In late 2020 Cisco acquired a California start-up called ThousandEyes, a software-as-a-services (SaaS) platform used by some of the biggest hitters in the IT world: Microsoft, Amazon, Salesforce and IBM to name a few.
If you're wondering what all the fuss is about - this explainer blog will get you all the inside information!
Welcome to a series of blogs dedicated to Cisco ThousandEyes, delving into what makes the platform so valuable.
ThousandEyes is changing the way in which businesses monitor their customers and employee’s digital experience by visualising their infrastructure, networks and applications (on-premise, IAAS and SAAS) with an easy to understand GUI.
Are you able to easily tell is an issue is within your network, or an issue upstream? There's a couple of key metrics that ThousandEyes will help you with:
- MTTI: Mean Time to Identify (figure out the fault)
- MTTR: Mean Time to Resolve (fix your issue)
Finally, you can stop blaming the network for everything - and quickly locate (and fix) the fault!
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Cisco has been working to integrate ThousandEyes into its overall technology platform, and now licences are bundled into DNA Advantage licences.
You can buy separately of course, but if you have an Enterprise Licence Agreement or DNA Advantage, you're missing out - it's time to make use of all that extra value you've already bought!
If you need to know more about ThousandEyes licencing, feel free to drop us a line and we can help out - email@example.com
What Problem is ThousandEyes Solving?
What does this all mean, and why have Cisco gone all-in on ThousandEyes?
It might help to first understand what ThousandEyes is, and what it does differently to other tools and platforms.
This is where the true value in ThousandEyes lies – visibility across platforms, across vendors, and across the Internet.
ThousandEyes allows you to answer questions such as:
- Why is my Teams slow?
- Is it time to upgrade my Internet feed?
- My Webex video is jittery - why?
- Everything seems slow with Sharepoint today - where is the issue
- My Zoom session has poor quality audio - how can I fault find?
- Are we having any problems upstream?
The ThousandEyes architecture allows you to monitor your network traffic from multiple points, giving you visibility of your network experience right across the internet.
The image below provides an overview:
The diagram above shows:
- Your traffic passing through each of the hops through to your destination (AWS in this case)
- Your PC is on the bottom of the image here and we can measure the experience with the ThousandEyes sensors
- The sensors are positioned in key locations around the world - shown on the top and the little orange cloud symbol
What does ThousandEyes do?
ThousandEyes is primarily a visibility platform - the epitome of “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.
It has a variety of touchpoints that monitor the end-to-end user experience, giving you a view into not just your network, but the entire path between you and your destination.
Put simply, you can monitor your network, but critically everything you don’t own, but rely on.
To do this, ThousandEyes combines a variety of active and passive monitoring techniques to give you deep insight into user experience across the applications and services you provide and consume.
It also leverages an expansive internet monitoring data set to provide real-time internet outage detection, powered by collective intelligence.
Synthetic traffic is used to mimic your real traffic. This is used so that the cloud agents can test the type of traffic you send from a distant location - so it's generated and returned to that location (it's not your actual traffic of course, so there's no security issues).
If the issue is from a router in the US through to an Amazon web server, we have a cloud monitor to test that.
Separating testing in this way allows us to gain insight into where potential issues are located from end to end, allowing quick responses to issues as they arise.
ThousandEyes agents are where the magic really starts.
There's a few types of agents to get your head around and these are where the actual monitoring itself takes place.
The variety of agents allows ThousandEyes to have visibility directly in your network, as well as various locations around the world:
- ThousandEyes Cloud Agents:
- Pre-deployed and managed by ThousandEyes across hundreds of ISPs, SaaS and service providers, hosted in nearly 200 cities globally
- Delivers Internet Insights tracking global service outages
- Visibility into application availability and key third-part service providers such as content delivery networks (CDNs) and ISPs.
- ThousandEyes Enterprise Agent:
- Software deployed within your infrastructure, measuring performance you’re your offices, data centres and virtual private clouds (VPCs) in cloud provider environments
- Deployable in a number of ways, including on Cisco 9300 and 9400 switches, virtualised with your DCs, or on dedicated hardware (such as a NUC or small server)
- Provides Network Monitoring, including Devices and Application Synthetics
- ThousandEyes Endpoint Agents:
- Agents deployed on end-user laptops and desktops, providing real-time monitoring of end-user device performance
- Deployable across both Windows and Mac devices, and deployed via browser plugins
- End User Monitoring capturing application performance, network performance (including Wi-Fi metrics) and traffic across the network
Thousand Eyes: Summary
This is what ThousandEyes will bring your business - the speed with which you can fault find
and never again will the CEO be asking questions if there are network issues - you'll be one
step ahead of the game and solving the issue before anyone notices there is one!
Hopefully you can start to see the power of this visibility – you can now know with confidence where an outage is (or isn’t) occurring across everything you consume as a business.
The image below provides a high level overview of ThousandEyes.
You can see your full internet path is traced out, with the path options to get you to your destination. Issues with any hops along the way are shown, and there's the option to try and reroute around problems when they occur.
Have you seen anything like this before?
Imagine being able to go to your ISP or SaaS provider with actionable insights, rather than debating if an issue even exists?
This is what ThousandEyes will bring your business - the speed with which you can fault find and never again will the CEO be asking questions if there are network issues - you'll be one step ahead of the game and solving the issue before anyone notices there is one!
If you're interested in a discussion on how Cisco ThousandEyes can bring visibility to your network management experience and help your business, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll line up a good time for a chat.