Too many management tools that don’t integrate well and a lack of visibility into third-party systems are among the problems enterprise IT teams face when they try to manage multivendor, distributed environments.
Cisco’s Full-Stack Observably Platform is designed to collect and correlate data from application, networking, infrastructure, security, and cloud domains to provide a clear view of what’s going on across the enterprise and make it easier for enterprises to spot anomalies, preempt and address performance problems, and improve threat mitigation.
Liz Centoni, executive vice president, chief strategy officer, and general manager for applications at Cisco, cited data from IDC on the management challenges that enterprises face. “[IDC] found that, on average, an organisation uses anywhere from 10 to 100 different monitoring and observability tools. So, tool sprawl is real. And it creates this challenge in collecting, managing and sharing this data,” Centoni said.
Enterprises have siloed teams and siloed processes, which results in higher total cost of ownership and operational inefficiency, Centoni said.
“Observability can become that primary way to reduce this friction between teams, unify the data, unify those actions, unify the practices to enable that flawless digital experience,” she said. “FSO is anchored on metrics, events, logs and traces. [It provides] businesses the ability to do ingestion in real time, from any data source, that lets customers consolidate to fewer tools, collect data from any source, correlate information, and give them AI-driven analysis to predict and prevent problems.”
Cisco's FSO platform supports OpenTelemetry, which is a collection of tools, APIs, and SDKs used to instrument, generate, collect, and export telemetry data to analyse software performance and behavior. OpenTelemetry is being developed under the Cloud Native Foundation by contributors from AWS, Azure, Cisco, F5, Google Cloud, and VMware, among others.
The FSO rollout at Cisco Live introduced the platform’s first modules, including:
- Cloud Native Application Observability: An application performance package to help customers ensure apps are acting in alignment with end-user expectations. It offers indicators of the health and status of applications inside cloud-native elements such as containers, microservices, orchestration tools such as Kubernetes.
- Cost Insights: Provides visibility and insights into application-level costs alongside performance metrics, helping businesses understand the fiscal impact of their cloud applications.
- Application Resource Optimiser: Provides visibility into Kubernetes workload resource utilisation, so businesses can maximise resource usage and reduce excessive cloud spend, helping them meet financial targets and sustainability goals.
- Security Insights: Combines data from multiple sources to generate a business risk score for applications or services that have a high likelihood of exploitation and attacks. It’s designed to gauge the seriousness of vulnerabilities and prioritise which are most pressing. It gathers data from Cisco’s Kenna Risk Meter, business transaction details from Cisco AppDynamics, API details from its Panoptica software, and threat intelligence data from Talos, its security-research arm.
- Cisco AIOps: Visualises contextualised data relevant to infrastructure, network, incidents, and application performance. The idea is to combine multiple telemetry feeds into a single alert that could be fed wherever the customer wants – apps, networking, security – with the goal of spotting and fixing problems more quickly, Cisco stated.
Cisco’s FSO platform also integrates with multiple third-party systems. Here are some of the first integrations:
- CloudFarix vSphere Observability and Data Modernisation: This package monitors vSphere data and correlates it with Kubernetes and infrastructure data to generate insights and recommend actions across infrastructure and the containerised application stack.
- Evolutio Fintech: This financial technology application is designed to help customers draw business insights by monitoring KPIs based on data such as payments and credit card authorisations.
- Kanari Capacity Planner and Forecaster: This provides visibility into time series data associated with capacity planning and forecasted events along with risk factors that have been determined through predictive ML algorithms.
Also under the FSO umbrella is Cisco’s recently announced Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) platform, which more closely ties together the vendor’s AppDynamics application observability capabilities and ThousandEyes network intelligence. The goal with DEM is to get business, infrastructure, networking, security operations, and DevSecOps teams working together more effectively to find the root cause of a problem and quickly address the issue, according to Cisco.
Observability tools and applications are of growing interest to enterprises. Gartner says that by 2024, 30% of enterprises implementing distributed system architectures will have adopted observability techniques to improve digital-business service performance, up from less than 10% in 2020.