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NPB from your Network Vendor?

by Andrew Lerner  |  August 11, 2014  |  5 Comments

Network packet brokers (NPB) are a network and security practitioner’s best friend. Within Gartner, NPB’s are covered by Vivek Bhalla and Jonah Kowall, but they come up in my client interactions as well (we’re talking networking, after-all). So while Jonah and Vivek are discussing tooling strategy,  differentiation between NPB producs, which solutions match specific usage scenarios, etc….however a lot of the comments on my calls regarding NPB are along the lines of:

“...yeah we looked at that, it was nice, but when we saw the cost, we just didn’t have the budget and/or cannot cost-justify  it…”

or a slight variation

..we deployed them but only in certain parts of the network because it was too expensive…

However, in recent years, some very cost-effective solutions have emerged in the market, enabled by new approaches to delivering NPB offered by networking switching vendors. For example, Arista bakes NPB functionality into its switching operating system (EOS) via a feature called DANZ, while Big Switch Networks has an SDN-based application called Big Tap that runs on their controller. These solutions provide basic NPB functionality at a very attractive price point.  Other network vendors are getting in on the action too, including Cisco via its Monitor Manager SDN app and startup Pluribus Networks‘ with their “inNetwork Analytics”  offering.

I would recommend you check out the Market Guide for Network Packet Brokers that we just published for a deeper dive into this technology, it is a must-read for networking and security folks.

Market Guide for Network Packet Brokers (Vivek Bhalla Jonah Kowall)

http://www.gartner.com/document/2818324

Summary:  The network packet broker market, while mature, remains fragmented. I&O leaders should use this market guide to gain insight into vendor strategies, and how to evaluate and select NPBs to meet their technical and budgetary requirements.

Category: just-published  networking  

Tags: arista  big-switch  cisco  gigamon  npb  pluribus-networks  

Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
4 years at Gartner
19 years IT Industry

Andrew Lerner is a Vice President in Gartner Research. He covers enterprise networking, including data center, campus and WAN with a focus on emerging technologies (SDN, SD-WAN, and Intent-based networking). Read Full Bio


Thoughts on NPB from your Network Vendor?


  1. […] capability to help them differentiate their products, in a similar manner to what Arista does with Network Packet Brokering capability.  While analytics from your networking vendor is a relatively new concept, the use of […]

  2. […] capability to help them differentiate their products, in a similar manner to what Arista does with Network Packet Brokering capability.  While analytics from your networking vendor is a relatively new concept, the use of […]

  3. […] has carried over into the NPB space as well, where Gigamon has disaggregated their GigaVue software from physical appliances and […]

  4. […] has carried over into the NPB space as well, where Gigamon has disaggregated their GigaVue software from physical appliances and […]

  5. […] a programmable Ethernet Fabric, supports switching dissagregation and offers a lightweight and cost effective packet brokering solution.  Appcito is a cloud-resident, software-based application delivery controller that offers a […]



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