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Cisco Acquires AppDynamics: How This Could Impact Cisco’s Cloud Strategy

Cisco just announced its acquisition of AppDynamics, a company that provides application monitoring and IT operations analytics, for $3.7 billion. That’s not bad for the AppDynamics folks when recent valuations put them in the $1.9 billion (or so) range. This also stops the expected first tech IPO of 2017. But what does this acquisition mean?

About the Acquisition

For Cisco, it could be a very good acquisition; AppDynamics is a fantastic application monitoring platform. At AHEAD, we’ve seen the potential of AppDynamics and how it helps our clients dig into their applications no matter where they run. As applications have gotten more complex, traditional monitoring tools have lagged behind. We now need tools that can monitor what actually happens inside the application, not from an outsider’s perspective. We’ve integrated the AppDynamics solution suite in AHEAD’s Lab and into many of our cross-product solutions to give clients inspiration for what is possible. Recently, we demonstrated use of AppDynamics with automation/orchestration running with ServiceNow on AWS. We also have shown how to take information from AppDynamics and use it to auto scale AWS ECS containers via Lambda. The possibilities of this with Cisco are pretty compelling when you think about integration across its cloud and data analytics stacks.

Cisco and AppDynamics Together

AppDynamics provides visibility into the context of business transactions, such as  processed transactions and checkout procedures on a retail site. This is done via agents that get deployed across the application stacks. These agents collect data about the transactions and then start to build a map of all the interconnected components and how they correlate.

Cisco didn’t have a tool for this space. It’s hard to argue with what Cisco can do around network information and telemetry when you look at its offerings, such as the relatively new Tetration and the now-being-deployed-for-real, ACI. Now imagine these working alongside AppDynamics and being able to correlate that information with deeper application intelligence. This isn’t there today and would take significant engineering effort to complete, but it’s an interesting discussion.

We also expect to see tight integration between UCS Director and AppDynamics. AppDynamics would provide much better performance analytics to UCS Director and allow it to intelligently scale and manage deployed systems, much like we have shown with ECS and Lambda, as mentioned above. These are pieces that are missing from UCS Director currently and would allow it to better manage hybrid cloud environments.

Will the Integration Happen?

Historically, Cisco has faced some trouble when it comes acquisition integration, especially on the software side. For instance, look at the “box of things” that they’ve marketed as Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud (CIAC) or what’s happened so far with CLiQR, now called CloudCenter. In general, Cisco’s cloud strategy messaging has not been as complete as we’d like to see, and although Cisco is working on building a formidable portfolio, there is some room for improvement when it comes to the overall integration of technologies. My hope is that AppDynamics won’t just turn into a forgotten tool in the Cisco tool chest, but will be utilized to the fullest extent, being built into the larger framework.

One area where we see Cisco still having a gap is with intelligent log analytics. If Cisco can really work to integrate existing tools and add a good log management/analytics tool such as Sumo Logic or Splunk, it could have a much more robust cloud application management story.

Only time will tell when it comes to the success of this acquisition. Cisco is putting together a solid application and cloud management portfolio. The hurdles Cisco will face are around engineering product integration and formulating a clear, coherent message about how to help customers deploy and operate their cloud environments.

To learn about cloud management, automation and orchestration, or application-centric monitoring from AHEAD, contact us today to meet with our experts one-on-one and for more information on our current offerings and solutions.

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