Daniel Munteanu
Technical Product Manager
Blog

TrafficREWIND: The Bridge Between Production Networks and Testing Labs

July 28, 2016 by Daniel Munteanu

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Bridges are used to connect different worlds, extending reach and empowering people as they save time and effort.

At Ixia, innovation is at the core of what we are doing and building “bridges” is perfectly fitting our culture. Over the past few months, we have built a different kind of bridge that shares similar core values. One that connects the production network world and testing environments.

Mirroring production network traffic in a controlled test environment has always been a time-consuming, complicated, and oftentimes frustrating process. Until now, these two decoupled worlds were connected only through heavy, slow, and extremely limited “ferries” like packet capture exports and other similar solutions.

To bridge these limitations, Ixia has introduced TrafficREWIND™, a unique, patent-pending solution that translates production network insights into real traffic stimulus for lab test environments.

Together with Ixia’s BreakingPoint™ and Application and Threat Intelligence Processor™ (ATIP), TrafficREWIND is ideal for all sorts of network operators like service providers and enterprises who need to quickly reproduce production network traffic characteristics in a lab environment for fast fault isolation or pre-deployment validation.

Likewise, TrafficREWIND can quickly cover the gap between organizations and equipment vendors, offering a reliable vehicle of sharing real production traffic insights in a concise form for customer issues replication and solution validation.

How Does it Work?

While all this sounds really great and attractive (and it really is), you might be already wondering how it actually works. In a nutshell, TrafficREWIND is fed with network traffic information using ATIP-generated NetFlow metadata (ATIP inspects production network traffic) it records and synthesizes its characteristics and then a test configuration file can be exported and used within BreakingPoint test beds.

ATIP leverages IxFlow, Ixia’s unique NetFlow extension, to feed application-level insights into TrafficREWIND. IxFlow additionally exports application names and other flow information like Geo Location, Device Type, and Browser Type. However, in the first release, TrafficREWIND uses only a subset of IxFlow specific information (i.e., application name).

The below diagram offers a good visual representation of how all these components work together.

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TrafficREWIND can record network traffic characteristics for up to 7 days and export up to 1 day of traffic summary test configuration. In addition, it does not store actual traffic payloads like packet captures, avoiding violation of potential policies in production network that may not allow sharing or storing captures that include sensitive information payloads.

The simple and intuitive dashboard offers application statistics distribution charts, analyzing the traffic volume and sessions of the imported NetFlow.

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TrafficREWIND’s simple Web UI to analyze and synthesize the NetFlow metadata; one-click export of test configuration for use in BreakingPoint

Amplify BreakingPoint Traffic Realism with Network Insight

The resulting test configuration from TrafficREWIND is imported in BreakingPoint as a Live Profile. The new Live Profile adds a new testing dimension by empowering users not only replicate traffic profiles with associated real-world applications, but also dynamically change traffic composition over time to model the temporal nature of production networks and applications – a major evolution taking application performance testing to the next level of realism.

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Live Profile created by importing a TrafficREWIND traffic summary configuration 

Every Minute Matters

Since based on Gartner, the average large corporation experiences 87 hours of network downtime a year, and according to Ponemon Institute, the cost of a single minute of service downtime reaches $5,600—every minute that can be saved matters. Therefore, the need for fast turnaround times to fix issues is of paramount importance.

TrafficREWIND combines Ixia’s visibility and test expertise to empower unprecedented test possibilities:

  • Faster fault analysis and reproduction capabilities
  • Reference architectures and pre-deployment validation with production-like application mixes
  • Relevant what-if scenarios by combining real production traffic with other test traffic including security strikes, incremental applications, or even fuzzing

Curious to find out more details? Request a demo to learn how TrafficREWIND can complement your BreakingPoint and ATIP solutions.