Intro to IFC

With skyrocketing traffic volume and escalating security threats, today's networks are expanding to employ sophisticated, pervasive monitoring techniques. As networks expand and new devices are added, IT administrators need a holistic view of the network to consolidate management, ease orchestration efforts, and eliminate blind spots. Introducing Ixia's Fabric Controller technology- a SDx (software defined everything) controller for device management. IFC is a highly available, resilient, and easy-to-use intelligent monitoring platform that works across physical and virtual network environments to provide visibility through a single pane of glass.

IFC Cluster Features

  • Single Interface
  • Centralized Control
  • SDN Ready
  • Smart Fabric
  • Multiple Topologies
  • Single Interface

    Single Interface

    Ixia Fabric Controller Cluster (IFC Cluster) provides central management across many network packet brokers (NPBs) and does it with Ixia's well-known, easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface. The management interface has the same intuitive network (data center, cloud, etc.) to tools (security, monitoring, etc.) layout. Moreover, all ports or interconnects are viewable on a single screen.

    As shown on the right, the ports of Vision NPBs connected through IFC Cluster, are shown on one screen. This makes it easy to manage connections and rules. Data, regardless of where in the network it comes from, can be centrally aggregated, filtered, and processed for tools through a single set of security and monitoring policies. Moreover, Ixia's dynamic filter compiler automatically resolves overlapping filter rules instantaneously to ensure consistency and to prevent network blind spots.

    This means all the NPBs operate together as a single, smart, resilient security and monitoring fabric. A single view and consolidated control of operations ensures you can manage visibility and troubleshoot issues when they occur.

  • Centralized Management

    Centralized Control

    A single interface for management means centralized control of all visibility, at any scale. Just like SDN does for a software defined data center (SDDC), IFC Cluster simplifies managing visibility.

    With IFC, extending visibility to new racks and nodes in your data center is simple. Connections can be re-configured and new network packet brokers can be added anywhere in the network with a couple clicks. 

    SDN also facilitates visibility management across many locations - you can use a centralized set of network security and monitoring tools at a single geographic location, but have it service your entire, distributed infrastructure without dropping packets. This cost-effective approach ensures you are getting the most out of your tools without compromising consistent security and monitoring.

    IFC Cluster also offers open APIs for seamless integration with SDN Controllers — so managing your network is even easier. Rules and configuration are seamlessly applied from your network to your visibility solution.

  • SDN Ready


    IFC Cluster is SDN-Ready — it is able to perform as a fully automated, integrated visibility platform for SDN controllers (e.g. Cisco APIC). To achieve an integration like this, a visibility solution must be able to act as a fully stateful participant in a larger SDN control and orchestration layer. This means when changes are made via an SDN controller in a data center or network, those changes are communicated to and executed by the visibility fabric, where they are resolved automatically, without human intervention. To achieve this seamless execution, the visibility fabric must be capable of the following:

    1. Being fully controlled by a parent SDN controller in an environment.
    2. Seeing all data, including inter-Virtual Machine data and encapsulated traffic.
    3. Instantiating new visibility resources programmatically and on-demand.
    4. Easily displaying filter rules and definitions for IT teams to manage, without requiring the original author.
    5. Adhering to a zero packet loss guarantee for line rate speeds regardless of traffic pattern.

    IFC Cluster meets each of these criteria.

  • Smart Fabric

    Smart Fabric

    IFC Cluster creates a smart fabric. This means that adding a network packet broker, configuring ports, and managing visibility is easy and automated. Adding a network packet broker is as easy as adding its IP address - from there, IFC Cluster auto-discovers it on the network and adds it to the fabric. The ports appear in the interface, seamlessly linked and ready for rule configuration within minutes. The fabric knows the correct connections between network ports and tool ports, independent of where physical chassis a port is actually located. Again, this mitigates the potential for error and makes configuration and changes easy.

    Ixia's visibility intelligence portfolio — NetStack, PacketStack, SecureStack and AppStack — can be used across the smart fabric, regardless of which chassis has the physical resource. This makes it easy to operate across multiple sites, providing the centralized control required of modern networks.

  • Topologies

    Multiple Topologies

    IFC Cluster uniquely offers many topologies, so you have flexibility in managing your network.

    • Spine and Leaf (or Tree): In this format, the branches of the tree typically aggregate data up to the core, or trunk. This is applicable in hyperscale or large data centers where data must be aggregated, filtered and deduplicated before it can be sent to security and monitoring tools.
    • Mesh: In this format, network packet brokers are connected to multiple other packet brokers. This provides flexibility in data routing as well as redundancy for resilience in the fabric.
    • Linear: In this format, data can be routed through multiple locations to a final location. This is applicable when varying tools sit at multiple locations.
    • Hub and Spoke: One of the simplest of models, it allow for a central tool "farm" to be used by satellite locations.


A security and monitoring fabric

Like an SDN controller does for a network, IFC Cluster provides centralized management of your Vision network packet brokers (NPBs). With IFC Cluster, multiple Vision NPBs can be connected to create a security and monitoring fabric that operates as a single, cohesive layer that sits between the network and security and monitoring tools. This centralized, single fabric offers resilience, flexibility, and scalability for your network.

Security Fabric

Cluster is Easy to Use

  • Distributed Access
  • Add network packet brokers
  • Choose ports and speeds
  • manage all visibility
  • Distributed Access

    IFC Cluster is not only easy-to-use, it is easy to deploy and setup. 

    IFC Cluster allows for distributed access. You can tap from anywhere in a network, and connect it to a Vision network packet broker (NPB) which has IFC Cluster enabled. That data stream can then be managed through the single interface.


  • Add NPBs

    To create a fabric, enable IFC Cluster licenses on Vision network packet brokers. Connect the ports that are to be used in the security and monitoring fabric. Then, in the IFC Cluster console, select "Topology view login" and add the IP address of any additional network packet brokers.

  • Choose ports and speeds

    Select the ports to be used (the ones that were connected), as well as the speeds for the ports. Then, IFC will show all the ports in a single interface.

  • Use IFC

    Now, manage all visibility in a single interface.

    • You can send data accessed from anywhere to tools in a central location or across locations.
    • Apply Ixia's visibility intelligence portfolio — NetStack, PacketStack, SecureStack and AppStack —  across the fabric, regardless of which chassis has the physical resource.

    Visibility management is simplified.