GigaStor Portable: Mobile Tivo for the Network Engineer

The new portable network analysis appliance can be used to troubleshoot periodic network, application and security problems that are hard to recreate.

Network Instruments will bring a portable, Tivo-like appliance to the thorny task of finding and resolving intermittent problems on remote network segments.

The company plans to introduce its new GigaStor Portable network probe on May 15.

The privately held company brought portability to its GigaStor packet capture and network analysis tool, allowing engineers to install the device on any network segment and record up to weeks of network traffic for later playback.

The new portable network analysis appliance, which will be demonstrated at Interop the week of May 21, can be used to troubleshoot periodic network, application and security problems that are hard to recreate.

/zimages/3/28571.gifRead more here about Network Instruments security forensics functions.

The Minneapolis company was surprised to find many existing GigaStor customers wanted a mobile "forensics" device that offered greater flexibility than the existing rack-mounted version, according to Charles Thompson, sales engineering manager at Network Instruments.

"GigaStor had always been rack mounted and permanently deployed in the core of the network or data center. Customers had too many facilities and wanted to move site-to-site with one, deploy it onsite and run it for a few days," he said.

Although competitors such as Network General and Wild Packets market portable protocol analyzers and fixed packet capture probes, none to date has offered a mobile appliance capable of capturing and storing large amounts of network traffic at wire speed, according to Steve Steinke, senior analyst with The 451 Group in San Francisco.

"Network General and Wild Packets can do that Tivo job, too, just not in a portable way so far," he said.

Both enterprise customers and service providers want to use the GigaStor Portable for performing network readiness assessments for Voice Over IP deployments or for SAN deployments. "Its also good for post-deployment troubleshooting to identify what happened, when and why and then resolve (the problem) quickly so the customer has a good experience," said Thompson.

The GigaStor, which supports multi-port configurations, can analyze traffic on Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet, LAN, WAN, wireless and Fibre Channel links. It includes the necessary taps to install the unit inline, or it can be linked on the SPAN port of a network switch. It includes 1.5 TB of storage and weighs less than 23 pounds – and less than 50 pounds with the shipping case. Its available now and starts at $26,995.

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