Cisco unveils new WAN forecasting capabilities

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Cisco Systems, the internet pipefitter that is moving deeper into developing analytics and machine learning to add predictive capabilities to its networking management platform, today announced the launch of ThousandEyes WAN Insights, which should bring a slew of new options to its console of services.

Earlier this year, Cisco introduced its Cisco Predictive Networks, an initiative to bring predictive capabilities across the company’s portfolio of products and offerings. Cisco Predictive Networks is designed to open a new level of reliability and performance by predicting application and network issues before they happen – problems that include hardware and software bottlenecks and security breaches.

“The world has truly changed during the pandemic, and digital transformation has accelerated for most companies,” Mohit Lad, cofounder and GM of Cisco ThousandEyes, wrote in a recent blog post. “We are now supporting employees in offices as well as homes, collaborating with each other using applications that are hosted in the cloud and outside IT environments. We do this while continuing to help the business operate at the same level or better than pre-pandemic. We are now living in a different world compared to two years ago, so we challenged ourselves to find new ways to empower our customers to be able to thrive in this new reality.”

Cisco acquired ThousandEyes in August 2020, precisely when the COVID-19 pandemic was on its first major upswing. ThousandEyes’ internet and cloud intelligence platform expands administrative visibility into the digital delivery of applications and services over the internet and the cloud. It enables organizations to visualize any network as if it was their own, surfaces actionable insights and collaborates and solves problems with service providers.  

The internet is the new corporate backbone 

So how does Cisco plan to provide optimal networking performance in unpredictable internet environments?  

“First, we provide the best view of global internet health, covering networks as well as top SaaS applications that organizations rely on,” Lad said. “This lets our customers proactively address major unexpected network or application issues affecting them as soon as they happen by making the desired changes either on their end or their provider’s. A lot of these outages can’t be predicted, and organizations need to react quickly as soon as they happen – real-time visibility is key. However, we do believe many service disruptions can be avoided if we do a better job of looking at all the data and learning from the past. This is the focus of Cisco Predictive Networks and the origination of ThousandEyes WAN Insights.”

ThousandEyes WAN Insights improves visibility into SD-WAN environments and gives organizations the ability to look at their top applications, the experience specific sets of users are facing and how that experience can improve by learning from past behaviors, Lad said.

In addition, Cisco provides recommendations and expected improvement metrics (for example, changing routing from internet-A to internet-B, because it will provide a 20% improvement in speed). “At this stage, it’s (only) a recommendation with the vision to work toward more automation in the future,” Lad said. 

ThousandEyes WAN Insights recommendations also will show up in Cisco’s vAnalytics application to ensure that network operations teams get the actionable intelligence they need, Lad said.  

What does this do for SD-WAN (wide-area network) deployments? 

“First, think of this technology as a guiding hand – helping you get the most out of the SD-WAN deployments, taking the guesswork out of initial policy setup and optimization,” Lad said. “Second, as environments continue to evolve, you can fine-tune them based on long-term recommendations to ensure the environment delivers the best digital experience possible to your users. This gives you the power to move from reactive to preventative with SD-WAN  environments.”  

Cisco said ThousandEyes WAN Insights will soon be available to its SD-WAN customers, most likely by the end of Q3.

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