Cisco General Manager and SVP Scott Harrell, who heads up the company’s intent-based network group, had high praise this week for the assets that Cisco acquired from ThousandEyes. Cisco closed on ThousandEyes in August, and while it didn't disclose the financial terms, Bloomberg reported that Cisco would pay close to $1 billion.
Speaking at the RBC Capital Markets conference this week, Harrell said Cisco had been working with ThousandEyes for a couple of years prior to buying the startup. “So, we knew the company pretty well; I wish I could claim — because I’ve been involved with them all along — I wish I could claim I had perfect foresight that they would become such a valuable tool as people stay home,” he said.
ThousandEyes' cloud agents are external vantage points that can be distributed on network points of presence, in data centers or in branch offices. And apparently, they can also be distributed on individual workers’ computers.
Harrell said that prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, ThousandEyes already had an application that helps to monitor and troubleshoot technology of remote workers who are having trouble with their connectivity.
“If you’re an IT administrator and you’re trying to help the user, I think it’s very difficult because you don’t have visibility in home network,” said Harrell.
The problem might be a number of things such as too many people in the home using too many devices, or it could be something bigger such as network congestion in an entire neighborhood.
The ThousandEyes technology helps to isolate where the problem may be. “ThousandEyes actually has an agent that can run on the laptop that can help you do that from an IT point-of-view,” said Harrell. “So, that’s been an immediate residence use-case that’s been picked up. The team had actually introduced a whole new set of capabilities around, coincidently in time for the pandemic.”
Harrell also touted ThousandEyes’ benefits around Cisco’s SD-WAN, which was a primary driver for its acquisition.
He said the SD-WAN market was particularly hot right now because the pandemic has caused companies to move their applications to the cloud and re-architect their local area network (LAN).
“When they re-architect their LAN, they almost always bring in new internet capabilities,” said Harrell.
Companies are supplementing their MPLS connections with broadband. But this causes issues because the internet is less secure and reliable than MPLS.
ThousandEyes has been helpful for IT to get insights about the SD-WAN deployments because otherwise IT managers are responsible for the SD-WAN experience with no way of monitoring it.
He said the software has been great because it can become a real challenge “especially when now you don’t have just 20 branch offices, now you have maybe 10,000 branch offices, but oftentimes, these branch offices are made of a single employee working from home.”
Harrell also mentioned the blending of Cisco’s AppDynamics technology with ThousandEyes. Three-years ago, Cisco bought AppDynamics for $3.7 billion to provide application visibility.
This week he said, “We’re seeing a huge amount of synergy with our AppDynamics customers….now that you add ThousandEyes to it, you provide even more visibility to the application performance.”