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  • 20 January 2012 09:53

Gigamon cuts through complexity to enhance Cisco network management

Gigamon’s Traffic Visibility Fabric delivers requisite management data to the appropriate analysis tools

The complexity of today’s networks seems to be in a perpetual state of flux, with TCP/IP and Ethernet networks designed and implemented to support data traffic now expected also to carry voice, video, fax and images. Network administrators also need to ensure that their traffic is secure.

To cope with constant change, organisations have implemented an array of monitoring and management tools to inform and enable their staff to keep the network running. For Cisco networks, tools such as SPAN (Switch Port Analyzer), RSPAN (Remote Switch Port Analyzer), ERSPAN (Encapsulated Remote Switch Port Analyzer), and VACL (VLAN Access List) can aid network professionals in isolating and troubleshooting network issues. But these are all limited in the numbers of ports that can be monitored and effectively managed by the various IT departments (e.g., network operations, security, and application performance).

Today’s high density data environments require more than these tools alone can deliver: enter Gigamon. To manage a network effectively requires that the right network data gets to the right IT department(s). Gigamon’s Traffic Visibility Fabric can deliver the requisite management data to the appropriate analysis tools.

The Gigamon solution is a combination of out-of-band traffic filtering and management in addition to intelligent flow mapping. Data acquired from multiple SPAN ports or taps can be multicast to multiple tools, aggregated to a few consolidated tools, and/or filtered or divided across many instances of the same tools. Gigamon’s solution may be thought of as a ‘traffic cop’ that provides immediate access for ad hoc tool deployment without impacting the production network.

Jim Berkman, Director of Worldwide Channel Marketing, and Anoop Kartha, Technical Marketing Engineer, explains what Gigamon’s solutions do: “Our visibility fabric allows you to connect more than the two tools that you would normally be able to connect to SPAN ports, so we are able to provide pervasive visibility across the network.

“In general we solve a problem that every Cisco user has. There are only so many SPAN ports available to send traffic to the analytical tools ports. We sit in the middle, collect aggregate information flowing through the production network, tap into that information, replicate it, filter out the unwanted data, and then send it to the appropriate tools.

“By filtering the data we’re ensuring that the various tools are not inundated by unwanted and unnecessary data. We can also aggregate information from different parts of the network so that the different tools can be consolidated in one location and don’t have to be spread all across the network. Gigamon can also replicate the information so that it can be sent to multiple locations for redundancy/back-up, etc.”

Recently Gigamon released new technology and software that enable users to capture data flowing between two different Cisco switches (Nexus 5000 and 7000) by stripping out VLAN and MPLS tags then sending this traffic data to analytical tools.

Jim Berkman explains: “We provide a lot of flexibility to manipulate the data beyond simply stripping out the header information before sending it on to the analytical tools. This also is helpful in compliance situations (e.g., HIPPA and PCI) where sensitive data needs to be protected. Additionally, we can reduce the amount of storage space required for keeping management data.”

With over seven years’ experience designing and building intelligent traffic visibility products in the US, Gigamon now serves market leaders within the Fortune 1000, has an installed base spanning 40 countries, and is still growing.

For more information

Paul Hooper, Gigamon Cell: +1 (408) 828-6338 | Office: +1 (408) 493-1337 Email:

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