Today, applications no longer just support the business; they are the key to a successful business. Customer satisfaction and employee productivity are directly dependent on interactions with the applications. If the applications do not perform flawlessly, it can hurt an organization’s bottom line and even put a dent in its brand value. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for applications to shine. Now more than ever, people are relying on them to get work done and keep business running, and they want to be able to use them on any device and from anywhere.

What can you do to optimize the application experience for users across different networks? And what, if anything, has changed from the pre-pandemic days?

The application landscape is quite dynamic. Application performance is reliant on not only the application servers but also the cloud and networking environments. A complete visibility across the compute and networking infrastructure is required to deliver an optimal end-user experience.

Using Cisco DNA Center, we were able to observe the average global traffic of 100 top applications on over 700 enterprise networks. There were some surprising fluctuations in the application rankings from March to July, when the workforce and learning transitioned from on-campus to online environments. While enterprise transactional SSL and HTML applications remained quite steady in volume and rankings, we observed that file transfers grew over 130 percent between April and July. During the same period, enterprise real-time video grew by almost 50 percent.

The takeaway? The IT landscape can change incredibly quickly, and networks need to be extremely agile in order to support whatever the future brings — whether digital transformation or business resilience.

We’ve observed other changes, too. According to ThousandEyes, the increased use of certain applications over the pandemic months had a clear impact on specific application behaviors and performance. For example, enterprise apps increased their dependencies on the edge and on supporting content delivery networks (CDNs), while also managing to maintain consistent performance despite increased usage and more distributed users. Ecommerce apps, on the other hand, appeared to be less elastic in terms of their ability to scale resources up or down, and their performance fluctuated based on usage.

The key takeaway here is that IT needs to be able to understand their application performance in relation to usage and to make changes as needed more rapidly.

And when things go wrong with an app? Cisco’s AppDynamics, an AI/ML-powered platform for critical application performance monitoring, is proving to be a game-changer for IT. Based on data from the platform, we have seen a growth in the average number of anomalies detected per application since the beginning of the pandemic. By learning application usage patterns, the platform’s AI/ML capability can pro-actively detect and surface anomalies that hinder mission-critical business transactions — anomalies that might not be detected by out-of-the-box health rule configurations.

Simply monitoring systems is no longer sufficient. Having the visibility with proactive insights across the interdependent systems is what’s required to provide the IT teams necessary observability to be aware of issues and fix them faster, thereby freeing resources from tedious root-cause analysis so they can focus on empowering innovation and providing more significant business impact.

To learn more about how Cisco is driving observability stay tuned…


Shruti Jain

Leader, Project & Program Management

X-Architecture Marketing, Enterprise Networking & Cloud