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Cisco buffs Tetration for application protection

Builds out its subscription playbook

By Simon Sharwood

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Cisco has updated its Tetration network monitoring software to tackle application security and multi-vendor policy enforcement.

Tetration's earlier iterations focussed on giving users visibility of network operations and performance in the data centre, while Cisco's Stealthwatch did the same for campus networks.

The company thinks those tools have network security nailed, and so has turned its attention to securing applications by letting Tetration inspect processes and set policies across the network.

The new version of Tetration can therefore peer into workloads and check that processes are only sending traffic to destinations approved by policy. The software will also examine all running processes, assess whether they're expected by policy or something unexpected.

In the latter case, Tetration can isolate an unexpected process and prevent it from reaching the network or other defensive actions. The company's calling this a kind of micro-segmentation for workloads.

The model informing policy-based decisions can update every minute, so if a new nasty is detected policy-driven isolation can be enforced before an attack gets out of hand.

As ever, Cisco is being rather ambitious because it is pitching Tetration as the tool with which to push policy to load balancers or firewalls, regardless of who made them. That's partly a recognition that organisations have diverse fleets of networking and security kit and party an attempt to demonstrate that the control plane is as valuable as a well-built firewall.

This all works across all manner of environments - VMs, bare metal, cloud or containers - further showing Cisco's ability to sit on top of whatever you run.

Like many other players, Cisco has also come to realise that organisations are going to use multiple clouds. Tetration's new tricks are therefore aimed at giving it a shot at managing all the resources that customers deploy, wherever they are deployed.

Cisco is not alone in hoping to provide that cross-cloud management layer. VMware is having a crack, as are upstarts like RightScale and even carriers.

Cisco's advantage is that these new capabilities will be available to existing Tetration users, without additional cost. See why we call the company The Borg? ®

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