Cisco Unveils New WAN Forecasting Capabilities

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Cisco SystemsThe internet pipefitter who is delving deeper into developing analytics and machine learning to add predictive capabilities to its network management platform, today announced the launch of ThousandEyes WAN Insights, which should bring a slew of new options to its console of services.

Earlier this year, Cisco introduced its Cisco Predictive Networks, an initiative to bring predictive capabilities to the company’s portfolio of products and offerings. Cisco Predictive Networks is designed to achieve a new level of reliability and performance by predicting application and network problems before they happen, such as hardware and software bottlenecks and security breaches.

“The world has really changed during the pandemic and digital transformation has accelerated for most companies,” Mohit Lad, co-founder and GM of Cisco ThousandEyes, wrote in a recent blog post. “We now support employees in offices and at home, collaborating with each other through applications hosted in the cloud and outside IT environments. We do this as we continue to help the company operate at the same level or better than it was before the pandemic. We now live in a different world than we did two years ago, so we challenged ourselves to find new ways to enable our customers to thrive in this new reality.”

Cisco acquired ThousandEyes in August 2020, just as the COVID-19 pandemic was experiencing its first major upswing. ThousandEyes’ web and cloud intelligence platform enhances administrative visibility into the digital delivery of applications and services over the web and the cloud. It enables organizations to visualize any network as if it were their own, provide actionable insights and collaborate and resolve issues with service providers.

The internet is the new backbone of businesses

So how does Cisco plan to deliver optimal network performance in unpredictable Internet environments?

“First, we provide the best picture of global internet health, both for networks and for the best SaaS applications organizations rely on,” said Lad. “This allows our customers to proactively address major unexpected network or application issues as they arise by making the desired changes on their or their carrier’s side. Many of these disruptions cannot be predicted and organizations must react quickly as soon as they occur – real-time visibility is essential. However, we believe that many service outages can be avoided if we look more closely at all the data and learn from the past. This is the focus of Cisco Predictive Networks and the genesis of ThousandEyes WAN Insights.”

ThousandEyes WAN Insights improves the visibility of SD-WAN environments and empowers organizations to look at their top applications, the experience specific groups of users face, and how to improve that experience by learning from past behavior, Lad said.

In addition, Cisco provides recommendations and expected improvement metrics (for example, changing routing from Internet-A to Internet-B, as this yields a 20% speed improvement). “At this stage, it’s (just) a recommendation with the vision to work towards more automation in the future,” Lad said.

ThousandEyes WAN Insights recommendations will also appear in Cisco’s vAnalytics application to ensure network management teams get the actionable information they need, Lad said.

What does this do for wide-area network (SD-WAN) deployments?

“Think of this technology as a guiding hand first — they help you get the most out of SD-WAN deployments, so you don’t have to guess at initial policy configuration and optimization,” said Lad. “Second, as environments continue to evolve, you can refine them based on long-term recommendations to ensure that the environment provides your users with the best possible digital experience. This gives you the power to go from reactive to preemptive with SD-WAN environments.”

Cisco said ThousandEyes WAN Insights will be available to its SD-WAN customers shortly, most likely by the end of the third quarter.

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