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High Performance Monitoring for High Performance Computing: Network Critical, Big Switch and Dell EM

Network Critical, Big Switch and Dell EMC are partnering to provide a 400GE ready monitoring infrastructure that will capture, aggregate, filter, load balance and deliver traffic to network tools at SC19, the Supercomputing conference in Denver Colorado. The monitoring tools that will be managing and protecting the conference network will look for traffic anomalies that may be threat indicators and stop the malicious software before it damages the network. Other tools develop trend analysis for traffic planning and ongoing maintenance.

The foundation of the monitoring partnership is safe, accurate and fast passive optical TAPs from Network Critical. These TAPs will safely and accurately capture network link traffic at 10Gbps and 100Gbps and pass that traffic to a Big Switch Big Monitoring Fabric (BMF) which is running on new Dell-EMC Z9332 (32X400GE) switches. The BMF will aggregate, filter, load balance and forward the packets to monitoring and security tools.

It is critical that the Big Switch BMF receive 100% accurate and complete traffic information in order for connected tools to perform their intended security and monitoring functions. While both TAP and SPAN ports can provide mirror traffic to the BMF, the preferred solution is TAPs. SPAN connections limit port flexibility, increase internal switch traffic, do not pass corrupt packets and randomly drop packets during busy periods impacting tool report accuracy. Passive optical TAPs pass a complete mirror copy of all live traffic, use no power, require very little rack space and and do not cause delay or otherwise impact live network traffic.

SC19, the annual Supercomputing conference will be demonstrating the fastest, most powerful all-volunteer built network in the world. How powerful is it? The SCinet network, with 60 miles of fiber optic cable, will provide 3.63 terabits per second of WAN capacity delivered to the SC Exhibits. SCinet, will serve conference attendees with a platform to connect, transport and display High Performance Computing research from around the globe.

This network will only be operational for about a week. However, it will demonstrate new technologies and best practices for computing, storage, networking and monitoring around the world. As computing power, applications and geographic scope of networks continue to grow, it is becoming more important to utilize high powered monitoring and security tools to manage and protect infrastructure and information.

The SCinet network will be carrying over 40Tbps of traffic during the conference. The Network Critical/Big Switch/Dell EMC partnership will feed a cluster of Corelight IDS and Palo Alto Networks security tools protecting research, attendee and vendor traffic from attacks. Visit us at Dell EMC's booth #913 to see a visualization of how massive amounts of traffic are monitored and protected. This technology, by the way, is available today for global enterprise, carrier and government networks.

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