ThousandEyes Could be a Key Differentiator in Cisco’s Cloud Networking Quest

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

• Cisco’s efforts to further integrate ThousandEyes across its solution portfolio offers a powerful tool as it aims to grow as a leading cloud-networking platform provider.

• While ThousandEyes offers great visibility into the entire stack, Cisco could offer deeper integrations in areas like WAN optimization to make the most of its investment.

During the Keynote at this year’s Cisco Live 2022 APJ, in Melbourne Australia, Cisco executive VP and GM of security and collaboration, Jeetu Patel stated that providing a vendor-neutral platform for cloud-networking was core to the company’s strategy. More specifically the company hopes to abstract the security and networking layers away from the leading hyperscale platforms, and to provide a unified platform for networking services and security that allows traffic to flow securely to any cloud platform. This is a lofty goal, and Cisco has a long list of competitors in the networking, monitoring, and security space. The hyperscalers are growing their WAN offerings While Cisco remains one of the leaders in networking and is growing stronger in security, the company needs to develop as many points of differentiation as possible to achieve this goal.

One area Cisco can differentiate in networking and security is with the ThousandEyes platform. Now two years on from the acquisition of ThousandEyes, Cisco has made progress in integrating the cloud and networking monitoring and recommendation engine across a wider variety of the company’s products and solutions. ThousandEyes now integrates with (i) AppDynamics to offer network insight into application performance management, (ii) Cisco Catalyst and Nexus 9000 series of routers and switches for campus and data center networking insights as well as the (iii) Cisco SD-WAN service to help with visibility with pathfinding and route recommendation using public underlay, (iv) Cisco SASE solution to offer insight into the network performance impact of Cisco’s cloud delivered security products and (v) Webex, to help monitor network health for all end users connected to a call or presentation. Further, ThousandEyes is now part of Cisco’s “Full Stack Observability Suite” which offers a way for IT operations to manage and monitor applications across public, private, and on-prem.

The benefit of these integrations is that Cisco can offer a consistent way of understanding both internal and external network health and its impacts on user experience, internal and external application performance across different systems and vendors, network and user security and provide recommendations to remediate on internal and external network issues for all of these. This is a powerful tool for Cisco if it hopes to be a unified vendor-neutral platform for cloud networking and security, but it could do more to get the most out of the capability. Currently ThousandEyes just offers monitoring and recommendations, but it doesn’t integrate with other network management platforms like Cisco Meraki or into Cisco’s SD-WAN optimization to offer deeper intelligence into path optimization.

ThousandEyes is a good representation of Cisco overall. It has a very wide breadth of leading solutions and products across networking, security, collaboration and cloud, but before it is ready to take the charge of a leading unified cloud network and security platform, it needs to better integrate and rationalize how each piece works together.

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