The answer is obviously “YES”, because Network Packet Brokers (NPB) have become a mandatory component of network infrastructure, and the cost of packet broker projects range from dozens of thousands to millions of USD, depending on the scope of the deployment.
Packet Brokers help avoid network ‘blind spots’ that could be the source of cyber security attacks and performance issues; They also mitigates network congestion, that overutilizes the resources of cyber security and performance tools to the point that they cannot get the job done. This is why telecom operators and enterprises need to deploy them. This is also why many tool vendors such as Riverbed, RADCOM, EXFO, Polystar, Empirix, A10 Networks, Symantec, Bluecoat and Paloalto Networks include them in their deployments.
The incumbent packet broker vendors have taken the business model and strategy of developing their own hardware, because that was the only option when they entered the market. The result was proprietary hardware that does not scale and rarely meets the ever-changing network infrastructure requirements. Well, you should make sure that this does not become your problem.
Now you have a choice, and the good news is that the industry is in transition phase led by CGS – it is shifting from proprietary hardware to mass production hardware that provides superior performance, scalability, reliability and significant cost savings.
Cars would remain the privilege of the rich, if the industrial revolution in the car industry, led by Henry Ford, had not occurred 100 years ago.
Yes, you can buy a tailored made car like the one that appears at the top of this post, but it would be expensive when you buy it and obsolete before you notice it; and yes, it is going to be extremely expensive to maintain.
So how can you reduce the TCO of your next Packet Broker? Simple, just follow these rules:
- Packet Broker hardware should be based on Top-Of-Rack switches; This will ensure you are using modern technology that will allow you to scale from 10G to 25G to 40G and to 100G without the need to change the platform
- CPU intensive features such as de-Duplication and Advanced multi-layer header stripping should run on powerful server hardware; This way you can avoid unexpected bottlenecks in your solution that will lead to unexpected costs
- Every component of the solution should be based mass production hardware, which is the only way to ensure cost reduction across time
- Make sure that the Packet Broker vendor does not lock ports nor does it require you to use proprietary transceivers which will dramatically increase the TCO
- Check what additional components are required in case you need to scale-out and add ports beyond the capacity of the Packet Broker; Ultimately, the solution should rely on the same ‘building blocks’, which you are already familiar with their price structure
So now that you know how to reduce your packet broker TCO, the question is which vendor will be able to get the most performance, functionality and reliability from the mass production Top-Of-Rack switches.
Our next post will focus on this topic, and meanwhile, we invite you to read the recent case study (press link) from Cisco that tells the story of how CGS was able to deliver innovative Network Packet Brokers in record time and how it will be able to maintain its technology leadership in the future.