Net Optics Rolls Out Tool for Monitoring 1G, 10G Ethernet Networks

Net Optics' 10G/1G Link Aggregator gives enterprises a way to monitor 10G and 1G Ethernet networks with a single tool. The product lets businesses save money by allowing them to grow their 10GbE environments without having to buy special monitoring tools for them. The 10G/1G Link Aggregator comes as 10GbE begins to make its way into enterprise data centers.

Net Optics is giving enterprises a way to monitor traffic on both 1 Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks.

At the FOSE 2009 show in Washington, D.C., March 10, Net Optics is showing off its 10G/1G Link Aggregator, a 1U device that enables businesses to use their current monitoring tools not only on the 1GbE networks that are common in most data centers, but also on their emerging high-speed 10GbE networks.

In an interview before the show, Net Optics CEO Bob Shaw said that customers have been saying that while they are beginning to use 10GbE technologies, that use is still not widespread. Such businesses don't want to have to buy new monitoring tools just for their limited 10GbE networks, Shaw said.

Net Optics' 10G/1G Link Aggregator solves that problem for them, he said.

"They don't have to use 10 Gigabit tools yet," Shaw said. "They don't have to buy these new tools."

That's a big deal in these current economic times, he said. The current going price for a 1GbE monitoring tool is about $20,000; for a 10GbE tool, it's about $100,000.

"If you don't need to spend $100,000 for 10Gb traffic that isn't totally up and running yet, why spend it?" Shaw said. "You can use what you have today."

The 10G/1G Link Aggregator, which currently is being beta tested and will be generally available at the end of March, aggregates traffic from as many as 10 links with any mix of 1GbE copper and fiber links, 10GbE fiber links, Span ports and monitoring tools. Singlemode and multimode fiber are both supported by the device.

It features four identical monitoring ports, which means that multiple tools or groups to monitor the same data with no conflict. It also offers easy deployment: plug it in and it starts working, with no configuration or device management needed.

The push for 10GbE networking technology in the data center is growing, thanks in large part to such trends as the increased use of virtualization, data center consolidation and dense server form factors. All these are driving the need for faster, higher capacity and more reliable data networks.

Shaw and John Mattes, field applications engineer with Net Optics, said they expect the drive for 10GbE in the data center to continue, despite the ongoing global recession. Money has already been budgeted for such projects, Shaw said. That money might be stretched out over a longer period, but it's not being cut.

In addition, the need for more speed and bandwidth are not going away, and new data centers that are being planned are being laid out with 10GbE in mind. Data center consolidation projects also are reliant on 10GbE.

Shaw's observations mirror what recent reports from Infonetics Research and Dell'Oro Group. Both reports said that the overall Ethernet switch market is getting hit hard by the recession, but that the sales mix is shifting more toward the higher-priced 10GbE products, which Dell'Oro said will be the only segment of the market that sees growth in the first part of 2009.

That trend plays into what Net Optics was aiming for with the 10G/1G Link Aggregator. Because the device automatically peforms data rate and media conversions between different types of network and monitoring ports, 10GbE tools can be used to monitor traffic on both 1Gbps and low-utilization 10 Gbps links, and current 1 Gbps tools can be used to monitor 10 Gbps links.

The devices, which comes in AC-powered and DC-powered models, will start at $19,500.