Cisco Full-Stack Observability solves the modern downtime dichotomy where IT teams are running blind to the end user experience.

As teams bump up against the uncomfortable reality that their view of application uptime does not fully reflect the end-user experience, they’re coming to the realization that observability across the entire IT estate is essential.

Customers and end users engage with modern organizations across an ever-expanding fabric of digital touchpoints – websites, ecommerce platforms, POS systems, mobile apps, smart devices, and collaboration channels. These interactions are facilitated across cloud, SaaS, and on-premises networks by complex layers of APIs, cloud services, network overlays, and containers.

Teams spanning DevOps, SecOps, ITOps, and site reliability engineers (SREs) are focused on managing application performance, which is often measured against a mix of service level agreements (SLAs), service level objectives (SLOs), and IT-centric key performance indicators (KPIs).

However, with the shift to digital business models, these measures are overly focused on metrics that have limited or no relationship to the actual digital experience of end users, and the business outcomes they create. Traditional uptime monitoring feeds these metrics, taking place on servers, clouds and websites, leaving a gap of “invisible downtime” for which IT teams are running blind.

Understanding the downtime dichotomy

Digital experience matters more than ever. End users expect an application to be available, and highly responsive, every time. While they may not know what is causing performance issues, they notice, for example, sluggish response times, and transaction errors.

It’s no longer enough to wait for a problem to occur before addressing the underlying issues behind uptime degradation or disruption. Discovering an issue because a help ticket has been issued is not an effective strategy.

The most recent Cisco AppDynamics App Attention Index tells us that 83% of people have encountered problems with applications and digital services. When that happens, most say they are likely to switch to an alternative, share their negative experiences, or delete the digital service permanently.

The experience of using an application can be impacted by many variables. Some sit within the application itself such as pages loading slowly, poor response times, or security failures. External factors outside the application include bad internet connectivity, 4G/5G mobile network issues, slow payment gateways, or technical issues with third-party plug-ins.

While each scenario is potentially subject to its own SLA, when the spinning wheel appears, the service itself is effectively unavailable even if systems under SLA may be operating within parameters. The mismatch means organizations that consistently meet or exceed their IT uptime objectives are no longer able to satisfy customers and end users.

In essence, the digital landscape has changed but teams have not changed the definition of downtime, along with application monitoring processes and frameworks, to align with the digital economy.

How should downtime then be assessed? How can they keep applications running at peak performance while also ensuring they continue to meet their SLAs? What strategies can be adopted?

Unlocking end-to-end observability

Applications are now the front door of modern business. Neglecting this “front door” perspective potentially skews the view of how applications are performing in the eyes of users. It creates blind spots around end user experience downtime, an environment of “unknown unknowns,” that is decoupled from a range of possible, or even probable, negative business impacts.

Assessment of whether an application is “up” or “down” must include whether it’s experiencing invisible downtime, and the root cause of that downtime. This demands a broader scope of observability across every touchpoint – applications, end users, network, security, and the cloud.

Cisco Full-Stack Observability provides a real-time, end-to-end view of the application stack all the way to the end user. Deriving insight from observable telemetry captured across the entire service delivery chain and correlated to business outcomes makes it possible to understand application performance in a more holistic way. It also expands the metrics that can inform how SLAs, SLOs, and both business- and IT-focused KPIs are defined.

Past IT operating models are no longer adequate, yet vast volumes of telemetry data on the state and health of applications provide hidden, untapped signals to invisible downtime. Full-stack observability solutions from Cisco transform siloed telemetry data into actionable insights that provide shared context to IT teams so they can deliver exceptional digital experiences, optimize for cost and performance, and maximize digital business revenue.

Moreover, with the insights teams gain from Cisco Full-Stack Observability solutions, they can prioritize which downtime issues to tackle first based on what has the most business-impacting potential. In essence, DevOps, AppOps, NetOps, InfraOps, and SecOps teams can together see the ripple effect that performance issues have on the overall application experience, from the “front door” to back end, and connect it all to business metrics and outcomes.

Connecting the dots with Cisco

For teams operating against SLAs, invisible downtime demands they broaden their view of the inputs and outputs of their observable systems. Inputs include application and infrastructure stacks, while outputs include business transactions, user experiences, infrastructure, and networks.

For organizations determined to drive their digital business forward, modern problems require modern solutions. Too many organizations have spent a lot of time and money trying to meet their uptime SLAs, but still have little or no visibility into the end user experience of their applications.

In the wake of ever-expanding digital touchpoints, that’s the equivalent of monitoring everything but seeing nothing because invisible downtime often represents the biggest potential impact on business.

Cisco Full-Stack Observability solutions help teams think and act differently. There will never be a single tool that solves every problem, but Cisco Observability Platform provides teams with access to solutions to address application observability, security, and optimization in their own context so they can see around corners – and finally put an end to invisible downtime once and for all.


Learn more about Cisco Full-Stack Observability and the open, extensible Cisco Observability Platform


Joe Byrne

CTO Advisor

Cisco AppDynamics