Kristi Thiele
Sales Engineering Manager
Blog

Learning the Power of Hardware…the Hard-way

October 28, 2016 by Kristi Thiele

Don’t most network and security engineers know by now that processing network traffic using hardware is far superior than software and CPU processing?  Why would anyone then make a technology decision choosing a substandard solution that would yield substandard results?

Well, there are definitely times when a “technology” decision is based more on budget than on performance outcomes.  One of our newest customers just spent the last 18 months suffering through the results of just such a decision.  They bought a solution based on software processing – it was cheap, yes, but it also didn’t work.  It couldn’t keep up with network speed and scale requirements.

State agencies’ networks are growing at an exponential pace, not unlike nearly all other Enterprises.  For this particular state, the data required for agency IT personnel to manage and monitor network, application, and security traffic was getting dropped as it traversed through aggregation and filtering infrastructure.   This left these monitoring tools and operations teams completely in the dark and unable to do their jobs – for months and months.

The issue they faced was software-based packet processing infrastructure.  You may know this space…in addition to Ixia, there is Gigamon, BigSwitch, Apcon, Netscout, and others.  All of these but Ixia use software to process packets, and as a result, they struggle to keep up.  Ixia’s technology architecture using FPGA and purpose-built hardware operates at up to 4x faster than the rest of the industry, and delivers upon the promise of 100% visibility to network and security tools.

Upon replacing non-performing hardware from one of our competitors, the state and its agencies immediately began to see traffic they were unable to see over the previous 18 months, and the benefits to the speed, reliability, resiliency, and uptime of its network were felt immediately.

So - before you buy, ask the question – hardware or software?  It could make all of the difference in how you spend the next 18 months!