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Cisco Offers Window into Data Center Operations with Tetration Analytics

June 21, 2016

Visibility into data center operations is a stumbling block for many companies, particularly as data centers become increasingly complex thanks to new application deployment architectures with multiple endpoints. These create literally dozens of interdependencies, which are hard to monitor, and many tools today are too fragmented to make much of a difference. Real-time monitoring of application flows would benefit data centers in a number of ways, saving both time and money.

Analytics can allow companies to make more informed decisions and drive new telemetry solutions that can capture information from every packet and every flow at line rate. Machine learning techniques and intelligent algorithms can analyze every packet in real-time, and deliver actionable, visible insights into what’s happening in the data center infrastructure. Networking giant Cisco is launching just such a solution.

Cisco’s Tetration Analytics platform has been the result of two years of work, and the company says it will give channel partners more insight across a customer's entire data center in real time with plans of accelerating the adoption of newer technologies like software-defined networking (SDN).

"This will migrate customers into more modern technologies, from those traditional hardware-based systems into the cloud and software-defined networking-based systems," said David Chandler, practice lead for the Enterprise Networking Solutions Group of World Wide Technology, a Maryland Heights, Mo.-based solution provider and Cisco Gold partner. "If a customer wants to do a migration from a legacy network into a policy-based ACI network, we would now have the information and the knowledge to go and make that successful."

The solution is designed for simple, out-of-the-box installation, and can be deployed in a matter of hours with no “big data” expertise, according to the company. It leverages extremely low overhead software sensors in servers (between one and three percent of CPU usage), Cisco’s titration analytics solution can be easily deployed in both “brown field” and “green field” environments. Additionally, sensors built into the Cisco Nexus 9000 CloudScale switches provide added telemetry vantage points for even more granular analysis. Companies can now more accurately map application dependencies and their flow patterns in minutes.

The result is that companies using the solution will be better able to understand the impact of migrating applications to the cloud. It will also allow them to plan better for disaster recovery and optimize application performance. Instant alerts can help data center employees understand when systems have deviated from established baseline behavior.

The Cisco Tetration Analytics platform can be installed in any data center with any servers, and with any network switches, according to Yogesh Kaushik, Cisco's senior director of product management.

"It's a completely open platform, designed to work with anything the customer is using," said Kaushik, in an interview with CRN. "It's designed to integrate with third-party tools, platforms, some of our own products like Cisco's security portfolio, CliQr, ACI, other SDN controllers -- tools to orchestrate workflows in public clouds like [Amazon Web Services]."

A single Tetration appliance can monitor up to one million unique flows per second and can search billions of events in seconds, the company said.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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