Gigamon made its name by switching and aggregating traffic from network taps. Now the switch vendor wants to get into packet modification.
It’s an extension of the market that took Gigamon public. The company sells switches that connect network monitoring gear to the tools that can analyze the traffic patterns and associated data, but more and more companies are getting into that area, especially as network monitoring has become a well targeted application for software-defined networking (SDN).
“For us, it’s no longer about tap and aggregation. It’s about tools intelligence,” says Huy Nguyen, Gigamon’s senior director of product management.
The company has been augmenting its tools to modify packets — shrinking the amount of the data coming out of the network, or masking parts of it for compliance reasons. This can be helpful because the amount of data available (data in the network and data about the network) is growing, but the percentage of it that’s useful for diagnostics is shrinking, Nguyen says. It’s a big-data type of problem: Network operators are going to need their tools to automatically winnow down that data somehow.
On Monday, Gigamon is announcing new features for its Visibility Fabric that are intended to push the company further into that data intelligence role.
An application called FlowVUE, initially announced in May, picks samples of traffic from a particular sample of users. That’s subtly different from just taking random samples of traffic: FlowVUE picks a subset of users or virtual machines first, then sends the associated traffic out to the analyzers. It’s a feature that Gigamon developed for a tier 1 service provider and is now rolling out for general consumption.
GTP correlation, intended for mobile-operators’ networks, makes sure user-plane and data-plane traffic for one session all goes to the same analyzer. That’s not a given under normal conditions, because the network can’t correlate the two. Gigamon links them by cracking into the GPRS tunneling protocol used by the LTE network to read the International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) tied to the traffic.
Gigamon is also announcing deduplication for IPv6 packets (matching the capability it already offers for IPv4); the ability to strip Cisco FabricPath headers from a packet (it already can remove other types of headers); and Adaptive Packet Filtering, which allows Gigamon to filter traffic based on its content, regardless of where the content is in the packet.
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