Big Switch Networks announced a new iteration of its Big Tap Monitoring Fabric today. Version 4.5 is a next-generation network packet broker (NPB) that will deliver in-line software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities, policy based service chaining, and heightened network traffic visibility.
An NPB is typically a rack-mounted device that collects network traffic, then manipulates or copies that traffic to create a more efficient use of network security and performance tools. In short, NPBs make existing security and performance tools work better, allowing users to reap higher benefits of their investments and extend the life of these tools.
Doug Murray, CEO of Big Switch Networks, says Big Tap 4.5 is all about security. With new visibility for security features, including DNS and DHCP tracking, pervasive security monitoring is the major scope of the update.
Big Switch claims 4.5 will have leg up on legacy NPBs, as they don’t offer service node chaining, scale-out multi-tier fabrics, in-built packet capture, or analytics tracking — all features that Big Tap boasts. sFlow generation, another new addition to Big Tap 4.5, seeks out interesting traffic and offers a clear picture of network activity.
The new version will include other monitoring and visibility enhancements like flow-level granularity, expanded analytics, and out-of-band deployment. Big Tap’s commitment to SDN software powering Ethernet switches gives users the ability to fend off cyber threats in a comprehensive way, all while maintaining monitoring infrastructure for programmability and scale.
Furthermore, Big Tap’s new version also offers interoperability with several partners to produce joint products and services, including A10 Networks, Blue Coat, Cyphort, ExtraHop, and InMon (A10 and Cyphort shouldn’t come as a surprise; Big Switch announced partnerships with both in the last couple of months). The support includes projects like real-time visibility, pervasive threat detection, analysis of SSL encrypted in-line traffic, and security tool management, to name a few.
Expect more news on the Big Tap front during the second part of this year. Murray hinted that Big Tap 5.0 will be announced later in 2015.