Service assurance and security vendor Netscout added a new option to its Packet Flow System (PFS) product line, allowing users to run its network packet broker software on any open networking compute platform.
Before this announcement, Netscout offered its packet broker software on its own custom hardware, said Sanjay Munshi, VP of products for Netscout’s PFS Business Unit. However, custom hardware is difficult to update and reconfigure as newer protocols emerge from the network layers, he said. Custom hardware is also more expensive than open compute platforms.
To avoid these complications, Netscout is offering its customers the option to buy its packet broker software and then run it on any open compute networking platform. “There are multiple manufacturers that build open compute platforms, which are pieces of hardware with a thin layer of Linux on top of it, and we put our software on top of that,” Munshi said.
The Open Compute Project (OCP) also happens to create the type of hardware platform that Netscout is pairing its packet broker software with, Munshi said. OCP organizes its work into nine different working groups with networking being the most popular.
Netscout’s PFS unit focuses on providing a range of packet broker capabilities. The technology sits between the network and analytics tools. The goal is to provide the analytics tools with the most relevant data to the user. The packet broker is also able to eliminate duplicated packets to optimize the data it’s gathering.
Netscout focuses on service assurance and security, but its packet broker business unit plays into both of those areas, Munshi said. Since Netscout launched its PFS unit over five years ago, the company has been slowly building it through a number of acquisitions. Most notably, its acquisition of Danaher Corporation’s Communications Business in 2015, which included VSS Monitoring, laid the groundwork for the PFS product line today.