TIME TO RETHINK PERFORMANCE MONITORING

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1 TIME TO RETHINK PERFORMANCE MONITORING New requirements for application awareness and support for unified communications are challenging performance monitoring appliance vendors to reconsider their approach. Flexibility and scalability are key requirements. At the same time, new opportunities can be realized by expanding monitoring capabilities to include new usage scenarios.

2 The challenge for OEM vendors is to rethink the design of appliances that will allow them to be more open to including or cooperating with functions that are not normally associated with performance monitoring Disclaimer: This document is intended for informational purposes only. Any information herein is believed to be reliable. However, Napatech assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Napatech reserves the right to change the document and the products described without notice. Napatech and the authors disclaim any and all liabilities. Napatech is a trademark used under license by Napatech A/S. All other logos, trademarks and service marks are the property of the respective third parties. Copyright Napatech A/S All rights reserved.

3 TIME TO RETHINK PERFORMANCE MONITORING Performance monitoring is changing. In fact, it has been gradually changing for some time. Leading vendors have anticipated this change and reacted in time. Others will soon have to rethink how they approach performance monitoring. What s driving the change? Three significant drivers are playing a part: The need for application awareness The emergence of unified communications The expansion of monitoring into new areas Understanding the impact of these drivers is the first step in rethinking how performance monitoring appliances are designed. A new mindset and vision is required that focuses on what is important for the end user and where rationalization needs to occur. In the following we will take a closer look at the drivers affecting change and what OEM vendors need to consider when designing performance monitoring appliances. DESIGNING FOR APPLICATION AWARENESS Performance monitoring is essentially a troubleshooting tool. While it is possible to use performance monitoring to proactively identify network issues, most end users value performance monitoring as a means towards rapidly identifying root cause issues. In the past, a network focus was sufficient as most applications adhered to well-known TCP port designations and could thus be recognized and managed. However, with the proliferation of the Internet and web-based applications as well as thick-client applications running on corporate Wide Area Networks (WANs), network information is no longer enough. End users are now more concerned with which applications are being used and how much resources they are consuming. Indeed for some enterprises, applications are now an integral part of the business process, so understanding how applications are performing is business critical. The challenge for OEM vendors focused on network performance monitoring is how to build application awareness into their products while at the same time assuring throughput performance in the face of growing data loads and network speeds. DESIGNING FOR UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS Not so long ago, corporate IP network bandwidth was almost exclusively consumed by and web browsing. Today, trends such as cloud computing, Bring-Your-Own-Device and social networking are placing strains on corporate networks. In addition, Voice over IP and video teleconferencing are key corporate initiatives that require high quality of service. It is in this unified communications context that performance monitoring now needs to operate. It provides a clear opportunity for OEM vendors to provide significant value to corporate enterprises helping them to better understand performance issues and network planning to support individual employee and corporate goals. The challenge for OEM vendors is building the capabilities into their products to not only support these various unified communications components, but also provide the metrics that provide meaningful correlations between application performance and network performance. DN-0645 Rev. 6 3

4 It provides a clear opportunity for OEM vendors to provide significant value to corporate enterprises DESIGNING FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES One of the major concerns of enterprises is appliance spread. Appliances are necessary to ensure that all traffic can be captured and analyzed at high speed with zero packet loss under all load conditions. Nevertheless, there are a plethora of appliance solutions addressing various concerns, such as network security, transaction monitoring, lawful intercept and policy enforcement, to name a few. On the one hand, this can be a threat to appliance vendors who might face resistance in introducing yet another box into the network, even if it is passive. On the other hand, it is an opportunity to consolidate various functions into a common physical platform making your appliance more valuable. Already today, appliance probes that are deployed for performance monitoring in networks are also used to provide data to other tools focused on security, surveillance or network optimization. The challenge for OEM vendors is to rethink the design of appliances that will allow them to be more open to including or cooperating with functions that are not normally associated with performance monitoring. RETHINKING APPLIANCE DESIGN Since performance monitoring is traditionally focused on the network, it is natural to consider competence in network hardware and software as being core to success. However, with the increased need for application awareness and unified communications support, the core competence focus needs to shift into understanding applications and transactions and how they relate to the network. Decoupling the network from the application layer helps to realize this focus, while at the same time opening appliances to opportunities to support new functions not normally associated with the appliances. By decoupling, we mean a rethink of what is performed in hardware and what is performed in application software with more network functions off-loaded to hardware allowing application software to focus on application intelligence. Intelligent network adapters, such as Napatech accelerators, can identify well-known applications in hardware at linespeed by examining layer 1 to layer 4 header information. In addition, this information can be used to identify and distribute flows to up to 32 server CPU cores allowing massive parallel processing of data. All of this is provided with low CPU utilization. With efficient use of these features, appliance designers can ensure as much processing power and memory resources as possible can be brought to bear on identifying applications that require memory intensive packet payload processing. BUILDING IN FLEXIBILITY AND SCALABILITY With the introduction of 40 Gbps Ethernet, we now have a broad range of network speeds to support. However, since the end user is focused on application performance, there is an expectation that performance monitors will provide the same features and support no matter the line-rate. Decoupling application intelligence from network line-speed is thus essential. 4

5 Napatech accelerators for network management and security applications provide the same features and support from 1G to 10G to 40G accessed via a single Application Programming Interface (API). This enables appliance designers to develop and test application software once, safe in the knowledge that it will perform in the same way no matter the hardware configuration. Napatech provides the unique capability to merge traffic from multiple ports on multiple accelerators into a single analysis stream thus completely abstracting the hardware configuration from the application software programmer. No matter the number or type of ports configured, the programmer will only see one virtual accelerator with many ports. In addition, Napatech provides extensive statistics for each port that can provide essential information for deep-dive analysis of root-cause issues. Transfer of statistics from multiple ports is time synchronized to allow accurate correlation with time-stamped packet data. OPENING THE DESIGN FOR NEW OPPORTUNITIES By decoupling network and application data processing and building in flexibility and scalability into the design, appliance designers now have a powerful, high-speed platform capable of capturing data with zero packet loss at speeds up to 40 Gbps. The analysis stream provided by the hardware platform can support multiple applications, not just performance monitoring. Napatech provides the powerful capability to share captured data between multiple applications without the need for costly replication. Multiple applications running on multiple cores can be executed on the same physical server with Napatech software ensuring that each application can access the same data stream as it is captured. This transforms the performance monitor into a universal appliance for any application requiring a reliable packet capture data stream. With this capability, it is possible to incorporate more functions in the same physical server increasing the value of the appliance. 1 port 40 Gbps, NT40E2-1 4 port 10 Gbps, NT40E3-4-PTP 2 port 10 Gbps, NT20E2-PTP 4 port 1 Gbps, NT4E2-4-PTP 5

6 DISCOVER THE POWER OF NAPATECH Napatech accelerators are designed to handle the maximum theoretical throughput of data for a given port speed. Napatech offers a range of accelerators supporting speeds from 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps. A single, common Application Programming Interface (API) allows application software to be developed once and used with a broad range of Napatech accelerators. This allows combinations of different accelerators with different port speeds to be installed in the same server. Additional features include: Napatech accelerators can identify, filter and distribute flows to up to 32 CPU cores Data merging functionality allows flows from different ports on different accelerators to be merged for analysis Data sharing functionality allows multiple applications to access the same data at the same time All of this can be performed with very low server CPU load CHOOSE THE MARKET LEADER Napatech is the market leading provider of accelerators for network management and security applications. Napatech provides global sales and support from local offices in all major continents, which is included in the price of the accelerator. This means that our highly experienced support resources are available for design and integration support, as well as field support without extra charge. Napatech accelerators are manufactured to the highest standards by outsourced manufacturers in Switzerland and the USA supporting all major certifications including NEBS for telecom applications. COMPANY PROFILE Napatech is the world leader in accelerating network management and security applications. As data volume and complexity grow, the performance of these applications needs to stay ahead of the speed of networks in order to do their jobs. We make this possible, for even the most demanding financial, telecom, corporate and government networks. Now and in the future, we enable our customers applications to run faster than the networks they need to manage and protect. Napatech. FASTER THAN THE FUTURE 6

7 EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA Napatech A/S Copenhagen, Denmark Tel NORTH AMERICA Napatech Inc. Boston, Massachusetts Mountain View, California Washington D.C. Tel SOUTH AMERICA Napatech São Paulo, Brazil Tel APAC Napatech Japan K.K. Tokyo, Japan Tel Napatech Korea Seoul, South Korea Tel

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