Network Critical - The Window to your Network

Packet Brokers for Net Management and High Availability: Have your Cake and Eat it Too

Have your cake and eat it - Packet Brokers for Net Management and High AvailabilityNetwork availability and network performance are at odds with each other.  In order to maximize network performance for optimum availability and increased throughput, the conventional solution would be to minimize external tools and maximize bandwidth.  The problem with that solution, however, is that higher bandwidth requires aggressive management and vigilant security.  This can only be accomplished by inserting more tools.

The math tells us that availability decreases with each new device that is inserted in-line on the network.  Assume we have two network management tools connected to a link, the availability of the weakest, least reliable device times the availability of the more reliable tool becomes the system reliability.  For example, if device one is available 99% of the time and device two is available 99.99% of the time the system availability becomes 98.99%, less than either device on its own.  This example is one link and two tools.  This serial connectivity can have quite a dramatic impact on availability in larger networks with many links and tools.

IT departments are currently deploying 3-5 network tools per link or group of links in a network running applications such as security, compliance, analytics and performance management.  Further complicating the availability conundrum is the fact that these devices must be taken off-line periodically for feature, firmware and rule updates.

How can network managers utilize the benefits of specialized tools while maintaining high network availability?  The answer to this question is also the answer to the question, “Why is the tap and packet broker market exploding?”  Deploying tools through taps and packet brokers eliminates the serial degradation of availability while increasing the operational efficiency of the connected tools.

Packet brokers act as traffic cops enabling tools to have visibility into network links without the risk of availability degradation.  Taps connect to network links then send the data flow into the Packet Broker for aggregation, filtering and packet distribution.  The tools connect to the packet broker, not directly to the network link.  The taps provide fail-safe connectivity to keep the networks up even if the tool goes down or is taken off-line for maintenance.  The packet broker also provides many sophisticated features that increase network management efficiency and economy, including:

  • Aggregation – This allows many smaller links to consolidate traffic going to a single tool port and enables dramatic savings on expensive tool resources.
  • Load Balancing – This provides for even distribution of packets from a single high-speed link to less expensive tools designed for lower throughput.   It is particularly useful to networks in transition from 1G to 10G links.
  • Filtering – This removes non-critical packets improving the efficiency of the tools.  It is important when monitoring higher speed links where the storage capacity of the tool must be scaled to its computing capacity.

By creating an architecture where tools are connected to networks with taps and managed with packet brokers, network managers can efficiently utilize multiple network tools without impacting network availability.

Network Critical is the premier innovator of TAP and Packet Broker technology. The SmartNA-X and SmartNA-X HD product portfolio offers unmatched simplicity, efficiency, flexibility and value.

Posted: 10/11/2015 14:30:43 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Why Packet Slicing is a Requirement for Your Network

Get the balance right between netwrok speed and performanceEveryday, people rely on networks to bring them their information quickly and efficiently. The challenge continues to be finding that balance between the demands for speed and performance, and the need for high-level security and privacy.

This is where packet slicing comes in. Packet slicing is a solution that helps network managers find that ever-changing balance between performance and security. Today, we took another step toward providing our customers with the confidence they crave in their networking. We are happy to announce that packet slicing is now a standard feature on our SmartNA-X family of products.

Using packet slicing, network managers are free to drop unnecessary payload data. Without this extra data, analysis tools can process packets faster and more efficiently, and at the same time customer conversations remain private. Customers can have complete confidence if their network, and network managers have access to the data in real time on a user-friendly interface.

By standardizing this feature, we are continuing our commitment to satisfying our customers’ networking needs.

Posted: 24/06/2015 15:37:05 by Global Administrator with 0 comments

Increasing Revenue per Sale – Overcoming Sales Myopia

Increase sales revenue

Myopia is the word optometrist’s use for “shortsightedness.”  You can see up close but the big, far away picture is a blur.  Metaphorically, many sales professionals suffer from this myopia when developing solutions for their hard fought prospects and customers.

IT Sales organizations spend a lot of time and money attracting new customers.  After all, new business is the life blood of the company.   Sales organizations work hard sharpening techniques for networking, advertising, social media presence, trade show effectiveness and other prospecting activities.  Marketing organizations perfect presentations.  Systems engineers, sales teams and management all get involved with the potential customer. Competition, pricing, delivery and support are discussed.  Finally, a Purchase Order is received!

The path between prospect and order is long and expensive.  That is why maximizing the revenue per order should be a critical metric for every business.  We have all heard the analogy, “do you want fries with that hamburger?” It does not matter if the product is burgers or network tools.  Getting creative and proactive with proposals can increase revenue with little to no extra selling costs.

What if you could add 10% or 15% to every order you close?   A $10 million dollar a year company could add over $1 million per year to the top line without adding another sales person, engineer, or marketer.  Likely there is no argument that this is a good thing, but from a practical standpoint, how can it be done?

The key to increasing revenue per sale is to broaden the solution. For example, adding network access to a network analytics solution or including an in-line tap with an IPS design is an often overlooked revenue enhancer that is simple, quick and solution friendly.

The customer may be adding nodes, tightening security, enhancing monitoring or upgrading technology.  They are focusing on the initial application for which the budget was approved.  This is where the savvy sales pro has an opportunity to create some extra value, strengthen the solution and create competitive barriers.  Look at the bigger picture to determine if there are other elements that can and should be added to the proposal that would help the customer better meet business goals or that would provide a proactive means of addressing future networking needs/requirements.

As an example of additional technologies to educate customers on, taps and packet brokers are necessary visibility and management elements often required to implement many IT projects.  However, they are often not given much thought in the design process.   By discussing taps and packet brokers early, and adding them into the design, one can differentiate the proposal while increasing revenue from the sale.  Taps are broadly used, not very complex and easy to design into a wide variety of applications.  Once familiar with their use and many applications, channel sales and design teams will notice many opportunities to increase revenue on network tool sales while providing additional consultative services to their customer.

This is just one of the areas where educating and offering solutions to increase effectiveness and help meet business goals, can show your customers that you are looking at the big picture and have more to offer them.  Spending a little time discussing tap and visibility solutions can help channel sellers increase sales revenue and provide valuable new services to their customers.  Learn more about taps and network access devices at

Posted: 06/06/2015 15:39:09 by Global Administrator with 0 comments