Kristi Thiele
Sales Engineering Manager

You Get What You Pay For

November 22, 2016 by Kristi Thiele

We all have heard the old adage, “you get what you pay for,” but should that really apply when making investments in IT infrastructure? Last week, I met with one of my customers who had decided to use a competitor’s Network Packet Broker (NPB) for a particular solution because, for the price, he could get more port capacity and, given they have hundreds of network paths between data centers they need to monitor at any time, price per port was very important.

The customer was preparing a new project to deploy inline web application firewalls in two data centers, and mentioned that his security team had recently approached him with an issue. They were experiencing difficulties involving FabricPath headers. The diagram below from Cisco shows the difference between an Ethernet frame with and without a FabricPath header:

FabricPath HeaderImage result for fabricpath header

Seems simple enough, but one of their security tools couldn’t effectively handle these headers.

As we went through a refresher of Ixia’s NPB capabilities, the customer was shocked to learn that not all NPB’s offer the ability to strip these FabricPath headers – including the NPB they had deployed. From the customer’s perspective, the low-cost alternative immediately changed from being the Solution to, in reality, the Problem. Further, the competitor’s inexpensive NPBs turned out to be very expensive dumb aggregators when limitations were factored into the equation.

The overall goal of any visibility solution is to provide the ability to get the right traffic, to the right tools, at the right time, to maximize efficiency and to minimize the cost of expensive security tools. Invariably over time, requirements and needs will change as new requests and requirements are asked by the business.

Ixia’s Security Fabric™ provides a future-proof visibility reference architecture capable of making security applications stronger, both today and down the road! So the next time you want to take the perceived cheap way out, think about what you are really getting as you really do get what you pay for.