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Cisco’s AppDynamics aims to create Central Nervous System for IT starting with a Cognition Engine

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Cisco’s AppDynamics outlined a vision to create what it calls a Central Nervous System of IT. It’s designed to automate applications, infrastructure, and network as well as integrate artificial intelligence with “AIOps.” The first volley of this multi-year effort is AppDynamics’ Cognition Engine. 

The vision of a Central Nervous System of IT will take years, according to AppDynamics CEO David Wadhwani. “It’s not a product but a vision we’re working toward,” he said. The primary pillar for this nervous system theme is AppDynamics Cognition Engine. “The Cognition Engine is part of AppDynamics to take us from visibility to visibility and the ability to remediate,” he said.

The Cognition Engine can trigger automated remediation such as opening tickets and sending messages to spurring third-party systems into action.  

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In a nutshell, the Cognition Engine is the next phase of AppDynamics led by machine learning. The Cognition Engine combines AppDynamics business transaction data model with application performance diagnostics as well as root cause analysis.  The Cognition Engine is the combination of AppDynamics Business Transaction platform and the technology from Perspica, which was acquired by Cisco in 2017.  

Here are a few screenshots of the Cognition Engine via AppDynamics.

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AppDynamics was acquired by Cisco two years ago for $3.7 billion. The purchase gave Cisco’s software efforts a boost as well as a way to capture analytics spending. AppDynamics melded analytics and monitoring since its software could monitor metrics flowing through applications.  The next phase of AppDynamics has to revolve around automation and machine learning because enterprises have so many moving parts. 

Wadhwani said:

AppDynamics is now 10 years old. We started on application performance monitoring and the depth of the visibility we provide. In the 2 years since the acquisition, we’ve added support for Kubernetes, Couchbase, Pivotal, network visibility and IoT. While we were focused a lot of our enterprise customers continued to remind us that they have a legacy investment and infrastructure to support. 

The Central Nervous System for IT is a vision that reflects the integration of multiple clouds, the Internet of Things, services, APIs, and agile development. Toss in the AIOps nomenclature and the vision reflects how artificial intelligence and agile development (DevOps and increasingly DevSecOps) will meld, too.

The core pitch from Cisco and AppDynamics is that visibility and the central nervous system model can provide visibility, insights, and automation.

Cisco and AppDynamics plan to make the Central Nervous System for IT an open platform that will work with third-party systems to absorb data, analyze it, and continually optimize.

Wadhwani, also outlined a few more pillars for the Central Nervous System for IT:

Visibility across applications, infrastructure and network. This pillar is largely provided in various forms across Cisco and AppDynamics today. AppDynamics can already provide visibility into SAP and IBM environments as well as cloud and IoT.

AppDynamics is adding a serverless agent for AWS Lambda to add monitoring like any other application. AppDynamics will also integrate with Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure in a move that highlights collaboration between the application and networking teams.

Insights to save time on troubleshooting to focus on business metrics and better experiences. Think of the insights pillar as a giant data ingestion effort that uses machine learning for analysis. Parts of this pillar exist within Cisco and AppDynamics today.

Action and automation to automate problem solving and optimize via the Cognition Engine.


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Analysis

Of those new products by AppDynamics, the Cognition Engine may have the most impact.The return on investment pitch for the Cognition Engine is that it’ll evolve and evaluate data in real time via streaming data and then detect anomalies as well as automate root cause analysis.

The integration with AWS Lambda highlights the rise of serverless computing as well as the heft of AWS.  AppDynamics is giving AWS Lambda first-class citizen status with more conventional infrastructure and applications. AppDynamics Serverless Agent for AWS Lambda is available as a beta trial. What serverless architecture really means, and where servers enter the picture

And the effort to integrate with AppDynamics with Cisco’s ACI architecture is overdue. Yes integration takes time, but Cisco’s ACI is a big focus for the networking giant and I would have thought it would have happened sooner. 

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Rivian EV configurator opens to all – R1S and R1T Launch Edition sold out

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Rivian has thrown open access to its online configurator, meaning you no longer need to have a reservation for the R1T or R1S in order to customize your perfect electric truck. Set to begin manufacturing and deliveries next year, the two EVs share the same platform – the R1T having a pickup body, while the R1S is a full-size SUV – though are likely to appeal to different markets.

We saw the first results of the configurator last week, when Rivian granted access to those who had paid the $1,000 deposit to stake a place in line. In the process it confirmed some of the options that buyers will be able to pick from, including multiple paint finishes, different interior trims, and some of the more unusual accessories.

The R1T, for example, can be equipped with a slide-out mini kitchen for camping. That has a sink – with a water tank and pump that’s powered by the trunk’s own battery – along with an induction stove for cooking. Rivian even has a custom set of prep and cookware from Snow Peak to go with it.

Arguably more useful every day, meanwhile, is the Max Pack battery. Offered only on the R1T pickup, it’s not inexpensive at $10,000, but it boosts the estimated range from the standard 300+ miles to 400+ miles. Final EPA-certified range is unlikely to be confirmed until next year, closer to the R1T’s summer release.

While it’s nice to be able to tinker with the configurator, there’s also some bad news if you were hoping for a R1S or R1T Launch Edition. Reservations for that special trim are now full, Rivian has confirmed, closing the order books on the very first examples of the two EVs. Priced at $75,000 for the pickup, and $77,500 for the SUV, the Launch Edition is prety much a maxed-out example of each, and offers exclusive options like Launch Green paintwork.

It means that, if you didn’t get your order in already, you’ve some wait ahead of you. The two mainstream trims for both EVs – the entry-level Explore and the better-equipped Adventure – are both available to order, but deliveries aren’t expected to begin until January 2022.

Before then, we may have heard more about some of Rivian’s upcoming competition. Ford’s all-electric F-150 is due in the next couple of years, the first time the bestselling pickup will be offered in a fully-electric form. Chevrolet, meanwhile, has an electric pickup in the works too, GM confirmed last week, tapping the automaker’s new Ultium platform.

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NHTSA: GM must recall 6m pickups and SUVs over Takata airbag danger

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GM will be forced to recall almost 6 million vehicles to repair potentially dangerous Takata airbags, after losing a years-long battle with the NHTSA to avoid the hugely expensive repairs. The automaker had argued that the recall – which covers some of its most popular SUVs and pickups – was unnecessary, given it had undertaken third-party tests to show that the airbag inflaters were not prone to dangerous or abnormal explosions.

The Takata airbag saga has become the most significant vehicle recall incident in the US, and forced the most manufacturer recalls. Commonly used across multiple brands, the inflators are designed to trigger in a crash and rapidly inflate the airbags themselves to support vehicle occupants.

However the chemicals inside the flawed inflators can degrade over time, particularly in conditions of high heat or high humidity. That in turn can cause an increase in force beyond the intended specifications, shattering the metal canister and releasing a spray of dangerous shrapnel as a result. There have been 27 deaths blamed on the inflators worldwide, 18 of which have been in the US, and hundreds of injuries.

GM’s argument was that the vehicles – based on the GMT900 platform from brands like Chevrolet, Cadillac, and GMC, and including the Avalanche, Escalade, Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, Sierra 1500, Sierra 2500/3500, Silverado 1500, Silverado 2500/3500, Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, and Yukon XL – actually used different inflator designs, integrated in different ways. It undertook third-party testing by Northrop Grumman’s OATK, among others, in the hope of demonstrating to the NHTSA that, unlike with other manufacturers, a full recall wasn’t necessary.

Now, after a four year back-and-forth between automaker and agency, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has denied GM’s request. “After reviewing GM’s consolidated petition, supporting materials, and public comments,” the agency said today, “NHTSA has concluded that GM has not met its burden of establishing that the defect is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety, and denies the petition.”

The decision will impact approximately 5.9 million vehicles, from model years 2007 through to 2014. Estimates peg the total cost to GM at $1.2 billion.

Despite GM’s validation of its changes to the Takata design and implementation, the NHTSA deemed the risk still too high. “Given the severity of the consequence of propellant degradation in these air bag inflators – the rupture of the inflator and metal shrapnel sprayed at vehicle occupants – a finding of inconsequentiality to safety demands extraordinarily robust and persuasive evidence,” Jeffrey M. Giuseppe, Associate Administrator for Enforcement at the agency, wrote. “What GM presents here, while valuable and informative in certain respects, suffers from far too many shortcomings, both when the evidence is assessed individually and in its totality, to demonstrate that the defect in GMT900 inflators is not important or can otherwise be ignored as a matter of safety.”

The automaker now has 30 days to submit a proposed schedule of how it plans to notify owners of the affected vehicles, and how it will launch and operate the recall process.

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2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E official EPA range confirmed

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Ford has final EPA range figures for its upcoming 2021 Mustang Mach-E, and there’s good news for those waiting for the imminent all-electric crossover. While the company had estimated range numbers for the new EV back when it unveiled it in late 2019, they’ve only been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency today. Turns out, Ford’s predictions were almost exactly on the dot.

The automaker had been targeting 230 miles for the Mustang Mach-E standard range RWD configuration, and 300 miles for the extended range RWD version. The EPA says that’s the case, as is it the 270 mile rating of the Mustang Mach-E extended range eAWD car.

The Mustang Mach-E standard range eAWD actually did ever so slightly better in its official rating. Ford had promised 210 miles; the EPA ranks it at 211 miles. Final testing for the Mustang Mach-E California Route 1 version of the electric crossover is still underway, with that configuration estimated at 300 miles.

It’s a note of good news in the final few weeks before Mustang Mach-E cars actually arrive with preorder customers. Ford says that customer deliveries should start in December 2020, though high-end versions of the EV – like the Mustang Mach-E GT – aren’t expected until 2021.

Though the range figures aren’t exactly the largest in the category, Ford’s argument has been that there’s more to driver satisfaction than just a big number. For a start, there’s ease of recharging. With up to 150 kW charging support (or 110 kW on the entry-level Select trim), assuming you can find a DC fast charger you should be able to add 52-61 miles of range in 10 minutes, depending on drivetrain configuration. Using the FordPass Charging Network, effectively an umbrella access several different third-party networks like Electrify America, actually finding those stations should be more straightforward too.

The Mustang Mach-E will be one of the few electric vehicles in the US to support Plug&Charge, too. That means, at a compatible charger such as those offered by Electrify America, drivers won’t even need to scan a card to begin the charging session. Instead, that digital handshaking – including authenticating the driver’s account – will all be done between the EV and the charger.

Ford’s other push has been around a more accurate range estimate for the dashboard. Range anxiety, after all, isn’t just about total miles of driving left, but uncertainty about whether the number displayed is actually accurate. Ford plans to not only use data from the individual EV itself, but crowdsource better estimates between cars.

The first iteration of Ford Intelligent Range will take into account things like past driver behavior and forecasted weather as it calculates how much driving you’ll be able to do before a recharge. Later, though, Ford plans to light up range data sharing, which will use the EV’s embedded modem to give anonymized feedback of how battery use was affected by things like speed, terrain, and climate conditions. That way, if your journey is going to take you on a new route where other Mustang Mach-E drivers have used more energy than might be expected for one reason or another, the car will proactively take that into account.

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