Technical Insights > Network Visibility + Security

Data Center Visibility – Go Big or Stay Blind

2020-12-04  |  3 min read 

One of my coworkers, Guang Zhang, who is one of those quiet, smart, thoughtful people (more or less the opposite of your humble narrator), spent a fair amount of time putting together a really cool piece on designing and deploying visibility infrastructure in data center and virtualized environments, the Keysight Data Center Visibility Deployment Guide.

No span port, tap it here please.
Tap it here and we'll scoop up the virtual traffic later with CloudLens....

This is a good piece because it covers ground that many in the world of IT may not pay much attention to – network visibility. One of those things, like reporting, that all too often is left to do at the end of an implementation when it should in an ideal world really be baked into the plan up front. Much like security, but that is another story for another time.

Changes in the data center, particularly cloud/virtualization, have changed the way visibility works. In the past, it was relatively easy to put taps in a bunch of places, capture traffic, groom it with packet brokers and send it to your tools.

Virtualization has changed all that. What if your traffic is largely between VMs? It may never leave a particular rack. It might not even leave a particular server. Regardless, there is a pretty good likelihood that this east-west traffic may never cross your tap. What then?

The good news is that Keysight has you covered. While a lot of things have changed, some things, like the Battle of the Pointing Fingers and the difficulty many teams have when trying to figure out what the source of trouble is for some sick application that just isn’t performing right, have not. And that is where network visibility comes in. With visibility, you can troubleshoot faster, fix faster and in general deliver more uptime and have happier customers/end-users. Did I mention that we can do this in virtual environments too? Did I mention that is something Guang covers in the app note?

Anyway, tap or span, the importance of deduplication, filtering, encapsulation, application intelligence and a bunch of other interesting topics are included for your consideration in Guang’s app note. Check it out.

Thanks for reading.

Stay safe and build good networks.