Time to ReThink Performance Monitoring
"Performance monitoring is becoming more complex, so it stands to reason that performance monitoring appliance designs need to become more sophisticated", stated Henrik Brill Jensen, CEO, Napatech. "We have seen a transition from network performance monitoring to application performance monitoring requiring appliances to become more application aware. In particular, more Internet application aware, as there are a multitude of critical services now being transported over HTTP. This is not just social media, but includes demanding services such as voice-over-IP and streaming videoconferencing, which are valuable services for businesses."
With over 100 OEM vendor customers, Napatech is on the front-line of addressing these challenges with products that help appliance vendors to effectively design high performance appliances using standard off-the-shelf server hardware.
"The latest server chips provide tremendous processing power and fast memory access", continued Jensen. "The key for appliance vendors is understanding how to harness this power to provide high-performance, scalable appliances that are application aware at a range of speeds."
Napatech suggests that one of the ways of achieving this is to de-couple the network from the application and rethink what is performed in hardware and software.
"At the network layers, from layer 1 to layer 4, it is possible to deterministically identify well-known services at line-speed even up to 40 Gbps", explained Jensen. "Identifying layer 7 applications running over HTTP requires more processing power and memory, which is available in abundance in the server. It therefore makes sense to use this power to identify layer 7 applications in software. There are several vendors of Deep Packet Inspection software that can help appliance vendors develop this capability and recent demonstrations have shown that 20 Gbps throughput is achievable using this approach."
With such an approach, OEM appliance vendors also open the opportunity to address other applications and support other management systems that require the same kind of analysis.
"Appliance spread is a concern in data centers", added Jensen. "We are already seeing existing probes being used as data collectors for other applications. By building-in flexibility and openness in the appliance design, OEM vendors can broaden the scope of what can be supported even on the same physical server providing more value to end-users."
Napatech has addressed these issues with several OEM customers at speeds from 1G to 40G. The advantage of Napatech products is that a single performance monitoring application development based on the Napatech common API supports all Napatech adapter products. This allows several product variants to be offered. Multiple Napatech adapters of different speed grades can be installed in the same server. The data from multiple adapters can be merged into a single analysis stream that can be delivered to one or several analysis applications using Napatech data sharing functionality.
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Napatech A/S (HQ)
Napatech is the leading OEM supplier of 40 GbE, 10 GbE and 1 GbE intelligent adapters for real-time network analysis with over 100,000 Ethernet ports deployed. Napatech network adapters provide real-time packet capture and transmission with full line-rate throughput and zero packet loss no matter the packet size. Intelligent features enable off-load of data traffic processing and packet analysis normally performed in the CPU. This results in more processing power for the network monitoring, analysis, management, test, measurement, security or optimization application being supported. Napatech has sales, marketing and R&D offices in Mountain View (CA), Andover (MA), Washington D.C., Tokyo (Japan), Seoul (South Korea), Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Copenhagen (Denmark).