Achieve amazing end user experiences

You are telling me I can get my entire music library on just that battery powered hard drive and have room for 10,000+ more songs! It was a whole new process that took some work to sort, tag, and rip all my CDs. This sea change in the way of doing something I had been doing for years created a user experience so valuable, it was impossible to return to the old way of doing things.

Technology really shines when it can fundamentally change a process to achieve amazing end user experiences. As we forge ahead in this new environment, I was reminded of 1998 and how MP3s changed my world.

Work from home can pose new challenges to IT

Nobody predicted tens of thousands of people that used to go into the office every day would be suddenly working from home. It has forced some interesting evaluation of our business processes; do we need floors of cube farms to get work done? According to Business News Daily in March, they found work from home workers to put in an average of 1.4 more days per month or more than three additional weeks of work per year. It appears that the claims of workers being more productive working remote has some real data to back it up. While this level of change is a good thing for corporations’ top line, it can pose some new challenges to IT.

Up until recently the bandwidth coming into the data center was more than sufficient to support cloud data set backups, sync with our remote data center, and provide Internet access and VPN access for our employees. However, when your 7,000 employees leave those LAN connected branches and all WFH (Work From Home), the experience can suffer dramatically.

Addressing the new demand for work-from-home

At Cisco, we have long had a vision that the most important measurement of IT performance is employee and customer experience which is why we continue to make strategic acquisitions such as Application Dynamics and the soon to close ThousandEyes.

Effectively addressing this new demand in this hyper connected world means scaling workloads across multiple clouds. But how do you ensure the experience for an employee in a WFH environment over a VPN or HTTPS session is getting the application experience required for them to get that extra 1.4 days in each month? A dashboard of application and network health, regardless of where that application is being hosted or consumed would provide IT the agility it needs to know and address any issues before they become real problems.

Using the SDKs and Cisco APIs

Using the SDKs and APIs from App-D, vManage SDWAN, ThousandEyes, and Tetration would allow a DevNet certified partner to build just such a health application to offer as part of a managed service, standalone app, or other competitive differentiator for their customers.

The flow could look something like this:

  • Customer moves front-end web-scale applications to AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud while others with low-latency dependencies stay in the DC (could automatically be moved by Cisco CloudCenter)
  • Application Dynamics agents monitor the application stack in the DC and in the cloud while automatically injecting javascript into the remote browsers to monitor the user experience.
  • Tetration applies workload-protection policies at the OS/instance level and reports connectivity and dependency information back. These policies are maintained consistently across on-premises DC and public cloud environments.
  • Cisco Viptela SDWAN ensures application demand is being balanced across the multi-cloud environment for high availability
  • ThousandEyes actively monitors the network traffic paths across internal, external, SaaS, carrier and Internet networks in real time, reporting hop by hop issues such as path changes, bandwidth constraints, round-trip latency, packet loss, and QoS remarking.
  • The DevNet Certified partner utilizes APIs, SDKs, etc. from each of those products.
    • Validate the workload is spun up in the preferred cloud provider
    • Validates Tetration cloud workload-protection matches the DC workload-protection and dependencies are connected
    • vManage reports that the applications are being securely delivered and balanced between clouds with minimal latency
    • ThousandEyes validates there are no alerts on transitory or peering AS routes to AWS, SalesForce, or O365
    • App-D sees the CPU, Memory, and application calls are at appropriate levels and response times from the workload and at the clients desktop are well within spec.

The Dashboard is updated: Virtual workload secure, responding, and scaled. Client’s side responding, WAN available, and secure. Success! We have deployed our WFH solution providing the same or better experience as if we are sitting in the cubes, but with the comfort of being in our pajamas with our dog laying on our feet. Technology shines when it drives change and simplicity, offering better ways of doing things.

Cisco APIs help partners to adapt

Cisco DevNet Certified partners and Cisco APIs allow us to easily adapt and show how IT can truly shine in a hyperconnected world.

Now to get back to sorting another batch of MP3s, you have to have tunes while thinking about how we can change the world.

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Bill Hentschell

Global Director of Intent Based Networking

Global Partner Organization