Open Network Featured Article

Ixia NVOS is Software-Only NPB

November 07, 2017

Data centers and other parts of the network are increasingly being powered by software-based functions that run over industry standard hardware and open networking switches. This movement to more software-centric solutions provides cloud and other service providers with more affordable and flexible solutions. In line with this trend, Ixia (News - Alert) recently introduced the Network Visibility Operating System.

This is a software version of the Keysight Business company’s network packet broker product. Ixia’s NVOS was designed to runs on open networking switches from companies like Edgecore Networks (News - Alert).

“A network packet broker is a device that provides a collection of monitoring tools with access to traffic from across the network,” Ixia Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Harris explained in a June 2016 blog. Good network packet brokers safely remove redundant data, have application intelligence and do filtering, leverage SSL decryption, and allow for data masking, he adds.

Network Critical in a 2014 article for WIRED called network packet brokers “the hottest sector of the network appliance market since the dot com explosion of the late 1990s.”

photo courtesy of BigStock

But, as the Ixia news above illustrates, network packet brokers no longer come only in the form of network appliances. As Gartner’s (News - Alert) 2016 Market Guide for Network Packet Brokers notes “the NPB market has grown and diversified, as architectures based on software-defined network provide insertion opportunities to new entrants.”

Gartner lists Apcon, Big Switch Networks, Brocade (which Extreme Networks (News - Alert) bought last week), Cisco, Datacom Systems, Gigamon, Interface Masters Technologies, Ixia, Network Critical, and VSS Monitoring (a business unit of NetScout) as among the key network packet brokers. And IHS (News - Alert) Market in a 2017 Network Monitoring Equipment Annual Market Report lists Gigamon, NetScout, Ixia, Apcon, and Viavi as market leaders in the monitoring equipment arena.

In an October 2016 blog another NPB broker company, Niagara Networks, writes that network packet brokers are important because they allow for efficient traffic filtering, secure removal of repetitive data, optimization of packets, the ability to minimize downtime, and effective load balancing.

Edited by Mandi Nowitz