Q&A with Tony Zirnoon of VSS Monitoring
VSM: VSS Monitoring recently launched some new functionality for visibility and analysis of network traffic in virtualized environments. Can you provide us with a brief overview of the company?
TZ: Sure. Founded in 2003, and with thousands of customers worldwide, VSS Monitoring is the leader in Network Intelligence Optimization, providing a visionary, systems-approach for optimizing and scaling the connectivity between network switching and the entire network intelligence ecosystem of analytics, inline security, and WAN acceleration tools. VSS Monitoring is a leader in the recently coined network packet broker market (see Gartner Landscape for Application-Aware Network Performance Monitoring and Network Packet Brokers), delivering a unique systems-based approach for brokering packets that optimizes network intelligence tools for scalability and expanded visibility across networks. It simplifies complexity, increases efficiencies and delivers higher ROI in terms of greater, accelerated cost savings. And this network visibility and optimization doesn’t stop at the physical perimeter, now it extends into virtual environments, as well.
VSM: And, what about the recent announcement around virtual network tag (VN-Tag) stripping and filtering solution?
TZ: The VSS Monitoring network packet broker appliances uniquely support VN-Tag stripping and filtering. This gives enterprises dynamic access, selective visibility, and management of all packets across physical and virtual environments. Most performance monitoring and security tools, as well as traffic aggregation devices, do not have the capability to provide visibility into or inspect virtual traffic when VN-Tags are used to deliver packets between virtual and physical Cisco Nexus switching infrastructures.
Now, enterprises offloading virtual traffic switching to their existing physical switching infrastructure can access this virtual network traffic for monitoring, analysis and security with VSS Monitoring VN-Tag stripping and filtering functionality, all without changing their existing tools.
VSM: What are the most significant issues around optimizing network performance and security in virtual environments?
TZ: The main issues are access and visibility. Virtualized environments can be very large with limited physical access points and large amounts of data that need to be visible to many security and performance analytics, data loss prevention (DLP), quality of service, and acceleration tools. IT and Information Security personnel need end-to-end visibility into both virtual and physical network segments to know how the application is performing and how the data is being accessed and used across physical and virtual network boundaries. As virtual environments continue to grow, more and more tools are fighting for access to the virtualized hypervisor. This presents a challenge because these environments are already resource intensive, and adding layers of more virtualized tools is not an easy or familiar task.
VSM: Why is it so difficult to monitor virtual network traffic?
TZ: As mentioned earlier, virtual environments are very large and growing, and provide limited access points to monitor desired traffic with either virtual or physical security and monitoring tools already deployed or being deployed.