Dario David, Product Manager at Ixia Network Visibility Solutions (

http://www.ixiacom.com/solutions/network_visibility/index.php), says:

Today’s enterprises are seeing a fundamental shift in the way they look at their data networks. For many companies, the network is no longer a cost center – it’s a revenue generator.

This is certainly true for service providers. As one mobile carrier’s slogan goes, “it’s the network” that is the center of business in this industry. Network quality equals customer experience and service, business performance, and ultimately, bottom-line value.

In recent years, we’ve witnessed companies of many other types come to the same conclusion. Large and midsized enterprises in various fields have recognized the growing importance of their networks as a vital part of daily business operations and revenue generation, indirectly if not directly. For example, the network needs to be in top form in order to facilitate the use of data analytics, video, VoIP and employee mobile devices – all important parts of business today.    

We’ve moved beyond the idea that network performance is simply an “IT problem.” When it’s down, it’s a problem for the whole organization. High-performance companies depend on high-performance data networks, and to ensure these networks are providing consistent value and performance, end-to-end visibility is essential.  

Growing complexity drives increased monitoring

At the same time network performance has become more critical, it has also become more complex to deliver. Faster network speeds, security threats, compliance requirements, and business critical networked applications have driven the need to continuously monitor for performance and security issues.  A wide array of packet based analysis and security tools are now widely used to meet this goal. 

In many networks, so many packet-based analysis tools are needed that IT professionals literally run out of network SPAN ports and TAPs to connect the tools. And if they can all be connected, filtering network traffic to even just a couple of these tools – so each one is not overloaded or underutilized – can require hundreds of lines of computer code.

Once again, this is happening across all types of business but this problem is most apparent in the service provider industry, particularly with mobile carriers. Competitors are racing to migrate their mobile networks to next-generation 4G LTE technology, which promises a substantially improved mobile data experience, advanced applications and services, and higher profitability. Yet with such a high-density, complex network, the number of tools, probes, interfaces, processes, functions and servers involved make monitoring impractical.

End-to-end visibility

End-to-end visibility into the packet network is critical. Network managers need to monitor the packet network to verify its design, protect it, validate its performance and provide ongoing quality of service assurance and support in production. In the past few years, a new type of technology has emerged to solve this challenge.  

This technology, a network monitoring switch, sits between the live network and monitoring tools to ensure each tool has end-to-end network visibility. In other words, it gets each tool exactly the data it needs to do its job. It allows multiple tools to share access to any network data and can balance loads among multiple tools.

Benefits of this technology include:

·         High-density, high-bandwidth aggregation – Consolidate monitoring access to the packet network and gain end-to-end visibility.

·         Carrier-grade robustness – Deliver uninterrupted access to network traffic for monitoring tools in demanding telecommunication and other high density data network environments.

·         Visibility into tunneled traffic – Narrow down the GTP and MPLS traffic to monitoring tools based on attributes of the tunneled traffic while preserving the original encapsulation.

Monitoring high-performance networks with limited access points is as critical as it is challenging. The answer lies in a solution that intelligently simplifies this complexity, and provides end-to-end network visibility.