Cisco using AI and machine learning to help IT predict failures

We have known for some time that the number of signals coming from your IT systems surpassed the ability for humans to keep track of them years ago. Machines can help and have been for some time. The advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning has accelerated that ability and today, Cisco announced that it is using these technologies to help customers find failures before they become major issues.

Cisco’s solutions are similar to others out there using AI and machine learning to help augment humans’ ability to sift through the mass of information being thrown at us by these systems. The company is introducing two new sets of services to address this need.

The first, “Business Critical Services,” uses analytics, automation, compliance and security tools — nothing you haven’t seen before, I’m guessing — to help track the health of these services. They are claiming it reduces the complexity associated with tracking your most critical business services, while reducing the risk of these systems going down.

This kind of tracking is precisely what AppDynamics does, the company that Cisco bought earlier this year for $3.7 billion. It’s not clear if these services have been developed from AppDynamics assets, but this is the type of monitoring on which they built their business.

The second set of services, “Cisco High Value Services,” offers more of a hand-holding service for IT with software, solutions and network support for customers.

IDC’s Chris Barnard says these kinds of offerings are giving companies who are mired in the modernization process the ability to keep up even when they lack in-house expertise. “The landscape is evolving too fast for some businesses to keep up with digital transformation, as a result they rely on their larger vendor partners with the skills, expertise and capabilities to help address these talent gaps,” Barnard said in a statement. In this case, that large vendor partner would be Cisco.

While Cisco claims these products are an industry first, the whole industrial IoT business is built on the idea of predicting failures before they happen. Companies like Splunk have been using AI and machine learning to sift through the many signals coming from IT systems to predict and inform IT pros for a long time, as have application performance monitoring companies like DataDog and New Relic (competitors of AppDynamics).

Cisco is attempting to get a piece of the action using advanced technologies, its networking hardware expertise and name recognition to help businesses that might be struggling to keep up with the changing tech landscape.