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January 19, 2006

Network General plans 10Gb retrospective analysis

Network analysis vendor Network General Corp is preparing to launch the first version of its InfiniStream retrospective technology for 10Gb networks in the second quarter, leaving until later the decision on how to address the issue of data storage for these high-speed links.

By CBR Staff Writer

Network analysis tools fall into two broad camps: the real-time devices that enable admins to drill down to look at what’s happening at the moment, and retrospective ones that give a historical perspective, enabling them to identify trends, recurrent problems, and so on.

San Jose, California-based Network General made its name with its Sniffer real-time tools, and is already offering the ability to analyze traffic on 10Gb networks on the Portable version of that technology. On the retrospective side, the first InfiniStream product is scheduled to appear around April.

In its first iteration, said Stuart Beattie, Network General’s international marketing manager, the product will merely entail an upgrade of the NIC card from the GbE version. We’re looking at around 1.5Gbps of data captured, which means about 7% of the total on a full-duplex link, he said .

However, he said this should not be a problem because take-up of the capacity on faster links is always slow. Our experience with the previous iterations of Ethernet, i.e. the moves from 10Mbps to 100Mbps and from 100Mbps to GbE, was that initial take-up was very light, only around 2%-3%, he said.

This will defer the decision of how to address the huge storage requirement that full data capture of traffic on a heavily utilized 10Gb link would represent. The options most companies are looking at are multiple direct-attached RAID, hand-off to a storage area network, or the introduction of filtering technology to reduce the volume of data that needs to be stored.

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