Just about every application of any consequence these days is highly distributed and, as such, is likely to interact in some way with routers from Cisco. ThousandEyes today announced that its network performance monitoring (NPM) software can now use Linux containers to monitor Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISR) 4000 Series and Aggregation Services Routers (ASR) 1000 Series routers.
Nick Kephart, senior director of product marketing for ThousandEyes, says Cisco made it possible to deploy a container on top of its routers last year. Now ThousandEyes is following up on the capability by deploying its agent software as a lightweight container on top of the operating system that Cisco employs on its routers. The result is a lot more visibility into both Cisco routers and any applications that interact with those routers.
One of the primary advantages that ThousandEyes provides is that, as a SaaS application, it can be more easily deployed to monitor a wide variety of networking equipment. Previously, those efforts required the deployment of virtual machines. Now ThousandEyes is taking advantage of containers as a lighter weight alternative to gather data using its agent software.
That agent software, says Kephart, comes in two forms. One consists of Enterprise Agents that are deployed inside the local enterprise, which in turn communicate with Cloud Agents that ThousandEyes has installed in over 120 data centers around the globe. That data is then fed into the ThousandEyes analytics application.
As a general rule, providers of analytics applications used within IT environments have relied on agents and virtual machines to gather data. Going forward, many of them are going to be making a shift to containers that are simpler to deploy and consume much fewer resources on the device that needs to be monitored.
Of course, this approach to networking is not just limited to agents. Providers of all kinds of network appliances are expected to employ containers to deliver networking functions as software as well.