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Cisco Live highlights network observability, the metaverse

Cisco Live returned to Las Vegas this month. Getting back to in-person events has been refreshing, and seeing remote colleagues and friends for the first time in a long while at this event was invaluable. I was joined by fellow Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) analysts Bob Laliberte and Rob Strechay, and we were able to divide and conquer many of the important topics shared by Cisco.

The event kicked off with Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins discussing how Cisco aims to reimagine applications, power hybrid work, secure the enterprise and transform infrastructure. Robbins’ message around reimagining applications means we need to rethink our approach to security and infrastructure — and how to deliver them in a way that ensures an organization’s success.

The keynote went on to highlight how Cisco is simplifying and innovating modern, cloud-native observability with AppDynamics Cloud. Cloud-based platforms that provide a unified experience using the Cisco Meraki dashboard, Cisco Nexus Cloud and ThousandEyes WAN Insights are also a main focus for the company.

Next up was Jonathan Davidson, executive vice president and general manager of Cisco’s Massive-Scale Infrastructure Group, who covered digitalization and Industry 4.0, as well as how IT and operational technology enable products, processes and business models to add value to organizations. The goal is for Cisco and its customer organizations to provide meaningful outcomes when IT and the operations teams work together.

Cisco chief strategy officer and general manager of applications Liz Centoni talked about how application performance, security and trust will be at the center of immersive, virtualized and augmented experiences.

Complete network visibility

Throughout the event, I noticed the term full-stack observability was used frequently, specifically in the context of fueling the experience economy. Full-stack observability is a modern approach to network monitoring that tracks the performance of complex environments. It analyzes telemetry data that’s collected from various sources, including applications, networks and cloud services.

Cisco’s AppDynamics Cloud comes with the vendor’s proclaimed full-stack observability, delivering visibility and insights that are actionable across the application stack, including the dependencies to the end user. In conjunction with ThousandEyes and Intersight, Cisco hopes to deliver on this full-stack observability promise.

Furthering talks on network innovation, the hybrid multi-cloud future was discussed by Jeetu Patel, executive vice president and general manager of security and collaboration. His session focused on a secure network as a service across public and private cloud environments.

The guiding principles of Patel focused on being multi-cloud, cloud-native, AI/machine learning, unified experience and open but extensible architectures. Cisco also cleared the challenges around complexity that must be addressed because the burden can no longer be on IT users.

Exploring the metaverse

The sessions on the metaverse and beyond — and what makes it reality — were especially interesting. A Cisco executive panel discussed the metaverse and how it would be affected by changes in organizational landscapes.

One topic discussed looked at the elements that metaverse companies are engaging in or currently exploring. Virtual and augmented reality topped the list at 41% of responses. This was followed by decentralized storage, blockchain, digital twins and cryptocurrencies, to name a few. Not surprisingly, some of the biggest metaverse challenges include cost, data privacy, security and appropriate use for businesses.

Open source was also a key topic. Tim Szigeti, Cisco director and principal technical marketing engineer, discussed the next evolution of Cisco’s service mesh and security. I met with Szigeti at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2022. He and Sanjeev Mervana, Cisco vice president of product management, emerging technologies and incubation, introduced me to a series of new Cisco offerings:

  • Calisti. app, a service mesh manager;
  • Telescope. app, a tool for cloud-native app troubleshooting; and
  • Panoptica. app, a secure application cloud service.

This trifecta of tools provides a holistic view across the app creation, security and DevOps environments. The suite enables optics throughout the continuous integration and continuous deployment to the runtime pipeline, while allowing for fault isolation and detection. It is available as a free offering, but Cisco also offers enterprise support.

Cisco demonstrated a commitment to the open source community with these offerings, as well as the discussion focused on APIClarity, OpenClarity and KubeClarity. This commitment has Cisco looking into the future of AI, quantum computing, blockchain, low earth orbit networking, security and the metaverse.

Last — but certainly not least — I had a great conversation with Grace Francisco, vice president of developer relations strategy and experience. We discussed DevNet, a significant topic at Cisco Live. DevNet is a program to help developers write apps and integrate with Cisco products and APIs.

Wrapping up the event, Cisco Live is always a busy conference with a lot to cover in a short time. For more information, check out TechTarget’s complete conference coverage.

ESG is a division of TechTarget.

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