A type of packet-monitoring architecture which is highly applicable to cloud hosting and distributed networking has been released by solutions provider Ixia, enabling performance monitoring of distributed networks through a single user interface.
ControlTower builds on Ixia’s NTO network monitoring switches, which do all the usual stringent network traffic checking and control functions such as aggregating, filtering, load balancing and de-duplicating packets. The ControlTower, however, allows these functions to be performed in a distributed environment, not just in a single data centre, while enabling overseeing those processes from a single user interface. Thus it is a relevant solution for cloud hosting and virtualized environments.
Network operators who manage clouds need to be able to ramp up bandwidth at short notice while maintaining high visibility of the network.
“Businesses are moving toward modular approaches that can include both internal and external cloud resources. Servers, storage and networking components are more often virtualized and can be activated as needed, and so monitoring strategies need to be flexible and scalable to keep pace,” explains Jim Frey, Vice President of Research for Network Management at Enterprise Management Associates.
The ControlTower allows network monitoring switches to be deployed flexibly as needed - in a single high-density stack, distributed across the top of multiple racks in a data center or distributed to multiple buildings in a campus environment.
“As cloud adoption continues to grow and enterprise campus networks increase in size and complexity, administrators still require actionable insights to prevent and address problems no matter where the network segment may be.” says Scott Register, Senior Director of Product Management for Ixia. “Security and performance issues often occur deep inside a network, not on its perimeter.”
By filtering traffic at the ingress points on the switches, traffic is reduced on the interconnect links lowering the chance of dropped packets. The user interface effectively presents the entire distributed visibility environment as a single switch. New network segments that require monitoring can be added, without the need for additional management complexity.