Cisco’s CX Cloud team talks full-stack observability

July 19 2022
5 min read
 

Learn how working with AppDynamics as a customer and design partner is helping the Cisco CX team improve Cisco’s offerings to customers via the CX Cloud platform.


To be ready to respond to rapid change, businesses today need to be connected digitally to analytics, automation, and machine learning, and to have immediate access to specialist expertise.

That’s why Cisco developed its CX Cloud digital platform. CX Cloud offers Cisco’s customers a unified view across their entire Cisco portfolio, empowering IT teams to manage their assets efficiently, resolve issues faster, and make the right deployment decisions. This is achieved through access to Cisco’s expertise and best practices combined with telemetry, AI- and ML-driven insights, use cases and contextual learning.

AppDynamics and CX Cloud are Cisco stablemates. The CX Cloud team was also a customer and design partner in the AppDynamics Cloud Early Access Program.

Sunder Parameswaran, VP of Products at Cisco, AppDynamics interviewed CX Cloud’s Director of Operations, Sumit Nandy, and Cloud Ops Automation Lead, Ravi Patnala, to share their perspective on the need for cloud native solutions.

Can you provide some background on the CX Cloud platform and explain how you’ve already been using AppDynamics?

Sumit: CX Cloud is a top-priority project within Cisco. The aim is to provide a single door for our customers to interact with Cisco across the life cycle of their products and solutions. This enables our customers to maximize the value of their Cisco technology investments by connecting them to the right expertise, insights and learning at the right time through this digital experience of CX Cloud.

In terms of the experience, we want to drive for our customers on CX Cloud at Cisco, it’s absolutely imperative that we have observability of the CX Cloud platform across all the elements of the platform and application stack. This is to ensure we can proactively manage system availability and performance at all times.

AppDynamics has been a very close partner of ours for many years — even before Cisco’s acquisition. We’re excited to be part of the new AppDynamics Cloud platform, and as an early design partner and adopter, to make this a very strong Cisco-on-Cisco story.

What motivated your team to be part of the AppDynamics Cloud Design Partner Program and what were you looking to achieve with these new solutions?

Ravi: The Customer Experience Cloud and the Partner Experience Cloud are capabilities that were born in the cloud for us. Both these apps have a multi-cloud footprint, so enabling observability together and between them was challenging for us in a couple of ways.

One issue is the ease of onboarding. We have some OpenTelemetry™ modules that we implemented offline, for example. With AppDynamics, we can easily onboard distinct modules. We’re also looking for faster onboarding of other, newer modules that are part of this cloud.

Given the complexity of the stack, observability into infrastructure and applications with the supported correlation between these competencies was key to getting deeper insights for our six cloud operations teams.

AppDynamics Cloud fits the requirements pretty well because integrations with CloudWatch alarms and getting right out of the gate in real-time are key to collecting the rest of the telemetry we’re receiving from AppDynamics’ other modules.

And what has been your experience with AppDynamics Cloud so far?

Ravi: Our experience with AppDynamics Cloud has been really great! Here are a couple of highlights.

First, the incremental code drops. These help us test specific features in the CX Cloud platform on an ongoing basis and then quickly and efficiently provide that feedback. And when we get the next code drop, we’re able to test all the upcoming features. This process is very important for us and helps us to space our testing.

Next are the CloudWatch alarms. We had to do certain external integrations with AppDynamics Cloud initially, but the ease of onboarding is pretty good now. Taking the data from the CloudWatch alarms is much easier, and that’s a huge win for us because it helps us get to the root cause much faster. It also improves our time to detect.

The logs capability is also pretty useful because, along with all the correlations from telemetry from these modules, we’re able to analyze the logs directly.

Sumit: Alert and respond is obviously the most important feature of AppD, and that’s very helpful for us too.

Cloud native use cases have been well addressed in AppDynamics Cloud. There are also certain traditional wins that AppDynamics Cloud has, such as monitoring and correlations with our transactions. We’ve been implementing our runtime security features recently, and it would be awesome if the AppDynamics team could take those capabilities into AppDynamics Cloud.

Can you describe a typical use case for AppDynamics Cloud?

Sumit: If you take CX Cloud as an application, there are predominantly two systems of engagement for our customers. The first one is the portal where they come to look at the insights related to their network and the life cycle journey of the products and solutions we’ve sold them. The second is the customers’ telemetry, which we ingest, process, and analyze to provide actionable insights into the portal.

Traditionally, we’ve been using AppDynamics to look for symptoms in the systems of engagement using a top-down approach. But with AppDynamics Cloud, we will turn that around and look more from an infrastructure point of view, leveraging the correlation power of CloudWatch alarms and the cloud native agent insights. From there, we’ll derive the impacts on the systems of engagement. This will allow our NOCs (network operations centers) to be more proactive and also improve the time to detect — which will impact analysis to a great extent.

 

Learn more about AppDynamics Cloud here