Case Study

Visibility Upgrade Extends Value of Agency Performance and Security Tools Investments

Visibility Upgrade Extends Value of Agency Performance and Security Tools Investments


The Challenge
  • Needed to replace outdated packet brokers that couldn’t support their newer 40 GB core links
  • Lacked visibility into their application services
The Solution
  • nGenius® 6000 and 5000 series packet flow switches
  • nGeniusONE® Service Assurance platform
  • InfiniStreamNG™ appliances with PFX software
The Results
  • Gain access for visibility to packets on high-speed links for service assurance & security monitoring needs
  • Extend value of investment made in monitoring tools

Customer Profile

This Federal Agency supports the needs of consumer businesses across the country, with more than 10,000 employees operating in a headquarters facility and several regional offices throughout the U.S. As a self-funded agency, they rely heavily on their network and data center environments for key applications for document management, Web portals, and financial management services.

The Challenge

This agency had been modernizing their digital environment and had recently upgraded to 40GB segments in the core of their data centers. The existing packet brokers they had been using for years on the 10GB segments were nearing end of life and were unable to be upgraded to support the new high-speed links. The network operations team needed a more sophisticated solution that had greater capacity, enhanced features, and capture speeds.

As a customer-facing entity, any service interruption, downtime, or security event could result in revenue loss, damage to their reputation, and a loss of confidence from their consumers. Furthermore, when employees are unable to rapidly access and process customer requests and transactions across the network, employee productivity goes down and customer service suffers with fewer requests completed during a given period of time. The agency’s IT team was focused on ensuring that as they executed on the strategic plan to modernize the IT infrastructure, the monitoring tools they depended on were not left behind and were properly upgraded and/or replaced.

Solution in Action

IT team engaged in a familiar process of performing market research on the latest technology and capabilities in packet flow switches; investigating vendor and product alternatives; and a structuring a request for proposal (RFP) to narrow down the solutions that met their current and long-term needs. The team identified some key goals for the project:

  • Deploy and provide extensible visibility fabric throughout their distributed data centers
  • Ensure continued use of valuable legacy monitoring tools as the agency’s network speeds and technologies evolved
  • Leverage the packet broker architecture to expand their performance and/or security visibility to meet increasing demands for greater visibility and analysis

After careful evaluation, the team selected a NETSCOUT®, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS)-based solution that included nGenius 5100 and 5010 packet flow switches to be implemented at their ancillary, on-campus data centers feeding an nGenius 6002 packet flow switch deployed at their primary data center for packet de-duplication, advanced filtering, and tool feeding functions. For packet conditioning and advanced filtering at the remote sites, they deployed InfiniStreamNG 2600 series software appliances with nGenius Packet Flow eXtender (PFX) software. And in order to manage the overall solution, they are leveraging the nGenius PFS Fabric Manager. This is providing the organization the flexibility to expand their performance and/or security visibility as their data center environment evolves over time.

They can now tap the 40GB links and distribute traffic, with appropriate filtering as necessary, to the downstream performance and.. security tools that are in place supporting 1GB and 10GB speeds.

The Results

This was a critical project for the agency in order to ensure their customers’ experience as they process essential business requests and transactions. The project was equally important to the employees that work with the public, as well as the IT staff, since the agency’s productivity, reputation, and revenue were all at risk if security and performance monitoring visibility was not available. With this NETSCOUT packet flow switch solution in place, the agency IT team has the packet flow visibility they need across the full data center environment for distribution and aggregation with management through the Fabric Manager.

Beyond maintaining access to the packet traffic in the data centers, the agency is extending the value of the investments made in their performance and security tools. With the nGenius PFS distributing the traffic from the 40GB links to the speeds available on the monitoring tools, they avoided a costly, early replacement and further capital outlay. Additionally, the COTS-based models they selected proved more cost-effective than hardware appliance-based alternatives. The agency is benefiting from a cost-effective and enterprise-wide visibility solution to meet their service assurance and security needs today and into the future.