Full-stack observability starts with APM and AppDynamics

July 24 2023

How AppDynamics APM, Cisco Cloud Observability and the Cisco Observability Platform can provide a full-stack, holistic view of application performance, user experience, security posture and business impact.

Recently, a customer asked me how Cisco’s investment in full-stack observability benefits traditional AppDynamics customers.

To answer, first, let’s take a moment to discuss how Cisco AppDynamics fits into Cisco Full-Stack Observability.

For Cisco, the concept of full-stack observability moves beyond individual domain monitoring to holistically observe the health of an entire system — from the time a user opens an application on a phone or in a browser all the way into the actual data in the database and back to the end device. This end-to-end visibility (full stack) enables insights into performance, security risks, anomaly detection and root cause analysis to drive manual or automated mitigation of any identified issues.

The path to achieving full-stack observability is not linear, and Cisco offers the flexibility to meet customers where they are today in that process and also helps them grow to solve new use cases as they are ready.

For many organizations, the first step starts with applications and application performance monitoring and tying that data together with business context so that they can focus on what matters most. For the last three years, Cisco AppDynamics has been the foundational lynchpin that has brought together cross-domain application, security and network infrastructure monitoring with business context through integrations across Cisco ThousandEyes and security teams to help organizations provide holistic visibility and deliver the best-in-class digital experience for their end users.

Now, with the Cisco Observability Platform, organizations can leverage the open, extensible platform to empower a new observability ecosystem that delivers relevant and impactful business insights through added use cases and extensions.

Traditional observability

While many applications and workloads have moved to the cloud, most mission-critical applications and IT estates remain both on-premises and/or in hybrid postures due to cost, compliance and security concerns. We are giving customers options and the flexibility to move as rationally as possible to grow their observability investments throughout their digital transformation journey. As I have previously written, it’s our commitment to support our customers wherever they are on their journey to full-stack observability.

The Cisco Full-Stack Observability solution currently supports seven core use cases aligned to what we hear most frequently from enterprise customers. For traditional and hybrid applications, AppDynamics directly supports four of the most common use cases, including:

  • Hybrid application monitoring: See how your traditional and hybrid apps are performing with business context.
  • Customer digital experience monitoring: Understand how application, hybrid cloud and internet performance affect real user experience.
  • Application dependency monitoring: Gain end-to-end visibility across your enterprise, internet and end-user devices.
  • Application security: Understand, prioritize and block security risks from multiple sources.

Most recently, we’ve launched additional investments on AppDynamics SaaS to augment these use cases with Business Risk Observability to dynamically rank application vulnerabilities based on advanced threat intelligence from Cisco Kenna, Talos and Panoptica feeds, and bi-directional integration of application observability and ThousandEyes network intelligence to correlate internet performance impact on real-user experience and provide application health context for network operations teams.

Cloud native observability

Over the last year, we have also launched a new capability, Cisco Cloud Observability, powered by the new Cisco FSO Platform, to support the remaining three+ cloud native application use cases:

  • Modern application monitoring: See how your microservices-based and distributed apps are performing, whatever cloud they live in.
  • Hybrid cost optimization: Lower costs by only paying for what you need in public cloud and safely increase utilization of assets.
  • Application resource optimization: Improve and assure application performance by optimizing resource allocation for workloads.
  • Extend Observability: Extend your observability and create custom use cases using the FSO Platform.

We are incredibly excited about the potential of the Cisco FSO Platform and Cisco Cloud Observability to drive the future of observability solutions. However, that doesn’t mean these new investments remove our focus from AppDynamics. These investments will allow us to continue building on AppDynamics in new ways.

For example, with our coexistence initiative, we are integrating advanced log analytics, core web vitals and cloud infrastructure troubleshooting from Cisco Cloud Observability into AppDynamics to provide a unified experience that we have achieved with recent ThousandEyes and Kenna integrations.

Our full-stack observability solution will evolve and expand over time, but rest assured that AppDynamics APM continues to drive innovation today. As a central part of Cisco Full-Stack Observability, AppDynamics APM, along with Cisco Cloud Observability and the Cisco Observability Platform, will provide a holistic view of application performance, user experience, security posture and business impact across the full stack and spanning multiple teams.

Ronak Desai is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco AppDynamics and Full-Stack Observability and is responsible for leading the overall AppDynamics strategy and operations and driving operational efficiency and delivery, as well as helping Cisco in achieving its vision for Full-Stack Observability.

Prior to joining AppDynamics, Ronak was SVP of Cisco’s Cloud Networking Engineering organization, where he spearheaded major strategy and technical shifts across Cisco’s networking portfolio of products and services, including ACI to ACI Anywhere, 400G offerings, Cloud APIC, Nexus Dashboard and more. Ronak has held additional engineering leadership roles at Insieme Networks — which was acquired by Cisco in December of 2013 — where he was responsible for the development and architecture for the ACI controller and Nexus 9000, Hybrid cloud solutions. He helped drive the development of NX-OS, Nexus 7000, MDS9000 and SAN-OS (the pre-cursor to NX-OS).

Ronak lives in Oakland, California, and enjoys hiking and mountain biking. He holds 50 patents, many of which are currently embedded in the solutions Cisco provides to address the dynamic needs of worldwide customers and technology partners every day.

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