ASAP – Intelligence at the heart of your Data Center
Managing Director, Data Center, Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ)
Technology, Thought Leadership, Data Centres
A couple of weeks ago while travelling in Sydney, I was reminded of a story I heard growing up in Australia - that when the painters get to the end of the massive structure of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, they go back to the beginning and start again – a thankless task. This story makes me think of the current manual approach most large organisations adopt to mapping the relationships between their applications, servers and networks – a process typically referred to as Application Dependency Mapping.
Understanding these relationships is a critical function in enabling agility and lowering risk when deploying and managing applications, or undertaking tasks like migration to cloud. There are no shortage of application dependency mapping tools, but the point in time snapshot they can provide is typically limited in scope and detail, and is often very difficult to interpret in a way that allows for real confidence in business and technical decisions.
For this reason, organisations typically pay a consultant hundreds of thousands of dollars to work for months to undertake the detailed analysis to determine application and IT infrastructure interdependencies and deliver a report. This information is a great asset, but unfortunately by the time the process and document is complete, the data is often already out of date. As a static document by nature, in order to remain relevant and trustworthy it requires constant refreshing - just like the paint job on the bridge.
It would be very powerful if that document could be refreshed, automatically in real time, picking up all changes and the current reality in every last corner of your Data Centre and Cloud environments. The good news is that isn’t some form of ‘future possibility’, but in fact is available now and already in use by customers in Asia Pacific adopting Cisco’s Tetration Analytics platform.
The potential of next-generation analytics is pretty inspiring – not only does it make traditional processes like Application Dependency Mapping far more accurate, timely, and cost effective, it also creates the potential for entirely new ways to interact with the environment. For example, you can ask the machine learning engine questions and run simulations – say, “If I make this change, how would it have impacted my environment?” – not just based on the information flowing right now, but using historical analysis against months or more of activity in the Data Centre.
A lack of visibility in the data center and difficulty in interpreting what can be seen is only one of many challenges IT departments face as they strive to support digitisation initiatives by the business. This analytics capability is a key pillar in Cisco's ASAP Data Center strategy, Analyse, Simplify, Automate and Protect. Cisco’s ASAP approach is designed to help organisations gain better application performance, increased agility and reduced operational costs in addition to better and more consistent protection against security threats.
In late March we announced the completion of our acquisition of AppDynamics, which builds out on the Analyse pillar of the ASAP strategy on top of the Tetration Analytics platform, and alongside the broader optimisations for our customer’s big data and analytics workloads present in almost every single one of our Data Center products.
With AppDynamics enterprises are empowered to watch every module of code and understand how their code impacts user experience as well as application and infrastructure performance, while providing real-time insight into everything going on in digital business.
One major institution recently commented that they have transformed to being brain surgeons in the digital transformation journey instead of paramedics. They made the transition through the use of holistic application performance metrics, integrated in real-time with the organisations digital platforms and able to be visualised with precision using capabilities such as visual flow maps.
As it turns out, the story of painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge is an urban myth. The process is far more complicated than simply painting the bridge from one end to the other – not unlike the management of your Data Centre. Our role is to help you find simpler, smarter ways to take on the challenge.