It’s a reality in our digitally-driven environment: networks play a pivotal role in the functioning of businesses, organizations, and our daily lives. Maintaining network efficiency and security is crucial due to the evolving flow of data. Packet-monitoring solutions provided by Network Packet Brokers (NPBs) are useful in every network, but especially in heavy-traffic-volume situations. NPBs are critical components in network infrastructure, helping IT professionals manage, optimize, and secure data traffic effectively. Read on for a deeper examination of Data Filtering, Deduplication, and NetFlow Generation—three major services among the essential capabilities customers expect from their Network Packet Broker.
Data Filtering is a fundamental function of deep observability that allows network administrators to sift through large amounts of data and then focus resources only on relevant information. This is achieved through the following methods:
- Selective Data Capture: NPB products can capture and inspect packets to identify specific protocols, sources, or destinations. By filtering out irrelevant data, the strain on network resources and monitoring tools is reduced.
- Application and Threat Filtering: NPB tools are capable of classifying traffic based on applications or protocols such as HTTP, DNS, or VoIP. Administrators can set rules to block or allow specific applications, thereby enhancing network security.
- Quality of Service (QoS) Enhancement: The filtering process assists with prioritizing certain types of traffic, ensuring a smoother network experience for critical applications. An optimized flow of data improves network performance and enhances overall network security and efficiency.
Effective data filtering simplifies troubleshooting and enhances security by allowing data center security teams to spend valuable hardware, software, and employee labor on the data that matters most to the business.
Deduplication is another crucial feature of the Network Packet Broker toolset that addresses the issue of redundant data traffic that often clogs networks and monitoring systems. Using a reliable Deduplication product helps network teams optimize data center hardware in several ways:
- Identify & Eliminate Duplicate Packets: NPB tools analyze incoming packets to identify duplications that increase the traffic volume and stress network resources and capacity. These duplicates are often generated due to network topology, device issues, or other factors. Needless duplicate packets are sifted out before the data stream moves to monitoring tools, thus reducing the volume of data to be processed and helping to optimize tool efficiency.
- Improve Monitoring Accuracy: Monitoring tools receive only one-of-a-kind data, guaranteeing precise insights, avoiding false alarms, and mitigating downtime or lost packets due to one or more oversubscribed tools.
Deduplication ensures that network and monitoring resources are used efficiently, minimizing hardware replacement as well as processing and storage costs.
NetFlow Generation is another essential function of a network visibility infrastructure. NetFlow is a protocol developed by Cisco that provides network administrators with valuable insights into traffic patterns, making it a vital tool for network analysis. NPBs offer equipment that can generate NetFlow data for enhanced visibility. Generating NetFlow data for enhanced visibility provides deeper insights when the following tasks are performed:
- Traffic Analysis: NPB solutions collect data points on source and destination IPs, ports, and protocols which are then aggregated to create NetFlow records.
- Performance Monitoring: NetFlow data helps administrators track network performance and identify potential bottlenecks. It also aids in capacity planning and optimization.
- Security and Compliance: NetFlow can be used to detect and investigate suspicious network activities, as well as help companies comply with security regulations through the provision of detailed traffic logs.
Network Packet Brokers and their specialized equipment are indispensable for maintaining network efficiency, security, and visibility. Data Filtering, Deduplication, and NetFlow Generation are just a few of the essential functions that NPBs perform. By implementing these processes—and others that manage traffic flows—organizations can streamline network operations, optimize resource utilization, and enhance overall network performance and security. As network traffic continues to grow, NPBs will remain a cornerstone of effective network management.
Learn more about solutions that perform all three services (Filtering, Deduplication, and NetFlow) like APCON’s HyperEngine blade. To conserve rack space while adding 36 ports up to 100G each, check out the new Advanced IntellaView ACI-4031-E36-3 blade with a 200G Advanced Services Card that performs Packet Deduplication and NetFlow Generation concurrently within the same connection on the same processing engine.