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This article was contributed and written by Ronak Desai, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Cisco AppDynamics and Full-Stack Observability.


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 Full-Stack Observability (FSO) 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, Cloud Native Application 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 Cloud Native Application 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 Cloud Native Application 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 Cloud Native Application Observability and the FSO Platform, will provide a holistic view of application performance, user experience, security posture and business impact across the full stack and spanning multiple teams.

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