Protocol analysis vendor Network Instruments LLC has launched a member of its GigaStor retrospective probe family for analyzing wide-area network (WAN) links, with onboard storage up to 8TB and, for the first time, the ability to write directly to a storage area network (SAN).
Protocol analysis technology offerings fall into two broad camps, the real-time products (which for Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Network Instruments is its Observer family of software-only products and its Probes) and retrospective ones (the GigaStor family). The latter are hardware devices and, since they have to store historical data, inevitably come with quantities of hard disk in the box.
The new box, GigaStor-WAN, operates across Ethernet, GbE, Fibre Channel (for storage links) and traditional WAN links. The latter include serial and digital T1/E1, digital T3/DS3/E3 and High-Speed Serial Interface (HSSI), which is a short-distance communications interface that is commonly used to interconnect routing and switching devices on LANs with the higher-speed lines of a WAN.
The ability to write straight to a SAN is important as the volumes of data traversing a WAN, and thus the occupation rate of WAN links, increase. It will become even more significant in the future, as network backbones move to 10Gbps, at which point the onboard storage simply won’t be able to keep up with what it would be required to hold.
Writing to a SAN is one way out of this conundrum, others being to daisy-chain the probes themselves or simply to store data on a selective basis, though the latter runs the risk of the data stored not including the clue to what triggered a particular event on the network.
Network Instruments said the US list price for GigaStor-WAN starts at $16,995 for a 2TB configuration, there being other models with 4TB and 8TB on board. Pricing for the GigaStor-WAN with write-to-SAN capability is $35,000 in the US.