Compliance requirements, security threats, and the need for operational visibility require more and more monitoring of activities on the network. Vendors have responded by offering plug-and-play appliances to fill specific needs, yet nobody wants to manage a patchwork of one-off solutions, each with its own proprietary spin. “At some point, the customer is going to get tired of all this. They’ll want help to aggregate the monitoring,” says Denny Miu, CEO of Gigamon.
Miu is betting that the time is now. Gigamon’s GigaVue-MP data-access switch is not a monitoring tool. Instead, it manages the traffic to the monitoring tools, whether deployed as appliances or as applications. This not only allows IT to manage monitoring resources flexibly, it also helps prevent network bottlenecks caused when a series of traditionally placed monitors slows down traffic to inspect it.
The switch replicates network traffic from multiple 1Gbps and 10Gbps data monitors, such as taps and Cisco switched port analyzers, and then directs the replica to your application monitors, sniffers, HTTP analyzers, intrusion detection systems, and so forth. This allows you to manage the monitoring of your enterprise resources in new, coordinated ways.
For example, you could direct replicated traffic from multiple systems to one monitor, reducing the number of monitors needed. Or you could multiplex traffic to several monitors simultaneously, to allow parallel analysis for competing monitoring requirements. The use of the data-access switch also allows you to add and change monitors without touching the production network, limiting changes to the subnet that GigaVue-MP is on. Another option is to use the switch to balance monitoring loads across multiple appliances, so you get rid of bottlenecks in one subnet’s monitor that occur even as another subnet’s monitor has excess capacity.
“People talk a lot about virtualization,” Miu says. “In a way, we’re doing that for monitoring.” Whether you call it abstraction, decoupling, or virtualization, the result is the same: Monitoring systems are no longer tied to a specific network slice, so IT can manage them flexibly and systemically.
The proliferation of appliances threatens to turn the network into a track-and-field event, with hurdles everywhere. Gigamon has created a useful technology to prevent that challenge from killing performance, providing a centralized way to manage all those new devices effectively.
Click for larger view.