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What CIOs need to know when integrating SDN into their monitoring strategy
Net Optics specializes in designing visibility into networks to address challenges related to virtualization, compliance and security. The company is the leading provider of Total Application and Network Visibility solutions that deliver real-time network intelligence for peak performance in network monitoring and security. As a result, businesses achieve the scalable end-to-end visibility they need to optimize network performance of physical, virtual and private cloud environments, and remote branch offices. Net Optics is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and serves over 7,500 global enterprises, including 85 of the Fortune 100.

Rake Narang: Where are the main vulnerabilities in our internet?

Bob Shaw: Every 20 minutes, 10,000 customer records are stolen from networks around the world. What is more shocking is that 9,500 of these will go unnoticed by the organizations losing them. Network visibility is becoming increasingly challenging and our internet vulnerabilities are increasing exponentially on a number of fronts.

We are putting more strain on our networks – asking networks to do more, and faster than ever. Server virtualization is causing a loss of visibility into the interactions of traffic flow between guest Virtual Machines (VMs) on a common virtualized host. We are seeing an increase in application related vulnerabilities as well. Targeted attacks are on the rise, with organized DDOS attempts and an increase in hacking attacks. These attacks are being performed by professionals striving to achieve professional goals, not by a ragtag bunch of amateurs playing around. The attacks today are intended to cause damage, not simply embarrassment or defacement.

The rise of BYOD introduces its own set of challenges. With traffic proliferating, it’s increasingly difficult to track the people and devices accessing applications. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are a fertile breeding ground for infectious malware and social engineering scams. Android and Apple iOS platforms are also attractive targets for opportunistic hacker infections. Nevertheless, the buck stops at IT for controlling access and monitoring user and network behavior.

Rake Narang: How do you see the network security space shifting in the next 2-5 years?

Bob Shaw: We are moving toward a future involving bigger pipes, higher speeds, and increasing users. This means we must find new ways to architect our networks to anticipate demands and curb threats. The future requires protection of and visibility into every intersection of the network.

Net Optics believes the future of network monitoring and security requires an integrated approach, wherein NPB, AA-NPM, SDN, and APM solutions work in sync to provide total visibility for data centers, private clouds and virtual networks. Point solutions no longer suffice. That’s why we’ve expanded our range of solutions and continue to innovate integrated approaches such as the first NPB to integrate SDN and the first 40G bypass capable of bridging the gap for 10G migration.

We’ll see a rise of a host of new performance and security scalability challenges due to 40 and 100 Gigabit network deployments. It's getting harder for legacy solutions to keep up as network data continues to speed up. We'll see new higher-performance networking tools displace legacy solutions.

Keeping pace with the needs of compliance, security, and service level agreements will continue getting more difficult for organizations as the network expands, accelerates, and continuously changes in response to the growing demands of users. CIOs need to think beyond individual products and solutions that will become outdated as soon as they are implemented. We need architectures that are elastic so they can be molded to tomorrow’s needs with minimal disruption.

Rake Narang: What is Net Optics’ key technology and how do businesses benefit from it?

Bob Shaw: Net Optics is the leading provider of Total Application and Network Visibility solutions. Our solutions deliver real-time network intelligence to help businesses achieve scalable end-to-end visibility so they can optimize network performance, monitoring and security. We help them gain total visibility of their physical, virtual and private cloud environments and remote branch offices.

Since launching in 1996 and introducing the network Tap to market, we have maintained a leading position, co-founding the Network Packet Broker (NPB) space and expanding into Application Aware Network Performance Monitoring (AA-NPM), as well as virtual/cloud and Visibility Management System (VMS) solutions. More than 7,500 enterprises worldwide rely on Net Optics to achieve total visibility of their networks.

Rake Narang: How does SDN play into network security and what do CIOs need to know when integrating SDN into their monitoring strategy?

Bob Shaw: The great thing about SDN is that it allows you to mix and match solutions for a variety of vendors to suit your particular needs. It gives you a number of choices that wouldn’t otherwise be available. While SDN increases openness, a potential pitfall is to lock oneself into specific platforms, therefore losing some or many SDN capabilities. So it’s really important to maintain your freedom of choice.

CIOs need to be careful of getting locked into specific products. “Openness” can be a vague term and some vendors may be using the term to describe the availability of proprietary APIs that can only (or mostly) support products from those specific vendors. It’s essential to find out whether the openness discussed would actually lock you down.

A big advantage of SDN from a security perspective is the ability to control, block and reroute traffic on demand at various junctions of the network without having to be deployed into each of these junctions. That control is achieved by leveraging open APIs to provide directions to switches, routers and NPB devices that are deployed at those various junctions.

Network Packet Brokers (NPB) are the devices which hand off monitored traffic to tools and devices that consume packet data (eg. APM, NPM). NPBs add a layer of flexibility that natively supports dynamic routing and control decisions. In SDN enabled networks, monitoring tools should be able to consume traffic from different sources. Instead of deploying more monitoring tools in additional locations, customers are using NPB to forward traffic of interest to the tools. To make the NPB more efficient, an open protocol is needed. We recommend considering deployments that use both dynamic and static switching as well as hybrid implementations of Openflow and Netconf.

Company: Net Optics
5303 Betsy Ross Drive, Santa Clara, CA 95054 U.S.A.

Founded in: 1996
CEO: Bob Shaw
Public or Private: Private
Head Office in Country: Santa Clara, California - United States
Products and Services: Total Application and Network Visibility Solutions (Network Packet Brokers, Application-Aware Network Performance Monitoring, Network Taps, Virtual Taps)
Company’s Goals: To provide customers with 100% visibility at every intersection of their physical network, virtual and private cloud environments, and remote branch offices.
Key Words: Network Packet Broker, NPB, Network Monitoring, Network Security, Network Performance Monitoring, AA-NPM, Network Taps, Cybersecurity, Visibility Management System, VMS

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