applications that are making extensive use of Cloud Provider’s backbone networks and the wider internet.

It also brings into sharp relief the on-going debate about using highly integrated solutions to monitor and manage complex Hybrid Infrastructure Management (HIM) environments. Despite the desire of businesses to reduce the number of different tools being used for HIM, and the developments and spates of mergers and acquisitions which are leading to more integrated end-to-end solutions, it is our strong belief at Bloor that being able to use a single solution is a distant dream. Let’s be clear; even using an integrated solution from Cisco that includes both AppDynamics and ThousandEyes will still leave gaps in monitoring capability in most large hybrid IT infrastructure environments. In a message to ThousandEyes employees, their CEO, Mohit Lad, stated “ThousandEyes will continue to be agnostic to underlying implementations so our customers can benefit from it no matter what vendors you use.” Given a continuing need to use a, hopefully smaller, number of HIM tools we must hope that this continues to be the case.