For Want of a Tap

Michael Vizard

If a war can be lost for want of a nail, then a network can be lost for the want of a good tap. Today there's more data than ever streaming across our networks. The trouble is that we're blind to most of it because we can't really see enough of it to identify patterns. Net Optics at the RSA Conference 2010 this week released a Director Pro Fabric Access Switch that pre-filters data collected via new Gig Zero Delay 1000T Base tap that processes network traffic not only in real time, but while also performing deep-packet inspection.

According to Sharon Besser, vice president of technologies for Net Optics, the basic idea is that network monitoring tools should offload the filtering of traffic to a dedicated switch from Net-Optics. This would then allow tools to spend less time filtering data, and more time on analytics.

There is a trove of information flowing through our networks that most IT organizations are blind to. With faster taps and pre-processing of that data, we should see much richer network management and monitoring tools in the not too distant future.

Of course, the bad news is that once people figure out something can be analyzed, they usually want it done. That may mean more work for already stressed-out network managers. But it also means that the potential for building much smarter networks is also there now that we can effectively analyze much larger streams of data.

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