Deeper and wider

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While most of this blog will be about developments at ThousandEyes it is worth reflecting on its owner’s, Cisco, vision for network management. At its Cisco Live Event back in June it laid out a vision of simplifying network management. This is an extract from its news release from that event. “As part of its journey to simplification, Cisco has been working to create a simpler network management platform experience to help customers easily access and navigate its platforms to manage all Cisco networking products from one place.”

That theme of simplification and security was stressed throughout. Cisco also claimed its XDR (Extended Detection and Response) solution has the broadest native telemetry in the market. I can’t comment on that but its focus on simplifying and securing the hybrid network world is welcome. Its commitment to OpenTelemetry is important and the bi-directional integration between AppDynamics and ThousandEyes is a welcome demonstration of the integration commitments made when ThousandEyes was acquired. Given the spate of acquisitions by Cisco over recent months it is going to need that platform approach and its own focus to meet that simplification challenge.

A small acquisition that could be very significant.

So, on to the developments at ThousandEyes which is rapidly becoming one of the key, must have platforms in IT operations’ kit bag. The acquisition of SamKnows extends ThousandEyes monitoring reach right to the last mile of the internet that enhances their offering to Internet Service Providers (ISPs). It also provides added network assurance for businesses now seeking to deliver top quality digital user experiences in an environment where working from home is now a fundamental requirement rather than just a nice to have.

But it was the last, and probably least heralded of Cisco’s recent spate of acquisitions that, I believe, has the potential to have the biggest impact. In buying the Greek company, Code BGP, Cisco has provided ThousandEyes with a real depth of knowledge about monitoring and managing Border Gateway Protocol. The founders of Code BGP are recognised as world leading experts in their field. Indeed most of the Cisco commentary around the acquisition seemed to indicate that broadening and deepening ThousandEyes’ skills and knowledge in BGP was the main objective.

But, what is BGP and why is it important?

BGP is one of those arcane, unheralded pieces of technology that tends to fly under the radar, but which is absolutely critical to the smooth running of the public internet and cloud networks. In layman’s terms, while ip addresses are local postcodes, BGP is the internet equivalent of postal sorting offices making sure that traffic gets to its intended destination in the most effective and secure way.

As the internet continues to expand, BGP becomes increasingly crucial for managing the ever-growing number of routes and networks. BGP’s scalability and adaptability allow it to accommodate the growth and changing topology of the internet. It also contributes to the resilience and fault tolerance of the internet. It allows networks to adapt quickly to changes in topology or link failures, ensuring that data continues to flow, albeit potentially along alternative paths.

To mitigate the impact of BGP failures, BGP monitoring tools and real-time alerts help operators detect and respond to BGP-related issues promptly. And this is where the Code BGP acquisition gets interesting and may deliver additional benefits to ThousandEyes that weren’t given prominence in its press releases. Code BGP has its own BGP monitoring tool and in response to some questions I posed to ThousandEyes, Joe Vaccaro, its VP of product, indicated that they were evaluating which components of the Code BGP monitoring solution – as well as related Intellectual properties – can best be leveraged as part of the long-term roadmap for Cisco’s Network Assurance approach.

ThousandEyes already provides world-class monitoring of public networks. Given the importance I ascribe to the role of BGP in facilitating the growth and security of internet and cloud network traffic the evaluation mentioned by Joe Vaccaro should enhance and accelerate the ongoing development of the ThousandEyes platform. This will be a win for customers seeking further network assurance.