Selecting a Good Network Packet Broker - Top 10 Technology Criteria
October 01, 2012
For those of you who have been keeping tabs along with me of the emerging Network Packet Broker (NPB) sector, you hopefully now are well versed in what NPBs are, what they do and why major research firms such as Gartner believe they need to be part of your future so you get the most value out of all your network risk management tools.
I wanted to share with you a few important insights from my recently concluded webinar with Gina Fallon director of Solutions Education and Standards, VSS Monitoring titled, “Network Packet Brokers: A strategic approach for optimizing network & security monitoring infrastructure and ROI.”
I believe you will find Gina’s discussion of the need for NPBs for mesh staking and deep packet inspection (DPI) filtering incredibly helpful. The discussion of the power of an NPB appliance equipped network to do real-time redirection in the case of an incident was also extremely illuminating. However, where attention should be paid is in the things you should be thinking about if you are considering NPB capabilities to better protect your network and gain maximum value from the major investments you have made in doing so over the years, the reason d’être for NPBs.
I have included this not because it is one vendor’s view, but because the criteria identified are all important in your evaluation of any NPB solution. I also wanted to share with you some feedback from the audience. When asked about a wish list of capabilities they would like from their network optimization and performance monitoring tools environment they signified strong interest in the following:
- 100 percent fail-safe
- Send only data of interest
- Keep your existing 1G tools
- Capture data once, allow use by many tools
- Correlate data as needed
- Achieve truly centralized monitoring
While the above was not in a ranked order the pull outs that struck me were being fail-safe, centralized monitoring so that IT asset administrators can have a complete view of what is going on at all times, and the flexibility of being able to use what you already have but only extract the information you need when and how you need it.
In an era where real-time in many ways may be too slow, having the ability to capture data and use powerful analytics to be not just reactive but proactive in terms of network risk management is key. As mentioned in previous articles, if you don’t know about NPBs and emerging criticality what network architecture transformations and increased risks are saying is now is the time to be evaluating what to do, and the list of criteria above is a great place to start as you consider what is right for your organization going forward.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein