Cisco Accelerates Platform Push With New Full Stack Observability Platform

‘Cisco is using the term full stack observability and they mean it. Full stack creates a platform, which means, essentially, an ecosystem of observability and monitoring, and very few players have anything close to that,’ Cisco Gold partner NTT tells CRN.


In keeping with its platform strategy, Cisco has launched a vendor-agnostic full stack observability platform to bring together contextual and predictive insights so that businesses can solve problems faster and optimize end user experiences.

The full stack observability (FSO) platform, which encompasses networking, infrastructure, and application observability, was announced at Cisco Live 2023 alongside the company’s new Cisco Networking Cloud platform and updates to its year-old Security Cloud platform as the tech giant moves away from point products and toward a platform approach to IT selling.

“Cisco is using the term full stack observability and they mean it. Full stack creates a platform, which means, essentially, an ecosystem of observability and monitoring, and very few players have anything close to that,” Joe Maissel, practice director of observability and AI operations for Cisco Gold Partner NTT, told CRN.

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[Related: Cisco Full Stack Observability: Now With Stronger Digital Experience Monitoring]

The new platform pulls in data from multiple domains including applications, networking, infrastructure, security, cloud, sustainability, and other business sources, according to Gene Hall, vice president of marketing and communications, strategy, incubation and applications for Cisco.

“Cisco is uniquely positioned to bring together data from pretty much all the major operating domains and drive real time insights for infrastructure and operations teams and for app [developers] to help them diagnose proactively, not reactively, what in their environment needs to be tweaked, tuned, fixed, upgraded and addressed, so that they can thrive the most effective user experience consistently,” Hall said.

The platform is built on OpenTelemetry and anchored on Metrics, Events, Logs, and Traces (MELT) so that ddevelopers can collect and analyze MELT data generated by any source. Developers can also build their own observability solutions into the extensible platform, according to San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.

The first set of modules on Cisco’s FSO Platform are: Cost Insights to help businesses understand the fiscal impact of their cloud applications, while also supporting sustainability efforts; Application Resource Optimizer which offers visibility into Kubernetes workload resource utilization, Security Insights to generate an application-based business risk score; and Cisco AIOps to help IT professionals visualize contextualized data relevant to infrastructure, network, incidents, and performance of a business applications in one place, Cisco said.

Cisco partner NTT is modernizing its clients that are demanding cloud-based solutions that can deliver high services levels and operational excellence from their IT teams and partners, Maissel said. One such customer is cruise line company Royal Caribbean.

“Like many of our clients, Royal Caribbean is laser focused on providing a flawless customer experience, whether that is through booking their trip, the onboard experience, or interacting with customer service. The ability to detect problems in any of those technologies, resolve them quickly, just only grows in importance to this customer,” he said.

NTT and Cisco together have helped Royal Caribbean enhance their observability and resolution of issues, Maissel said. “That allows Royal Caribbean to focus on delivering that experience and focus on development of features and functionalities and the things that are core to their customer experience.”

The new FSO platform, a contemporary, OpenTelemetry-based offering, is something that clients like Royal Caribbean are looking for as they transform their businesses to focus on customer experience and cost savings, Maissel said.

“As a lot of our clients modernize and try to control costs, we see Cisco making investments to expand the scope and capability of the platform and invest in this space will help,” he said. “It will help us do more with Cisco technology in this space as they continue to grow and invest here.”

If IT teams only have access to one or two domains -- something that many observability and monitoring providers specialize in -- they can’t achieve full stack observability. That’s what makes Cisco’s new platform stand out, said Carlos Pereira, Cisco fellow and chief architect, strategy, emerging technologies, incubation and applications.

Cisco last month revealed a new OpenTelemetry-based integration of Cisco AppDynamics application observability and ThousandEyes network intelligence. Now is the time for Cisco to pursue full stack observability because end users are demanding digital experiences, and businesses need better visibility, Pereira told CRN.

“The industry transition around FSO is a result of the digital transformation that’s going on,” he said. “If you have a higher expectation and the experience is not ideal, it does impact the business. And the only way to accomplish that tracking of experience is by looking at it end-to-end.”

Cisco FSO platform’s technology launch partners include application analytics and intelligence company CloudFabrix, observability company Evolutio, and monitoring and visibility company Kanari. The companies are working alongside Cisco to build new solutions to address and reach new customers and use-cases.

The Cisco FSO is now generally available.