With Network Function Virtualization/Software-Defined Networking (NFV/SDN) or simply network virtualization, it is no longer possible to tap into physical gigabyte IP-links to access network traffic with traditional packet broker products to groom and aggregate traffic into InfiniStream to create our patented Adaptive Service Intelligence (ASI) metadata to feed nGeniusONE. With virtualization or the cloud, network functions and applications are disaggregated or broken down into modules called microservices to facilitate their operation on common off-the-shelf computing platforms (COTS). These microservices can run on various servers, spinning up in concert to form a service or network nodes, expanding and adding compute resources as demand grows or contracting in kind, and spinning down as demand recedes. With virtualized functions and services distributed randomly in COTS servers in virtualized networks and in cloud networks service providers have virtually no visibility to monitor their performance or to troubleshoot them.
To address this challenge, NETSCOUT developed a software version of our products and announced in June 2017 the general availability of vSCOUT™, vSTREAM™ and virtual nGeniusONE®. These new software based products form a radical new evolution of our product line. While we still sell the “physical” versions of these products, i.e., the product software integrated on packaged hardware, we now offer service providers (and enterprise businesses for the cloud) the option to buy software-only versions of the products.
vSCOUT provides deep visibility into the virtual infrastructure as it can be deployed directly at the virtual machine instance of a (micro) service. vSCOUT has a dual function as both packet forwarder and as a “mini” InfiniStream that delivers a high-level set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). To function at that micro level vSCOUT uses a bare minimum of compute resources and has a unique pricing model that makes it the most cost effective monitoring product in the market.
vSCOUT is designed to work in tandem with vSTREAM by funneling packets seen at that virtual machine level to the vSTREAM. The vSTREAM is, for all practical purposes, a fully functional form of InfiniStream. It is a scalable product that can be assigned a range of compute resources making it flexible and cost effective to deploy in virtual and cloud environments.
Another intended use of our virtual instrumentation products is to become part of the feedback loop for the orchestration layer in NFV/SDN networks. The orchestration layer, as the name implies, directs the assignment of compute resources to bring microservices together in concert and to scale them up or down. Being deployed within the fabric of the virtual infrastructure, vSCOUT and vSTREAM will be able to send information to the orchestrator on the condition of the microservices, such as utilization, latency, and errors to provide indications whether to spin up (or spin down) additional compute resources in response to demand and/or resource performance. At the same time, through the KPIs derived from vSCOUT and vSTREAM, Network Operations and Engineering teams will have visibility to determine the health of a given service and access to the service triage tools of nGeniusONE.
What makes our new, virtualized products truly market leading is their Affordability (Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), Carrier Class Scalability, and our Domain Expertise as the service provider service assurance leader. With our ASI smart data derived from this virtual instrumentation, we bring speed, agility, and confidence to service providers virtualizing the network. With the visibility vSCOUT and vSTREAM bring with ASI and the analytics of nGeniusONE, service providers have powerful tools to aid in their transition to virtualization and the cloud and assure high-quality service delivery.