by Timothy Waters, VP, Marketing
In 2007, the deep packet inspection industry experienced a fundamental shift in the role of the network infrastructure, from one of basic network connectivity to now a software driven, policy-centric network whereby IT professionals have significantly greater understanding and control over packets traversing their network. While network connectivity infrastructure is primarily a hardware discipline, the most suitable architecture supporting policy-centric networking is one that is software-defined, leveraging deep packet inspection and processing (DPI/DPS) technology.
During this past year, enterprises as well as service providers around the globe moved forward in the planning and implementation process of converging legacy and future network services to a common, policy-centric, IP infrastructure. While global policy-centric IP networks continued to provide great opportunities for growth and business transformation in 2007, they also presented a new set of challenges for the IT professionals operating these networks. Specifically, as legacy cash-cow services migrated to IP, service providers aggressively moved to create new value-added, policy-centric IP services (above and beyond basic Internet access) to generate revenue growth with high profit margins. Furthermore, as threats of DDOS and other network attacks escalated, enterprises as well as carriers were again in need of advanced, policy-centric technologies to further protect their networks from current and emerging security threats.
Traditional network elements (switches and routers) are not designed to meet these emerging infrastructure demands, specifically the combination of increased compute processing and higher speed networking required as part of policy-centric network deployments. This collision of computing and networking represents one of the most significant paradigm shifts in network system design since the advent of the switch and router. To combine a rich, policy-based system with the demands of high-speed networking requires a new type of network element: DPI Network Appliance Platforms.
Deep packet inspection and processing (DPI/DPS), both the underlying technology and associated platforms and applications, clearly came into the market mainstream in 2007. DPI/DPS network appliance platforms provide a high level of packet inspection and processing power to handle real-time complex analysis and action at core network speeds without introducing significant latencies. From a user perspective, DPI products give IT professionals the ability to monitor and control traffic at all layers of the protocol stack (including the application layer), based on a set of policies. Our industry experienced a proliferation of IDS/IPS, network behavioral analysis (NBA), URL filtering, content management, email security and packet capture solutions, all of which rely on DPI/DPS technology.
During 2007, Bivio Networks led the networking industry with an innovative, scalable, software-based computing architecture, realized in a family of 10 Gbps deep packet inspection and processing platforms. Bivio is the leading supplier of DPI/DPS appliance platforms enabling enterprises and service providers the ability to deploy a variety of policy-centric, wire-speed DPI/DPS network applications throughout their networks. Their deep packet inspection and processing platforms combine unparalleled scaling of network performance, processing power, and application agility. They also feature an architecture specifically optimized for wire-speed execution of emerging network services that increasingly demand deep packet inspection and processing combined with high network throughput.
Historically, enterprises and service providers have deployed the first generation of DPI products throughout their networks. These are application-specific point products targeted at solving specific problems in the network; for example, controlling P2P traffic, preventing network intrusions (IDP), or implementing network access control based on identity and policy.
2007 represented a break-out year for deep packet inspection and processing technology and products as many IT professionals embraced the infrastructure migration to policy-centric networking demonstrated by the rapid deployment of DPI appliance platforms required to more effective manage and control all layers of the networking stack, said Dr. Elan Amir, President and CEO, Bivio Networks. We fully expect a continuation of this paradigm shift in networking in 2008 with the deployment of DPI devices at an even faster pace.
Though many of these products are adept at solving a specific problem, they are not flexible enough to resolve the emerging network challenges or implement new services as infrastructure dynamics and requirements change. Application-specific DPI products cannot effectively keep pace with the velocity of change required to respond in a timely manner to new requirements. This means innovative hardware needs to be added to the network as new requirements emerge.
In order to avoid adding new hardware and redesigning networks as requirements change, Bivio Networks has lead the industry with the introduction of next generation programmable DPI products. Programmable DPI products allow IT professionals the ability to run multiple DPI applications at line speed, adding new functionality using software only updates. These applications can provide bandwidth-on-demand, traffic management, intrusion detection and prevention, usage based billing, content insertion, security services, and other complex application layer services. Using Bivios programmable DPI architecture, enterprises and service providers have the flexibility to implement new value added services while optimizing network traffic and securing the network from security threats.
From a product deployment perspective, 2008 should be a year of rapid acceleration of DPI/DPS platforms and associated applications, such as bandwidth and traffic management, data leakage, packet capture, intrusion detection and prevention, usage based billing, URL and content filtering, as well as content insertion.
Market segments, to include service providers, government agencies and enterprises, particularly in vertical markets to include financial and health care services, will continue to adopt DPI/DPS solutions to drive both top line opportunities as well as more effectively manage and control capital expenses (CAPEX), operating expenses (OPEX), network security and compliance metrics.
It is worth noting this phenomenon is global as we predict such DPI/DPS deployments will continue to proliferate onto networks, not only throughout the Americas, but also in Europe, Asia, as well as the Middle East.
Tim Waters has more than 18 years of experience in marketing data and telecommunications products and services. He is responsible for overall marketing and product management of Bivio networking appliances.
Prior to joining Bivio, Waters was vice president of marketing and business development at NetDevices, Inc. and he has held similar positions at SkyStream Networks and Onetta, Inc. Waters holds an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration and a BA in economics from College of the Holy Cross.