Jason Lackey
Solutions Marketing

The GUI and the Ugly Baby

July 23, 2019 by Jason Lackey

We recently had the great pleasure of participating in Steve Foskett’s Tech Field Day 19 (obligatory hashtag #tfd19). For those not familiar with the program, Steve and his team regularly assemble clueful groups of IT professionals, many of whom are active bloggers or participants in social media. I hesitate to use the term “influencer” as that is dangerously close to being viewed a some sort of parasite rather than hardworking pros who bring clarity and good perspectives to often highly technical conversations in information technology.

Some of our people, including Recep Ozdag (follow him at @DrOzdag) gave presentations on company background, network visibility and what it can do for you, coping with IoT/BYOD, TLS 1.3 as well as our latest and greatest network packet broker, the Vision X. You can see all the presentations Ixia did on the Tech Field Day 19 page.

Wes Milliron (follow him at @webmilliron) was kind enough to write about his experience at TFD 19. He was even kind enough to post a screen grab of our UI:

Ixia Vision Series Packet Broker UI

Then he said it reminded him of iLO2. Hmmm….I think I remember that, let me go Google a bit:


Ouch! He called our baby ugly!

Well, I can’t really say he is too far wrong. Sure, this kid may not be conventionally pretty in the traditional sense of the term, but that was not really what we were going for. We were going for speed and ease of use and if you believe Zeus Kerravala of Network World, we succeeded:

Ixia’s GUI faster, more accurate than Gigamon’s command line or Flowmap

Ixia vs Gigamon - speed to complete task

We really concentrated on a few key factors – speed was one. Ease of use another. So was accuracy and there are also benefits around reduced training and less chance of a subtle error in some regex expression resulting in disaster. The recent outage at Cloudflare – a really solid company that gets kudos for their raising the bar with honesty and transparency, is one example of the type of error we are trying to prevent with our drag and drop GUI.

So, yeah, the kid may not be much of a looker, but at least he is strong and fast and honest – and that is another important thing. One of our major competitors has a GUI that behaves differently from the CLI. The CLI will tell you about dropped packets in situations where the GUI does not. This may not seem like a big deal until you reflect upon the fact that these are network packet brokers – tools that are used to feed security tools, and there the only things worse than being vulnerable is to be vulnerable when you think you are safe, and that is exactly the situation you may be in should you have a GUI telling you that you are not dropping packets (and giving blind spots to your security) when you actually are dropping packets and only providing a partial view.

Thanks Steve, thanks Wes. Yep, despite the fact that the kid is in fact a little homely, he is at least honest and we think that is a big part of why we’ll keep him around.

Thanks for reading.