Cisco today took the wraps off a new platform for data centers – Tetration Analytics.
The announcement was made in New York City by several Cisco executives, including David Goeckeler (pictured), who is sporting his new title of SVP and General Manager of the Networking and Security Business Group.
Previously, Goeckeler was SVP and GM of the Security Business Group, but with “Networking” added to his title, it appears the company has done some internal consolidation after the recent resignations of Mario Mazzola, Prem Jain, Luca Cafiero, and Soni Jiandani.
According to its announcement today, existing data center analytics tools are disjointed. Cisco created Tetration as an entirely new analytics platform to monitor every action in the data center.
Tetration is based upon a 39-rack-unit appliance that’s installed on-premises at the data center. In addition, Tetration uses sensors that create an analytics platform.
“It’s a complete system, monitoring every single packet and monitoring changes happening across those packets,” said Yogesh Kaushek, a Cisco senior director of product management, in a pre-briefing with SDxCentral.
Cisco has been working on the platform for about two years. The name Tetration derives from the mathematical operator that means “beyond exponential.”
The platform uses a “one-touch” appliance, according to Cisco: The servers and switches are prewired, and the software is pre-installed. So setting up Tetration only requires answering some questions about the data center environment, and then the Cluster can be configured at the customer’s data center.
In addition, Tetration gathers telemetry using either server software sensors, network hardware sensors, or both in combination.
Software sensors are installed on end hosts: either virtual machines (VMs) or bare metal servers. In the first Tetration release, software sensors support Linux and Windows server hosts.
Hardware sensors are embedded in the ASICs of Cisco Nexus 9200-X and Nexus 9300-EX network switches to collect flow data at line rate from all the ports. A single Tetration appliance will monitor up to one million unique flows per second.
The sensors are embedded in new ASICS in the 9K series, said Kaushek. The Tetration-capable ASICS are not part of earlier switches.
After the appliance is configured, which takes about three hours, the system “just starts observing things and reporting,” said Kaushek. “The machine learning technology is home-grown at Cisco.”
Using its search-engine data indexing capabilities, Tetration can search across billions of flows. It also continuously monitors application behavior to identify any deviations.
In addition to real-time analytics, the platform can look at past and future events, as well. “We can replay everything like a DVR from the past,” said Kaushek. “And customers can do ‘what if I change something?’ to plan for the future.”