Ixia Network Security Testing Tackles Cloud Data Center Traffic

The latest network security testing product from Ixia targets cloud data centers and other large companies generating massive amounts of encrypted traffic.

The product is called CloudStorm 25GE — the 25GE refers to the 25 Gb/s technology that is being used by hyperscale data centers to satisfy growing bandwidth demands. The new platform can generate this volume of encrypted traffic to test Ixia customers’ application delivery and network security.

“It’s the first and only application and test security solution that can do line-rate application traffic generation with a 25-gigabit interface,” said Sashi Jeyaretnam, director of product management at Ixia. “Why does this matter? Because 25 gigabit is becoming very prevalent in the data center, especially in cloud data centers, as a really good high-density alternative to 10 gigabit.”

Cloud-Scale Traffic

Ixia, a Keysight Business, provides testing, visibility, and security hardware and software for large enterprises, service providers, and network equipment manufacturers.

The new platform includes the CloudStorm device with Ixia’s BreakingPoint and IxLoad software running on top. BreakingPoint stimulates both good and bad network traffic — including distributed denial of service (DDoS), exploits, and malware — to validate an organization’s security infrastructure. IxLoad provides Layer 4-7 performance testing for multi-play services, application delivery platforms, and network security appliances.

Data center operators can use the platform to benchmark 25G-capable servers and network security architectures.

But aside from the Facebooks and Amazons of the world, how many customers globally actually run traffic at these massive rates?

Ixia won’t say how many customers it has, and it can’t name any of them publically.

“The two sectors we have seen that level of requirement coming from are financial and the cloud data centers,” Jeyaretnam said. “We have been very successful in the financial sector — they have always been big customers — because they are upgrading their appliances to be able to handle higher SSL traffic, so they are pushing these devices to the limits.”

SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, is a cryptographic protocol that secures Internet communications. The CloudStorm 25GE platform provides high-performance encryption and compression support with hardware offload. This allows companies to handle this cloud-scale volume of SSL traffic.

Hyperscale Data Center Growth

Considering that the number of hyperscale data centers is projected to nearly double over the next five years, demand for CloudStorm and other network testing platforms that can handle huge amounts of traffic will likely follow suit.

According to Cisco’s latest Cloud Index released earlier this week, there were 338 hyperscale data centers globally in 2016. By 2021, Cisco forecasts there will be 628 of these facilities around the world, representing a 1.9-fold increase over the forecast period. And cloud traffic, according to the report, will represent 95 percent of total data center traffic by 2021.