Performance Always Matters, Especially When it Comes to Observing Network Traffic at 100Gbps

Network data rates typically increase in a step function where each step lasts for several years. The current step and dominant data rate is now 100 gigabits per second (Gbps). Recognizing this, cPacket Networks has released several new products that give you the ability to design and deploy an observability fabric for high-speed environments operating at up to 100Gbps. Two new 32-port Network Packet Broker products, the cVu® 32100 and cVu 32100E, give you cost-effective flexibility to acquire, aggregate, and deliver network packets using a two-tier topology (refer to the figure 2 below). The enhanced version (with an “E” appended to the model number) performs precise timestamping and detailed characterization of microbursts; what we call our unique cBurst functionality. The cVu 32100E is therefore ideal for observing metrics necessary to assure adequate capacity, throughput, and performance of latency-sensitive workloads.

Figure 1: Network Data Rate Trends

Also, available since March is the cStor® 100 capture-to-disk appliance that provides persistent storage for captured packet. The cStor 100 appliance is the first and only packet capture solution available today that losslessly captures and stores packets at data rates up to 100Gbps. Within our tightly integrated platform you and your tools now have access to real-time and stored packets. Analytics in the cStor and cClear® appliances give you a broad range of visibility from raw packet data to flow data, KPIs, TCP, and other analytics results that give you actionable intelligence to efficiently tune performance to maximize experiences.

Figure 2: Two-Tier Topology for Observing Network Traffic

The inclusion of these new products mean that cPacket’s solutions for 100Gbps networks offer the greatest possible breadth, depth, and scale for visibility for any IT data center. Coupled with our cCloud Suite, IT teams now have reliable and detailed visibility that seamlessly scales across hybrid environments. These new products extend the cPacket Intelligent Observability Platform to give you a unified solution for observing, analyzing, delivering, and acting on rich network packet data in essentially all IT environments and use cases.

Performance-Driven Observability

Performance is in the DNA of cPacket Networks. We have led the market since our beginning as a provider of high-performance integrated circuits for networking to delivering the industry’s first 100Gbps-capable network packet broker products. We lead the market again by delivering the first network 100Gbps-capable packet capture appliance. We continue integrating custom designed integrated circuits and field programmable gate arrays into our products. This system-level mastery of holistically designing and building observability appliances with custom integrated circuits gives cPacket the unique competency to design and deliver the highest level of performance achievable.

Performance matters, especially at high-speed data rates such as 100Gbps! Visibility is IT’s most valuable asset because it is what enables a strong security posture, assuring exceptional end-user experiences, and expeditious troubleshooting. The point of observability is creating visibility so you know exactly how your network and more broadly your infrastructure and workloads are performing, and correspondingly the experiences people are having. Observations must be consistent, free from blind spots, and have a high enough resolution to detect even the lightest traffic because cyberattacks use sophisticated cloaking tactics to evade detection. Poor observability performance results in partial visibility that is as bad as no visibility. This is especially true of the visibility gaps and are endemic for a specific method or tool because cybercriminals are smart, they do reconnaissance and homework and will find and exploit such gaps.

Your network may have glitches, send packets out of order, drop packets, or have seemingly random delays causing varied latencies, etc. Applications, workloads, and other components of your infrastructure may have problems that adversely impact security and/or end-user experiences. The job of an observability solution is to observe everything so anything that causes an adverse impact can be detected and corrected. In other words, your observability solution must outperform your core network to do its intended job. cPacket Networks has a clear understanding of the job that observability must perform and how that job helps you do your job. That is why the level of performance delivered by our platform matters and makes a difference – so even the most subtle problems and threats are observed and brought to your attention.

Gaining High-Fidelity Visibility at 100Gbps

Just like driving a car, the higher the speed the greater the need for focus because everything happens faster. At a data rate of 100Gbps, performance and latency sensitivities can be more subtle and harder to diagnose and troubleshoot. You will therefore need to have visibility capable of monitoring 100Gbps network traffic in place before upgrading your core network to that data rate.

Plan and deploy a carefully thought-out visibility upgrade prior to your core network. A good first step before upgrading the speed of a core network is to identify the workloads that will be or likely will be impacted by throughput and/or latency variations. Performance should be benchmarked so you have a clear target to achieve and can compare performance before and after upgrading. You should also carefully understand how essential data will be provided to your security defenses to ensure that attack vectors are not inadvertently unprotected during upgrades and migrations.

Conclusion

We hope that your migration and ongoing use of 100Gbps networking goes well, which is why we developed the visibility necessary for you to validate that security and performance remain upheld every step of the way. As with all generational changes and upgrades, plan carefully, make sure that your monitoring fabric is an integral part of that plan and put it in place in the early phase of the data rate upgrade so you can efficiently solve the inevitable problems and glitches that will arise along the way.

Learn more about using cPacket Networks’ platform for 100Gbps networks here:

cPacket Networks’ 100Gbps-capable solutions

About the Author

Ron Stein
Director of Product Marketing