Do you need a Network Packet Broker?
Before you can decide whether you need one or not, let's remember what
General considerations when selecting an NPB
All Network Packet Brokers are not created equal. So before you select the right NPB for your network, make sure you give some thought to these important considerations:
Is your network ‘fixed’?
Understanding your visibility deployments needs will drastically influence your choice of networking hardware. You should select a solution that optimizes the overall cost of your network, your ROI, and ensure that it will serve your network deployment growth in the future.
Depending on your type of network, you will need to choose between a fixed or modular NPB. ‘Fixed’ means that you need one specific type of interface or line rate, for example - you need to monitor 30 x 10Gbs links, that need to connect to a monitoring tool. The alternative is that your deployment needs multiple types of interfaces, or multiple visibility node functionalities, for example, to combine network bypass functionality with network packet broker functionality.
A fixed NPB is typically optimised for port density usually resulting in the best cost per port and minimal
For large visibility deployments, it is typical that there will be a need for both types of NPB’s: some of the network is well established and quite stable, and in that case would need to be optimized for port density. Some other parts of the network are more dynamic and would need room for implementing changes. For these parts, it’s best to use modular NPB units that can accommodate changes in port mix and in functionality.
What functionality does your NPB need to perform?
It's important when choosing your NPB to pick a device that performs all the functions that your network architecture requires. On the other hand, it’s also important to understand which functions you actually don’t need, because those might cause unnecessary extra costs.
Here are some the
In the event that a part of your network goes down, for example, due to a power failure or hardware fault, the network should not fail completely due to networking schemes configured into the NPB. Some NPBs are able to generate sub-second heartbeat packets on data links that automatically detect that the connected appliance is not responding, allowing the user to configure traffic as needed during those events.
Some NPBs support sophisticated load balancing configurations so you can split the traffic load between multiple appliances. Some NPBs support both primary and secondary designation to connected appliances which give you a quick, automated switchover in case of failure. These extra features are in addition to redundant field-replaceable power supplies and fan units.
Traffic grooming/Traffic management
Traffic grooming/management is used to ensure that the correct traffic is directed to the correct tools. This improves the efficiency of your network and each tool. A few of the traffic grooming/management functions include traffic regeneration and hardware-based packet filtering. If you are handling GTP traffic, or you are implementing multi-level filters,
What are the performance requirements of the different services on your network?
Another consideration is the number of ports that you will be using. Does the NPB have a robust switching fabric backplane to handle all those ports at full line-rate? Your network will be running a number of services, and each of these services will have different needs in terms of performance. Can your NPB support the required performance (usually influenced by the ability of the NPB to cope with the amount of traffic that needs to be handled by the switching fabric)? Something important to remember is that you choose a device which will not cause packet loss for sensitive services.