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***For Immediate Release***
Network Measurement Icons ntop.org and cPacket Forge "100 Gig" Development and Marketing Partnership
Granular Network Flow Monitoring at Ultra-high Rates the Goal as Open Source Meets Complete Packet Inspection
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA and – PISA, ITALY, FEBRUARY 12, 2009 – Renowned open source network traffic monitoring guru, Dr. Luca Deri, founder of ntop.org, and Rony Kay, CEO of chipmaker cPacket, Inc., jointly announced that their two organizations have forged a development and marketing partnership called the "NTOP NG Initiative". The goal of the initiative is to marry ntop.org's widely-used open source network flow monitoring software nTop and nProbe with cPacket's "Pervasive Network Intelligence™ chips to produce accurate flow monitoring at data rates from 10 gigabits per second to 100 gigabits, and beyond.
The expected first product of the initiative will be a 10 gigabit NetFlow-compliant hardware probe that will be offered through nmon.net, ntop.org's commercial distribution subsidiary, and through several of cPacket's OEM partners. The probe will permit wire-speed monitoring and management to any level of granularity. Eventually, however OEMs will be able to license cPacket-capable probe software for pervasive use in their switch and routers products.
The improvement in price-performance over today's expensive and limited performance NetFlow probes is expected to range from 10-to-1 to 100-to-1, enabling OEM products designed for virtually any market segment — from modest branch office, to enterprise, datacenter, service providers, and carriers — to offer pervasive network intelligence.
"We are in the throes of a market shift to wide deployment of 10 gig networks with 40 and 100 gig aggregation," said Deri, also a research scientist and a lecturer at the University of Pisa. "The demands that this places on network monitoring software is profound."
Deri said that the result is that existing NetFlow probes in switches and routers have been reduced to sampling techniques that hide critical behaviors like spikes or microbursts, and do not support interactive drill-down for granular event monitoring and troubleshooting. "Any Network management applications that depend on real-time visibility are effectively neutered," he said.
nProbe and nTop software tools support network standards like NetFlow and sFlow, designed to collect IP traffic information. They grew out the work of Deri and his open source organization ntop.org, and were originally conceived to run under LINUX on commodity hardware serving as network flow monitors and traffic visibility dashboards. But, said Deri, with the market shift to 10 Gbps networks and beyond, the software cannot do it alone. "From this point," said Deri, "the software absolutely must be supported with pre-processing by high-speed, cost-effective hardware, to alleviate the now-tedious computational burden from the CPU." Enter cPacket.
"cPacket has engineered a revolutionary chip and hardware architecture that enables efficient preprocessing and counting based on inspection of every bit in every packet at full line rates," explained Deri. Current cPacket chips, which are in use in a variety of OEM and cPacket "reference" products, can easily support such preprocessing and counting at 10 gigabit duplex or 20 gigabit simplex line rates. The architecture, however, can scale to 100 Gbps and beyond. "It's this remarkable capability that will be harnessed in the NTOP NG Initiative," said Deri.
From his perspective, cPacket's Rony Kay sees the benefits in terms of "pervasive network intelligence". "Every switch and router in a network needs to be able to offer reliable real-time network visibility with deterministic performance under any traffic conditions," said Kay. "The only way this can occur at today's skyrocketing data rates is through embedding high-speed and cost-effective hardware modules that can support real-time visibility, proactive monitoring, triggers, and troubleshooting — right into the switches and routers."
And, said Kay, the devil is in the details. Some of the most important events, he explained, occur at a low frequency, and are typically lost when the monitoring software is reduced under stress loads to sampling. "Our NetFlow initiative with ntop will yield performance monitoring at 10 gigabits on a second-by-second basis, while providing triggers to initiate drilldowns to subset flows of interest. Those triggers can be based upon specific events, or on the ability to 'grep' for very specific slices of traffic.
"This is just what network managers are crying for as they migrate to 10 gigabits and beyond," concluded Kay.
The nTop project was started by Dr. Luca Deri in 1998. Its original goal was to create a new web-based monitoring application that could give users a simple and unified console for controlling heterogeneous network sensors. Since that time, the project has significantly expanded beyond the original nTop, to include nProbe — a high-speed NetFlow/IPFIX probe, and other utilities such as PF_RING, a Linux kernel extension. Today nTop is the recognized leader in its domain, and has become an industry-standard application being used by thousands of users across the Internet. In 2007, the commercial venture nmon was established as the outlet for commercial network monitoring solutions based on nTop.
cPacket Networks is an emerging leader in chips and technologies that offers breakthrough, Pervasive Network Intelligence™ at a fraction of the complexity, power, or cost of preexisting approaches. Based upon its powerful "complete packet inspection" architecture, cPacket provides manufacturers of routers, switches and other network appliances a low-impact means to easily drop game-changing, wire-speed active network traffic analysis and response directly into their existing or planned designs — whether targeted at the service providers, the enterprise, or the small office. The exploding use of 10 Gbps networks and beyond to support a relentless growth in media-centric applications makes the availability of truly pervasive network intelligence timely and critical.
cPacket was founded in 2003 and is located in Mountain View, CA. For more information, visit www.cpacket.com.