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Correct Predictions in the Network Packet Broker (NPB) Space

by Jonah Kowall  |  June 1, 2012  |  8 Comments

In our research published in April (Vendor Landscape for Application-Aware Network Performance Monitoring and Network Packet Brokers – we made some assumptions about this new market which we were covering. Many know this market as Matrix switch, Director, or other tap technologies. We had defined and spoken to the size and growth of this market. We also made some predictions as to what happened and what will happen.

“With NetScout buying Simena in 2011, the long overdue consolidation of the market began. This is providing buyers with more choices, and will lead to lower prices.”

This has started to occur for Netscout, as well as being able to sell significantly more devices that an independent Simena was able to do. Additionally we spoke of the following consolidation:

“While we see this as mostly a stand-alone market, as it has been since inception, we anticipate more NPM players building technologies or making strategic acquisitions — and potentially a larger network or an ADC, a WOC or a general network switching vendor entering the market.”

While we haven’t seen any new entrants in this market yet, we expect that to become a factor. We have started to see additional involvement in companies who are involved in the test/measurement areas as well as the NPM market get involved.

In May alone we saw Anue systems being acquired by Ixia, not only providing them with much needed tight integration in the testing platforms they sell to equipment manufacturers, but also to carriers who can use these technologies for monitoring production data centers.

The acquisition of VSS Monitoring by Danaher this week opens similar use cases as Ixia, but a much larger opportunity around network performance monitoring and security. Danaher is a large holding company which includes Fluke Networks, Visual Networks, and Arbor Networks. These companies can not only help sell additional NPBs in bundled deals, but also provide a tight integration and story around the combined use of technologies. I look forward to hearing more when the strategies around these May acquisitions formulates, and best of luck to those involved in the transactions.


Category: it-operations  monitoring  npb  npm  

Jonah Kowall
Research Vice President
3.5 years with Gartner
20 years IT industry

Jonah Kowall is a research Vice President in Gartner's IT Operations Research group. He focuses on application performance monitoring (APM), Unified Monitoring, Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics (NPMD), Infrastructure Performance Monitoring (IPM), IT Operations Analytics (ITOA), and general application and infrastructure availability and performance monitoring technologies. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Correct Predictions in the Network Packet Broker (NPB) Space

  1. Mark Weiner says:

    Thanks Jonah — you will!

  2. Yasmin says:

    Thanks for your great article!
    Can you tell us how it´s going on?

  3. Jonah Kowall says:

    The article was published at the time of this blog post. I haven’t written anything additional, the only interesting thing which has occurred was the S-1 filing of Gigamon. I still expect some new market competitors later this year, which will probably encourage me to write some research about the market evolution in the NPB space.

  4. Rob says:

    How do you see the introduction of Big Switch’s “Big Tap” impacting this market. It looks to me like the SDN implementation of a NPB will provide a much lower priced, and open, option for customers looking for NPB functionality.

  5. Jonah Kowall says:

    I would say this is something which is feasible for smaller implementations but dealing with high precision forwarding and time stamping are features which often need to be done in hardware.

    There were open source openflow NPB implementations before which were released in the public domain, it was just commercialized by Big Switch.

    Additionally the ADC vendors are able to fill NPB use cases, and those ADC software devices can also be implemented as an openflow module technically, and probably will be in the future.

  6. would say this is something which is feasible for smaller implementations but dealing with high precision

  7. something which is feasible for smaller implementations but dealing with high precision

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