It Pays to Know your Network

By: Avi Freedman

The world today runs on networks, so it pays to know your network; but that knowledge can only come through a new scale of network visibility.

In just over two decades since the dawn of the World Wide Web, we have come to depend almost completely on high-speed networks for all aspects of modern life, including business, education, news, politics, entertainment, shopping and socializing.

Due to such pervasive utilization, network operators are finding that they need better ways to monitor performance and detect incoming attacks. There is also a growing requirement to store more long-term data for detailed forensics and analysis.

Unfortunately, current network management systems have been unable to keep pace with the rapid rate of traffic growth. Most network management tools were built on outdated architectures that lack the scope and capacity to cope with the sheer volume of network data. In turn, network operators have been hampered by lack of detailed insights and are unable to provide timely answers to critical questions.

It’s clear that traffic flows will only grow exponentially as streaming multi-media, virtual reality and augmented reality more widespread. And as network utilization grows, scalability of visibility will become much more critical. Recognizing that network visibility is, in fact, a big data problem, the industry needs a management solution that’s based on scale-out, open, multi-tenant architecture rather than the closed and highly limited, pre-cloud architectures of yesterday. And in order to work properly, such a visibility platform must be optimized for network data that is unified, open and comprehensive.

Protecting Security and Availability

Countless types of networked activities will continue to spread on smartphones, tablets, personal computers and servers in the years ahead. There is also the rapidly growing Internet of Things, which will create complex new layers of network connectivity to everyday objects, and massive new volumes of data.

In such an environment, the problem of network visibility becomes more multifaceted and complex. The growth of networks brings ever-greater threats to network security and availability. Yet network management systems have languished since the 1990s, when the standards for Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) were first introduced. Software defined networking has emerged since then, but SDN has not yet been rolled out in any substantial way to mainstream infrastructures.


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