As people expand the number of applications running in virtual environments, they need to look at visibility whether they can monitor and analyze virtual traffic for ensuring performance or security.
Most companies handle this by placing appliances on the physical network and tracking VM communications when they hit the physical network. This however ignores communications that stay within the virtual host.
If you have multiple VMs within the same virtual host communicating with each other, you’d need to place a software analyzer or probe within the virtual host to monitor the internal communications.
This is a good solution, but it ignores the realities that people want to extend the power of their existing analysis devices into virtual environments. In Network Instrument’s case, people have come to rely on retrospective network analysis in their GigaStor to troubleshoot sporadic problems. GigaStor is like a TiVo for your network capturing terabytes of packets for later playback and analysis. So, rather than being notified of a problem by the user and starting a packet capture, you’re always recording network activities and can simply rewind the network and troubleshoot. Because of the need for hardware, this solution can never be virtualized. So, that’s where the Virtual TAP comes in to complete the virtualized offering. The Virtual TAP copies all communications between VMs on the virtual host and pushes them out to the GigaStor.
So, with this Network Instruments solution you’re able to monitor performance in both virtual and physical environments. You can monitor application and network performance from a single integrated console interface using Observer or enterprise-wide using the Observer Reporting Server. One benefit that we haven’t covered with the Virtual TAP is that you can also push the internal communications out to any other hardware or software product needing access to the virtual environment. Network Instruments is also the first in the performance analysis space to offer this.
Some External Resources
Networking World (March 25)