Written by Rob Quickenden, Chief Technology Officer
Hybrid Work and the growth of SaaS makes troubleshooting end user experience so much harder.
ThousandEyes by Cisco is a digital end user experience monitoring solution that helps ensure your business SaaS apps are running at optimum performance wherever your employees or customers are.
ThousandEyes proactively monitors, alerts, and provides visual “route cause analysis” within minutes of a User Experience issue, regardless of if whether the issue is the LAN, WAN, Internet, “XaaS”, ISP, Collaboration Service (such as Teams, Webex or Zoom), or Cloud Provider. It can even determine whether the issue is caused by any third-party dependency such as Content Delivery network, Application, Connector, Secure Web Gateway, Identity Provider, or firewall.
What is ThousandEyes?
ThousandEyes enables organisations to rapidly increase the responsiveness of support teams and managed service providers by providing end-to-end visibility and performance monitoring across the ever-changing and distributed IT landscape wherever your applications, data, infrastructure, user, and devices are located by.
This helps organisations to:
- Better support their hybrid workforce with near-real-time visibility of the employee’s experience.
- Quickly identify and solve app experience issues by continually monitoring employee interactions with web and SaaS-based applications.
- Gain end-to-end visibility from the user, across the network, WAN, and the Internet as well as to their cloud service providers and SaaS applications.
Cisco Thousand Eyes provides and end-to-end End user Experience Monitoring to help ensure that your employees / customers experience of your service or applications is “as expected” and helps proactively detect when there are issues which might impact this performance before users start complaining.
Thousand Eyes provides end to end visibility and intelligence”. Its aim is to help IT provide the best possible employee and customer experience, whatever the application or service by comprehensively measuring and monitoring network performance end-to-end. This means that IT get complete visibility across the internet or WAN, edge, network, application, routing, and device layers to see exactly how and where the Internet and WAN connectivity is impacting employee or customer user experience.
Paying customers of ThousandEyes – and one of its’ killer features, is its’ ability to perform performance “snapshots” which provide clear-cut information – either on demand, or on a schedule. These can be shared with people outside your organisation and is pivotal to proving where the fault lies, therefore helping to help SaaS vendors troubleshoot their own infrastructure and it won’t be a surprise that many of the worlds’ largest SaaS providers are also Cisco Thousand Eye customers!
It does this by using “active monitoring” that utilises a software agent that simulates user activity and checks availability from multiple locations. Cisco leverage Thousand Eyes agents across much of their network equipment including wireless access points and switches (such as the Cisco Catalyst 9k), Cisco SDWAN solutions and SASE services, and is even incorporated into their Webex Meetings platform. There are also agents for desktop devices that can be deployed and what’s more you don’t need a Cisco network to use it. Thousand Eyes is proven to work well with leading SaaS and collaboration platforms such as Slack, Webex and Microsoft Teams.
The Synthetic testing constantly simulates user interaction with SaaS and Web applications, represented by a series of page loads interspersed with interactions like typing in fields and clicking buttons, making the synthetic test “feel” like a user to the actual applications under test. These tests are invaluable to application and network operations staff, since it helps IT and App Support better understand actual user experiences rather than playing the best guess or deflect game. These are presented back as “experience scores” which can be reported on, alert and track trends over time, providing an early warning before issues arise.
What problem does ThousandEyes fix?
In short, when an employee or a customer has a bad digital experience, they don’t care where the problem is, or what has caused it – they simply want to know what is wrong and when it might be resolved.
The need and therefore market for this kind of tool is increasing, as the global pandemic dramatically accelerated the shift to the cloud and SaaS apps, and with the hybrid work, now just the way we work, we need a better way of monitoring and managing the end-to-end employee experience in an environment that no longer directly in control of IT!
As the world settles into what is now a hybrid work world dominated by the continual adoption of SaaS apps and work from anywhere mindset, visibility into how applications are performing for your employees and customers across the internet and various cloud services is critical to business continuity, employee, and customer experience.
Hybrid Work and the growth of SaaS
makes troubleshooting end user experience so much harder.
Today, we, many organisations are still reliant on “self-diagnosis” (or no diagnosis), which leads to conversations like “it’s the network” or “my broadband is slow” or “XXX application is running slow”. This might have been ok during the peak of the pandemic when everyone was sent home to work and was “making the best out of temporary situation”, but three years on this from this, diagnosing and troubleshooting performance related issues is still too commonplace. Now, more than ever, the ability to monitor the end-to-end performance of your business apps, dictates the experience of your customers and employees and the excuses of before are no longer tolerated.
When an employee or a customer has a bad digital experience, they don’t care where the problem is or what has caused it – they simply want it fixed quickly.
Many of these issues are not new, but the shift to cloud and our new distributed hybrid workforce, means that it is becoming increasingly more difficult to understand and support the right “experience” using traditional legacy application performance management tools. What’s more the lack of visibility can often means employees and customers can be having a poor experience without IT or support evening knowing about it until someone complains!
Who needs ThousandEyes?
- Do you have employee experience issues due to lack of Internet, WAN or SaaS visibility?
- How do you know your Content Delivery Provider is serving your content quickly and consistently whether users at home or in the office?
- Do you have inhouse web apps and need a better way of understanding how they perform? when your users work remotely or from disparate offices?
- Does your IT help desk struggle to add value and provide answers to users experience issue with SaaS applications?
- Is the lack of visibility and ability to monitor cloud apps, impacting employee productivity and/or customer experience?
If the answer to the above is mainly “yes”, then it’s worth looking at investing your time in a proof of concept to see how Thousand Eyes could help.
Personally, I think ThousandEyes is a great fit for any organisation with a cloud-first approach that has offices globally and leverages a high degree of hybrid workers (that’s most of us right!)! Whilst it’s not limited to those with only Cisco networks, the economics work well for organisations that already leverage Cisco networking, due to native integration across most of Cisco’s core product offerings including their Cisco Catalyst networking, SASE, SDWAN and their Collaboration suite (Webex).
This makes integration and deployment slick and negates the need to deploy additional agents, since Cisco include the ThousandEyes agent across many of their devices. Customers that buy into Cisco Enterprise Agreements also get a more competitive price point for ThousandEyes and from a support perspective it’s an integrated suite which means less finger pointing.
Speak to Cisilion for help
Speak to us and we will help demonstrate, deploy, configure, and support ThousandEyes for your organisation.
- Demos, PoCs or specific product/application performance assistance
- Cisco funded free trials
- Help with business case development following a successful PoV
- Scoping, deployment and tuning to ensure you can monitor all your in-house web and public SaaS hosted applications, connecting into your underlying Wireless LAN, WAN, MPLS, Internet connectivity and WFH remote locations to provide end-to-end visibility and end user performance monitoring
- Consultancy and support to ensure key departments, locations, users, and application estate is under cover
- Access to the best pricing