Mobile Service Providers are significantly challenged with demonstrating more value quickly at a reasonable price in an environment that is hyper competitive.  In addition, the crushing weight of data to gain the visibility needed is growing at an exponential rate.  One of the technology drivers to make the network much more flexible to help service providers achieve this goal is Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).

NFV completely changes how networks are designed, built and managed.   NFV pulls the functions necessary to run networks off of the current proprietary hardware and places it on open-based computer servers that can be deployed where they are needed most. Functions can be deployed and scaled on demand, thus greatly improving infrastructure utilization, providing more dynamic service creation ability, while significantly bending the network cost curve growth.  However, this new paradigm presents new challenges in providing service assurance of these networks.  One of the key challenges is ensuring full visibility of network traffic.

In current physical network deployments, sending traffic to a monitoring system requires a device such as a physical TAP or a switch SPAN (mirror) port.  This is a very static configuration and typically does not change over time.

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Virtual network deployments utilize hardware switching concepts in software.  In this model, traffic can send between two virtual ports without traversing a physical switch.  In addition, virtual machines can be created, moved and/or deleted.  Without the correct monitoring points in these dynamic networks, you will have gaps in your network visibility.

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New monitoring techniques are necessary in order to ensure network visibility in an NFV world such as embedded virtual TAPs, TAP Virtual Network Functions, and vSwitch mirroring.  One of these is being demonstrated at the OpenStack Summit in Austin, Texas from April 25-29.  With Gigamon’s GigaVUE-VM, the Viavi xSIGHT solution is able to maintain service assurance as we transition to a virtual environment.  If you will be attending the event, stop by the Gigamon booth in the OpenStack Marketplace Expo (C28) and check it out!

Traffic visibility is an important first step in transitioning network monitoring solutions from a physical to virtual world enabling service providers a competitive advantage.  With its open architecture and real-time responsiveness, the xSIGHT solution is well positioned to provide the “closed-loop” assurance that service providers will require in an NFV environment.

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