By: Dan O’Donnell
Welcome to 2012. As the technology parade winds its way down Main Street, pay attention to the little float called Tap and Access. It has been in the parade for a number of years but fresh flowers and new designs are causing a buzz in the curbside crowd.
During the last four years or so, there has been a quiet storm brewing in network monitoring solutions. The tap market has been growing dramatically. The primary driver for this architectural revolution has been broad market acceptance of taps as a permanent architectural element in network monitoring and management solutions.
Why are networks so universally transitioning from Span ports to tap solutions? Here are a few ideas:
• Too few Span ports – With the introduction of many specialized network appliances that all need 24/7 link access, there are not enough Span ports to go around
• In-Line Access – Many new security appliances provide network protection by taking immediate action to resolve threats. These appliances are installed risk-free on network links by connecting through reliable, hardware-based In-Line taps. This method of connecting active appliances is often called a “Virtual In-Line” connection.
• Data Switching and Port Aggregation – As link speed migrates from 100Mbps to 1Gbps to 10Gbps and beyond, there is an increasing need to aggregate multiple lower speed links up to higher end tools. Conversely, there is also a need to distribute core high speed access to multiple lower speed links. These port switching devices provide many sophisticated access features and take their input from taps on the links. This practice provides risk free fail-safe access to the links while the data switches manage and distribute the traffic.
• Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) – This will be a big, big, big transition for 2012. Next Gen Firewalls are ready for prime time. These new versions of firewalls are addressing the more sophisticated threat environment with higher level visibility and control and will be the perimeter security cornerstone of networks. The transition is underway now and the best practice for NGFW connectivity is using In-Line taps.
Network Critical, a global innovator of permanent, modular taps and high speed data switches, aggregators and load balancers, is leading the network access revolution. Tap solutions from simple access to complex aggregation and distribution architectures can be found in the Network Critical product portfolio.
As network operators develop plans for upgrading to NGFW, high speed port aggregation, In-Line security appliances and other specialized access applications, Network Critical will be supporting their access requirements.
Taps and access devices may not be the Grand Marshall of the technology parade in 2012, but the tap market may very well win the Sweepstakes Trophy for fastest growing support technology. Happy New Year!