1 Product Brief NetScout Expands ngenius Monitoring Switch Portfolio Date: January 2013 Author: Bob Laliberte, Senior Analyst and Perry Laberis, Senior Research Associate Abstract: NetScout has announced the ngenius 3900 series packet flow switch a high-density modular switching chassis optimized for 10 and 40 GbE and ngenius PFS Management software with unified management for largescale deployments. The new products expand upon NetScout s entry into the network visibility market with the ngenius 1500 series packet flow switch, and enable large enterprises and service providers to close the gap between network speeds and visibility tools. Overview NetScout has announced that it is dramatically expanding its network monitoring switch portfolio with new products resulting from its acquistion of ONPATH. The announcement, which immediately strengthens NetScout s position in the network monitoring switch market, highlighted: The ngenius 3900 series packet flow switches. Adding to its ngenius 1500 series packet flow switch, the ngenius 3900 series delivers what NetScout claims is the highest density data-center-class, modular switching chassis. The series includes a 1-, 3-, and 12-slot chassis capable of handling 11.5 Tbps of switching fabric. The chassis is capable of delivering up to 576 ports of 1/10 Gbps and 48 ports of 40 Gbps. The architecture enables it to scale to 100 GbE interfaces in the future. Each port has intelligent traffic conditioning features with sustained line rate performance for low latency, high performance, and resiliency for large enterprise and service provider (SP) environments. The ngenius PFS Management software. The ngenius PFS Management software provides unified management for the 3900 series switch to simplify and automate management of large-scale, highly distributed environments. From a technology and deployment perspective, the new software raises the bar. Its end-to-end management allows administrators to provision across all devices, provision port movement within chassis and across chassis, and set bandwidth definitions across chassis. This enables administrators to build, store, schedule, and execute configuration changes quicker as well as perform software updates across all switches. The ngenius 3900 series monitoring switch 1- and 3-slot chassis, the 1/10/40 GbE interface module, and the ngenius PFS management software are currently available. The 12-slot chassis is expected to ship in Q2 of this year. Analysis The announcement should help NetScout compete in the large-scale network monitoring switch market. ESG has observed numerous trends driving market need for visibility in and monitoring of complex networks, including: Data center consolidation. Data center consolidation is seated among the top five most important IT priorities over the next twelve months reported by respondents to ESG s 2013 IT Spending Intentions Survey. 1 In fact, 63% of enterprise organizations surveyed by ESG are in the process of consolidating or have already consolidated their data centers (many into multi-tenant data centers). 2 From a networking perspective, this equates to a multitude of devices, complex cabling, and large traffic loads. As organizations continue to consolidate data centers, they will need to upgrade their networks from 1 GbE to 10 and 40 GbE to accommodate these added workloads. This generates a mismatch between network speeds and monitoring tools ill-equipped to handle capacity. The ngenius 3900 and ngenius PFS Management software 1 Source: ESG Research Report, 2013 IT Spending Intentions Survey, January Source: ESG Research Report, Data Center Networking Trends, March 2012.
2 Product Brief: NetScout Expands ngenius Monitoring Switch Portfolio 2 aim to solve this challenge by providing data-center-class modular switching optimized for 10 and 40 GbE with unified management for large-scale or multi-location deployments. Port connectivity is reaching its limits. Up to this point, organizations have addressed growth in data center network scale and complexity by tactically deploying more tools. Though this may provide a short-term solution, Figure 1 shows that nearly half of the respondents to an ESG survey 3 on network infrastructure management believe that the required collection points for network monitoring and security-related activities has the potential to quickly saturate SPAN/mirror or tap ports. The ngenius 3900 is designed to aggregate traffic from multiple collection points and distribute it to the required monitoring tools. Each module in the ngenius 3900 can be configured for different port options and features wire-speed performance, regardless of configuration or intelligent services being applied. Moreover, NetScout claims the supervisor-less design maximizes slot availability. Figure 1. Issues with Data Collected via SPAN/Mirror Ports With respect to collecting data via SPAN/mirror ports or network taps/collectors, has your organization experienced any of the following issues? (Percent of respondents) Network monitoring/security requires too many collection points across the network 48% SPAN/mirror ports drop packets limiting network visibility 44% Not enough available SPAN/mirror ports for all of the network monitoring and security tools required Network monitoring/security tools cannot keep up with network bandwidth Network operations team cannot provision SPAN/mirror ports or network taps/collectors in a timely manner for other IT groups interested in consuming this data 38% 36% 40% None of the above 6% Don t know 2% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, Near-pervasive use of networking monitoring tools. As part of an ESG research survey, when asked whether their organizations used any of a number of different types of network monitoring/security tools, 86% of respondents reported using network performance monitoring, 9% said they plan to, and 4% expressed interest in doing so. Moreover, 72% of organizations believe that the number of network monitoring and security tools that collect data from their networks will increase over the next 36 months. For large organizations, these tools are required to monitor the activity of numerous hosts and networking devices (see Figure 2). 4 With the expansion of NetScout s portfolio, it should be primed to capitalize on this growing market. From a competitive standpoint, NetScout s ngenius 3900 delivers a solution optimized for 3 Source: ESG Research Brief, Will Intelligent Management Aggregation Networks (iman) Become Mainstream?, February Source: Ibid.
3 Product Brief: NetScout Expands ngenius Monitoring Switch Portfolio 3 10 and 40 GbE deployments, which, as first mover, should enable it to gain traction with large enterprises and Service Providers. Figure 2. Extent of Network Devices Monitored Regularly Approximately how many hosts, networking devices, applications, and network services does your organization monitor regularly (i.e., for network health, performance or security reasons)? (Percent of respondents, N=160) Greater than 5,000, 11% Between 2,501 and 5,000, 13% Less than 25, 2% Between 26 and 50, 5% Between 51 and 100, 12% Between 1,001 and 2,500, 9% Between 101 and 250, 18% Between 501 and 1,000, 14% Between 251 and 500, 18% To Do Source: Enterprise Strategy Group, Increased competition drives innovation. NetScout s commitment to the network visibility market will benefit end-users the most. The newly announced products provide viable alternatives to those offered by NetScout s competitors. This expands the options of end-users and enables them to better choose the solution and price point that fits their IT needs and budget It is clear from this announcement that NetScout recognizes the trends driving the growing market for network monitoring switches. NetScout has actively acquired technology to create a more compelling portfolio in this market. As a result, this new technology could help NetScout gain market share. However, in order to drive growth, NetScout must: Raise awareness for its new lineup. NetScout is, at its core, a performance monitoring vendor focused on unified service delivery management. Although the acquisition of Simera gave it a foothold in the network monitoring switch space, the solution was limited in its ability to scale. The acquisition of ONPATH enabled NetScout to provide network monitoring switches for larger-scale enterprises and SPs with complex network environments. In order to be recognized as a significant player in this space, NetScout must embark on a dedicated marketing campaign to raise market awareness for its new portfolio. Educate channel and sales partners. Although they may already be familiar with the ngenius 1500 series monitoring switch, NetScout will need to educate its channel and sales partners on the new capabilities of the ngenius 3900 series packet flow switch as well as ngenius PFS Management software. As part of differentiating itself, NetScout should clearly point out any advantages NetScout performance management solutions may have when combined with its monitoring switches.
4 The Bigger Truth Product Brief: NetScout Expands ngenius Monitoring Switch Portfolio 4 As a network monitoring vendor, NetScout has made a big splash in the network visibility space. Although the acquisition of Simera enabled NetScout to toe the waters with the ngenius 1500 series packet flow switch, the acquisition of ONPATH and the recent announcement of the ngenius 3900 switch series and ngenius PFS Management software make NetScout a viable player. This market s rapid growth is fueled by data center consolidation, network upgrades, and challenges around port connectivity, which are driving the end-user need for visibility that can scale with the network. With this announcement, NetScout is well positioned to take advantage of these drivers, but will face stiff competition from incumbents like Gigamon, Ixia, and VSS who will continue to innovate their products. To steal market share from these vendors, NetScout needs to amplify their messaging regarding their capabilities, the network monitoring switch space, and how their performance management solutions combined with this hardware can have a 1+1=3 effect. NetScout s penetration into the large-scale network visibility market will be particularly beneficial to end-users. By offering a competitive solution to the staple vendors in this space, NetScout can now offer large enterprises and services providers another option when it comes time to invest in new networking hardware and software. All trademark names are property of their respective companies. Information contained in this publication has been obtained by sources The Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) considers to be reliable but is not warranted by ESG. This publication may contain opinions of ESG, which are subject to change from time to time. This publication is copyrighted by The Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc. Any reproduction or redistribution of this publication, in whole or in part, whether in hard-copy
5 Product Brief: NetScout Expands ngenius Monitoring Switch Portfolio 5 format, electronically, or otherwise to persons not authorized to receive it, without the express consent of the Enterprise Strategy Group, Inc., is in violation of U.S. copyright law and will be subject to an action for civil damages and, if applicable, criminal prosecution. Should you have any questions, please contact ESG Client Relations at
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