Laying The Groundwork For 10GbE Networks

As the networking world moves to 10GbE networks, it's not just speed that matters.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Apr 25, 2008
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The networking industry is in a period of transition now as 10GbE networks are becoming increasingly popular as a way to deliver bandwidth for demanding loads.

Network analysis vendors, however, argue that raw bandwidth alone isn't enough to solve the problem of modern networking bottlenecks. Rather, they argue that networking analysis technology in the 10GbE era is more important than ever.

What it boils down to is analyzing network traffic at the packet level to ensure application performance. Without that level of understanding and analysis, vendors argue, the very survival of a company's network could be at risk and with the 10GbE, the stakes are even higher than ever.

"You need to have analysis with 10GbE links because of volume of conversations," Eileen Haggerty, director of product marketing at Netscout, told InternetNews.com. "So if there is degradation in a 10GbE link the potential impacts can be catastrophic for some enterprises."

For example, Haggerty noted that if a 10GbE link in a high volume trading environment had issues, there could well be direct financial impact.

Netscout is currently rolling out its latest network analysis technology called nGenius K2 to help network administrators understand what's going on in their networks.

The solution benefit from the integration of Network General's Sniffer technology, which Netscout acquired last year for $205 million.

Haggerty noted that the former Network General assets have now been fully integrated into Netscout's portfolio. She added that with nGenius K2 the goal is to go from simply dealing with incident management to offering performance management across a network.

Network analysis vendor WildPackets is also expanding its product lineup with its soon-to-be-released Watchpoint product. Watchpoint collects statistical data from multiple sources and aggregates it to get an enterprise wide view of a network from a single dashboard.

"We're really talking about distributed network forensics," Tony Barbagallo, vice president of marketing, explained to InternetNews.com. "Being able to sift through the packets in real time let's you do root cause analysis on any network problems and issue that may occur."

WildPackets is also rolling out set of 10GbE-capable solutions for network analysis, all driven by market demand.

"I don't see as much demand for 10GbE in the US but I see a lot in Europe," Barbagallo said. "We have a few customers running 10 gig networks today, so for us this is very high priority."

Fundamentally though, 10GbE connections themselves are not the issue. It's more about the traffic that 10GbE enables.

"As more and more companies truly do have networks that are their business, more than the speed of the network or data center consolidation, it's the revenue affecting and customer affecting applications that have driven them to us," Netscout's Haggerty said.

WildPackets Barbagallo noted that analysis enables enterprises to really dig into statistical data and show things like application performance metrics. Those metrics can help to identify the root cause of an issue, whether is the network that is slow or if the application itself is somehow to blame.

James Messer, director of technical marketing at Netscout, noted that his customers don't come asking for 10GbE solutions. Rather, they first ask about a specific application or deployment and then they mention that they'll be running it over 10GbE.

"The transport is secondary, what they want to do is be sure to understand the performance and availability of the critical business applications," Messer said. "That's where people are these days, the network is something that provides a service rather than just being a road that people are creating hoping that people will drive over it."

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

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