The internet is rapidly becoming a universal and economical choice to connect the widely distributed workforce, workplaces, and cloud applications that comprise the essence of the new normal enterprise. In response, ITOps is fast at work rearchitecting the enterprise WAN to adapt to increasing reliance on cloud and SaaS applications via internet connections from branches and home offices. However, ITOps teams are being challenged to deliver consistent and reliable connectivity and application performance over networks that they don’t directly control.

Network operations teams often carry the burden of proving the network innocent when something goes wrong. Application performance issues—such as slow response times or stuttering video—are often assumed to be network problems. With only minimal visibility beyond the traditional corporate network boundaries, identifying the root cause of network issues or proving the network segments are functioning properly—the Meantime to Innocence—and pinpointing the actual causes of application performance issues is time consuming if not impossible with current toolsets. To detect and remediate campus and internet routing problems, ITOps needs total visibility from campus to branch to applications to quickly isolate problem areas whether they reside on the enterprise network side, a service provider’s path, or the application hosting side. They need deep observability to rapidly pinpoint the root-cause of performance issues in a multi-cloud environment before they impact business revenue and reputation.

Gain End-to-End Visibility with the Integration of Cisco SD-WAN and ThousandEyes

The integration of Cisco SD-WAN with ThousandEyes Internet and Cloud Intelligence enables IT to gain deep insights from the enterprise campus across internet, cloud, and SaaS infrastructures. The integration enables rapid and scalable deployment of ThousandEyes vantage points on Cisco Catalyst 8300 and 8200 Edge Platforms as well as Integrated Service Routers (ISR) 4000 Series for the branch and campus WAN edge. As with the Cisco Catalyst switching family, ThousandEyes Enterprise Agents can now run natively on those eligible Cisco routers with IOS XE network software stack (17.6.1) as a container application. That means there is no need for extra compute resources at each branch site for ThousandEyes; eliminating the need for IT expertise at the branch level as well as reducing OpEx and CapEx to install and manage any additional resources. An additional leap in productivity results from the ability for Cisco vManage to orchestrate the deployment and initial provisioning of ThousandEyes agents across all the SD-WAN branch routers anywhere in the world from a centralized console.

The advantage ITOps gains by operating ThousandEyes on routers is the ability to activate vantage points across multiple paths to detect issues anywhere along the route from branch and campus endpoints to applications. By collecting multi-layer telemetry data from vantage points distributed throughout the internet, enterprise data centers, cloud virtual private clouds (VPCs), branch, and campus environments, ThousandEyes provides ITOps with detailed insights to quickly pinpoint the source of issues to reach resolutions faster.

ThousandEyes overlay/underlay visualizations correlating
ThousandEyes overlay/underlay visualizations correlating the SD-WAN overlay between two sites with the transport underlay path across two internet service providers.

Improving Application Experience with Network Visibility

Organizations depend on SaaS applications—such as Office 365, Salesforce, and WorkDay—for many critical business workflows. It’s important to be able to measure the reachability and performance of SaaS platforms as well as hybrid and internally operated applications interconnected with SD-WAN.

ThousandEyes and Cisco SD-WAN

ThousandEyes on Cisco SD-WAN edge routers can provide deep insights into how software-defined networks impact application performance throughout SD-WAN and cloud migration phases. ThousandEyes analytics helps ITOps make data-driven decisions on which WAN providers to leverage as part of re-architecting the network to optimize SaaS application availability and performance. With Cisco Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms in branch sites, ITOps can easily measure and monitor branch office KPIs like network availability, application response times, and network latency as sites connect to the SD-WAN, helping to ensure a smooth rollout of services.

Once distributed sites are operational on the SD-WAN, Cisco ThousandEyes provides assistance to better manage SLAs with ISPs and service providers by correlating application performance with SD-WAN network overlay and internet underlay metrics. In addition, ThousandEyes’ ability to measure and visualize middle mile providers like cloud security gateways assists in evaluating their impact on application performance. The union of SD-WAN routers and ThousandEyes provides underlay visibility for overlay fabrics such as site-to-site tunnels, data center to VPC/VPN endpoints, branch to cloud proxy tunnel endpoints, and branch to SaaS. And for enterprises moving to a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture, the combined solutions ensure the reachability and optimal connectivity to cloud-based security services—such as Cisco Umbrella—to accelerate the transition.

Deeper Observability Across Networks for Optimal Digital Experiences

The integration of Cisco SD-WAN and ThousandEyes makes it possible—and even easy—for ITOps to optimize digital experiences for the workforce and improve the efficiency of internal business systems by monitoring and validating the performance of distributed applications, over any network. By integrating ThousandEyes with Cisco SD-WAN, Cisco enables enterprise ITOps to visualize and take control of their digital experience across the internet, cloud, and SaaS while minimizing OpEx and CapEx investments.

Learn more about the ongoing integration of ThousandEyes and Cisco Networking:

ThousandEyes Expands Global Vantage Points Across Cisco SD-WAN Platforms for Optimized Digital Experience

Cisco Catalyst 9000 Brings ThousandEyes to Your Network

DevNet Resource for Hybrid Cloud

All About Cisco SD-WAN on a SASE-Enabled Architecture


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JL Valente

Vice President, Product Management, Enterprise Routing and SD-WAN

Networking Experiences Team