Ixia announced Tuesday it’s combining its Anue and Net Optics acquisitions into what it’s calling a Visibility Architecture, an attempt at claiming some high ground in the growing market of network tapping and monitoring.
“Everybody’s taken a product-centric approach to talking about what’s there. It’s a speeds-and-feeds approach,” says Roark Pollock, vice president of marketing for network visibility.
Network visibility, market chased by many companies including Gigamon, involves using a bunch of taps monitor the network and a specialized set of gear — called network packet brokers, among other things — to aggregate and switch that information to send it to test and analysis equipment.
The visibility network sits apart from the rest of the network, and Ixia wants to be the company to show customers how to plan and build it. “What you find today is a lot of cobbled-together piece-parts,” Pollock says.
The other idea here is to separate what Ixia wants to do from plain network tapping. “Network packet brokering” deserves all those syllables because it involves filtering and processing the traffic (removing duplicated data, for instance) and aggregating it. Tapping is something that’s done on a standing network, whereas network packet brokers are being applied in greenfield situations, Pollock says.
“Ourselves, Gigamon, and so on — you look at how quickly we’re growing. That points to a large market of greenfield,” says Scott Register, Ixia’s Senior Director of Product Management.
So, the idea is to turn these deployments into more coordinated, whole-network efforts rather than the piece-part approach. One element Ixia plans to emphasize is its early investment in network management, giving it the ability to enforce some policy and to tweak the rules under which the data is collected.
Ixia has been doing this sort of thing for five or six years, Pollock says. The company started putting more emphasis into it with the 2012 acquisition of Anue, which provided technology for monitoring production networks. That was followed up with last year’s $190 million pickup of Net Optics.