3 MIN READ | Service Assurance

Post-Cisco LIVE: The Importance of Application Visibility Services for CSPs

By Christopher Cullan, Product Marketing Manager, Business Services Solutions, InfoVista

I recently attended Cisco Live in Orlando. It was a fantastic event, including a night at Universal Orlando with a performance by Journey! There was a huge turnout from both attendees and Cisco partners throughout the week and an inspirational closing interview with Sir Richard Branson!

InfoVista was at the event to support our Application Visibility Services solution for CSPs and MSPs in the Partner Pavilion. Together with our Cisco AVC colleagues, our joint solution enables InfoVista's CSP customers to provide application-performance-as-a-service to enterprise customers.

John Chambers' opening keynote was about the convergence of the network and IT domains, and, as usual, a highlight for the event. His message addressed a lot of Cisco's momentum within the more traditional IT market (e.g. with their UCS server platform), and he even provided an interesting demonstration of the soda industry to illustrate Cisco's vision to support the entire supply chain of a business. In the future, one could optimize the irrigation and production of corn all the way to the actual soda production, bottling, distribution and consumer care. Mr. Chambers' message encompassed the increasing criticality of network services within the context of IT, and the requirement to align these two technology domains to best serve the needs of the enterprise business. According to Cisco's conversations with their enterprise customers, this is all about growth.

Having visibility of both the performance and usage of applications on the intervening WANs and the Internet empowers an enterprise to unite the two domains of network and IT. This visibility enables the enterprise to maximize the value of its networking resources, preventing abuse of those resources from non-business traffic and demonstrating the business need for network upgrades. When the IT department can identify the application traffic, it can, in turn, demonstrate to the business how it is growing and what is needed to support the same performance level in the future. This knowledge makes it a lot easier to secure those upgrade requests and related budget dollars — great news for the CSP! The CSP opportunity is even larger, though, as they are positioned to use their relationship with the enterprise to provide this application visibility and maximize the value of their network service offerings. The result is increased sales as well as incremental revenue.

I had the opportunity to speak with one network manager for a multi-national real estate conglomerate; we'll call him Colin . Colin explained to me that his company operates in over 50 countries and manages more than 2000 sites. He relies heavily on IP VPN services for 10 percent of those sites — essentially the ‘hub' sites in various regions. I asked Colin to consider how influential application visibility and performance services would be to his decision to purchase VPN services. Would he choose a network service offering that offered visibility of the usage and performance of the applications, or one that did not? Colin immediately responded that he would choose the service with application visibility. I asked how strongly that offering influenced him; not at all, a little, or significantly — and he exclaimed “significantly!” Colin went on to tell me about his existing flow-based APM solution, which doesn't provide the performance visibility he needs. Not only that, Colin explained, but the TCO is growing, so maintaining his investment is proving challenging.

Colin's responses align with much of my research, but like a good scientist, it's important to keep collecting observations and adjusting accordingly. Our chat did help me remain secure in the fact that application visibility services can help CSPs increase their value to the enterprise, along with revenues, as our customers will attest.

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