Net Optics and Cisco NAM

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1 When Cisco decided to break its Network Analysis Module (NAM) out of the box and into a stand-alone appliance, they turned to Net Optics for monitoring access connectivity. Cisco NAM 2200 Series Cisco s NAM technology is a performance monitoring solution that enables network managers to understand and optimize network-based application delivery. Until now, NAM was only available integrated within Cisco routers and switches: the Cisco Branch Routers Series NAM for Cisco 2800 and 3800 Series Integrated Service Routers, and Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series and Cisco 7600 Series NAM for high-end switches and routers. But customers needed a solution for networks and parts of networks not using these particular machines so Cisco decided to extend the reach of NAM by harnessing its technology in a stand-alone appliance. Catalyst 6500 with NAM An engineering team was assigned to the project and the Cisco NAM 2200 series appliances were launched early in But the NAM appliances raised a new issue of monitoring access: A fully integrated NAM naturally has access to all of the traffic passing through the switch or router; but how could the NAM appliance obtain visibility of the traffic??

2 Traffic Access for s Cisco already has one solution for sending copies of traffic to external monitoring tools: Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN) ports on their switches. SPAN ports can be programmed to mirror any desired traffic flow from within the switch, so copies of traffic of interest can be sent to a monitoring tool. Cisco knew that SPAN ports would be a popular access method to use with the new NAM appliances. However, some customers required a different kind of monitoring access solution in certain circumstances. Some of their reasons included: Switches might not have spare ports available for SPAN For carriers and service providers, switch ports might be more profitably used for revenue generating services instead of SPAN Switches in some parts of the network might not support SPAN functionality Reconfiguring switches for SPAN might slow down NAM appliance deployment, because of the need to obtain authorization and a network administrator s time, and having to wait for a maintenance window SPAN ports might not have the capacity to provide 100 percent traffic visibility in a very busy switch No Span Ports Available?? Moving Beyond SPAN Ports To satisfy the need for an access solution that did not require SPAN ports, Cisco selected Tap technology from Net Optics. The test access ports (Taps) pioneered by Net Optics are hardware devices specifically designed to tap into a network link and provide a mirrored copy of the traffic to a monitoring tool. Because the Tap has no other job than to mirror the traffic, it never gets bottlenecked, no matter how busy the link

3 is. Taps always provide 100 percent visibility of all the traffic on the link. In fact, Taps even pass Layer 1 and Layer 2 errors, like packets with CRC errors, which may be critical for understanding certain types of network issues. SPAN ports are not capable of passing these packets. Customers also require that their network access solutions should not degrade network reliability, and Taps address this issue as well. Taps are fully passive devices they never affect link traffic, and even continue to pass traffic when Network Tap power fails. Furthermore, Taps for fiber optic links do not require any power at all, so they are completely reliable and an excellent contributor toward greening the data center. Cisco engineers evaluated Net Optics Taps for copper and fiber links, and found that they worked flawlessly with the new NAM appliances. As a result, Net Optics Taps are called out as a recommended access solution in Appendix B of the Cisco NAM 2200 and 2204 Appliance Installation and Configuration Guides. NAM Value Add of Net Optics Taps Using Net Optics Taps, Cisco customers can apply the powerful visibility and analysis capabilities of NAM appliances on any link in their network, from the edge, through the LAN, to the core of the data center itself. Whether measuring voice quality, tuning application performance, or validating QoS or WAN optimization planning assumptions, Net Optics Taps and Cisco NAM appliances provide a solution that is comprehensive, flexible, and reliable. Net Optics Tap technology offers additional capabilities that can further enhance the value of a Cisco NAM appliance investment. Aggregator Taps NAM appliances can monitor the traffic from multiple data links at once by using Net Optics Aggregator Taps. AggregatorTaps combine the traffic from up to 10 links (or SPAN ports) into a single data stream that can be sent to any NAM appliance. Besides simply aggregating traffic from disparate links, aggregation is also useful for collecting all the outputs of a load balancer, and for combining asymmetrical traffic in a meshed network environment. Port Aggregator Tap Forensic

4 Regeneration Taps NAM appliances can share traffic access with other tools and groups by using Net Optics Regeneration Taps. Regeneration Taps provide as many as eight copies of the same mirrored data stream. For example, the traffic being monitored by the NAM appliance can also go to a forensic recorder, an intrusion detection system, a compliance monitor, and a protocol analyzer, without any interference between the different devices. Regeneration Tap Analyzer Forensic IDS Matrix Switches NAM appliances can scan a set of different network links, or be connected to particular links under remote software control, using Net Optics Matrix Switches. These devices can Tap up to 16 links (or 32 SPAN ports) and direct mirrored copies of the traffic to one, two, three or four NAM appliances or other monitoring tools. Matrix Switch IDS Converter Taps A NAM 2200 series appliance has one of three types of interfaces: RJ45 (1 Gigabit copper), SFP (1 Gigabit fiber), or XFP (10 Gigabit fiber). But what if you want to monitor a link with a different type of media than your NAM appliance supports? Net Optics Media Converter Taps solve this problem by providing one type of interface on the network side and another type on the monitoring tool side. For example, you can tap a fiber link and send traffic to an RJ45 NAM appliance. Net Optics Taps even have data rate conversion capability, so you can tap a 10 Gigabit link and send it to an SFP NAM appliance, or monitor a 1 Gigabit link (or an aggregated set of up to ten 1 Gigabit links) with an XFP NAM appliance. Server

5 Converter Tap Copper Fiber Director To match the flexibility of your NAM appliance with a flexible data access solution, Net Optics offers the Director data monitoring switch. A single Director chassis in a 1U 19-inch rack-mount form-factor provides 24 1-Gigabit network ports, 10 1-Gigabit monitoring tool ports, and four 10-Gigabit ports that can be used for network or monitoring. Among these 38 ports, Director provides the ability to aggregate, regenerate, switch, and do media conversion. In addition, Director adds a filtering capability so that traffic can be shaped to send the monitoring tools only traffic of interest, enabling the tools to operate more efficiently. For example, if you are using your NAM appliance for voice quality monitoring, Director can filter the traffic so only VoIP packets go to the NAM appliance, freeing up a lot of NAM processing cycles that would otherwise be spent Director Data Monitoring Switch Analyzer 1 Analyzer 2 Forensic RMON 1 RMON 2 pre-filtering data. Conclusion Now that Cisco NAM technology has broken out of the box, its powerful and flexible analytic capabilities can be applied at any and every point in the network. But NAM appliances need access to all of the network traffic to do their job, and an access solution as flexible as the NAM appliance itself is required to maximize NAM ROI. Net Optics Tap devices provide NAM appliances with 100 percent traffic visibility,

6 while fully passive access preserves network reliability. Net Optics Tap technology can also add value to the NAM solution by providing aggregation, regeneration, switching, media conversion, and filtering capabilities. By deploying Net Optics Tap devices as a permanent part of the network infrastructure, NAM appliances and other monitoring tools gain anywhere, anytime access to network traffic for complete visibility and flexibility. For further information on Tap technology: Net Optics, Inc Betsy Ross Drive Santa Clara, CA (408) Disclaimer: Information contained herein is the sole and exclusive property of Net Optics Inc. The information within this document or item is confidential; it shall not be disclosed to a third party or used except for the purpose of the recipient providing a service to Net Optics Inc. or for the benefit of Net Optics Inc. Your retention, possession or use of this information constitutes your acceptance of these terms. Please note that the sender accepts no responsibility for viruses and it is your responsibility to scan attachments (if any).

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