Distributed Packet Broker

Eedo Lifshitz and Amir Kossover

The packet broker industry is going through a major paradigm shift after being stagnant for quite some time. Packet broker vendors have taken the approach of developing their own hardware appliances with their software on top of it to provide the aggregation and filtering of network traffic that feeds cyber security and NPM tools. The result was monolithic and expensive chassis based appliances with multiple line cards. This approach made sense for a while, however, with the availability of inexpensive and high performance Top-of-Rack switching platform, the ‘big chassis’ approach is becoming obsolete. CGS is leading the innovative “Distributed Packet Broker” architecture approach, where packet broker software is deployed on multiple and powerful 1U Top-of-Rack switch hardware. The result is improved performance and significant reduction in cost, complexity and rack space.

Here are some of the benefits you can expect from the new approach:

  • Superior performance: Using the latest switching technology allows CGS to leverage the superior performance, capacity (3.2T) and density (32 x 100G in 1U) available in modern hardware platforms
  • Simplified deployments: Packet broker appliances can be distributed across the data center in proximity to the tools and access links, according to technical requirements and space constraints, unlike the ‘big chassis’ approach that lacks this flexibility.
  • Reduction in rack space: The 100G QSFP28 interface has a significant smaller form factor compared to CFP used in legacy network broker hardware, resulting in 8X form factor reduction and significant savings in rack space
  • Secure hardware investments: A packet broker deployed on a modern switching hardware is modern by design and includes new technology advancements such as 25G ports which will soon become a standard in new network deployments
  • Scalability: The distributed packet broker architecture, based on stacking of powerful 1U packet brokers, creates unlimited scalability that is not limited to a physical size of the legacy ‘big chassis’ that host line cards
  • Cost reduction: You can expect 3X cost reduction that results from lower hardware costs; reduction in rack space, energy consumption and cooling; small and inexpensive incremental expansions; modern technology that supports future network architectures.

To sum up: The legacy ‘big chassis’ approach is gradually replaced with the ‘distributed packet broker’ approach that provides superior performance and drives down costs, complexity and footprint.

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