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Navigating the edges: using Ixia Vision to monitor edge computing 

27th January 2020

Conceptually, network defence follows the same rules as any other: the closer to the edge a vulnerability exists, the harder it is to watch over and protect. Invaders begin at the walls and make their way to the seat of power. To address this, many network managers have shifted their focus from housed, on-premise network infrastructure to that which exists on the outside – at the network’s edge.

As network devices are required further from the network’s centre – disparately distributed across global networks – so too must network infrastructure and monitoring evolve to support them: the need to extend our networks close to activities underscores the popularity of edge computing.

Edge computing allows network administrators to deliver a consistent experience – in performance, reliability and speed – to end-users, no matter their location. Gone is the understanding that remote locations will have compromised connections; now, end-users expect consistency and reliability from wherever they connect. Your network needs to go to where your customers are. According to Reportbuyer, edge computing will grow by an estimated CAGR of 34% through to 2024. This will be led by the Banking and Financial Services sector, but it’ll also be propelled by the accelerated transition to IoT.

Monitoring the edges

As networks evolve, so too must network performance monitoring and analysis. Edge computing requires a similar and complementary level of oversight and insight. There are options available – enterprise APM and NPM solutions or deploying enterprise-scale solutions at remote sites, for example – but most are time-consuming and costly (especially when deployed at scale).

A better option resides in edge monitoring solutions. These collect traffic generated at the source and send it directly to cloud-based APM and NPM solutions, thereby bypassing the data centre. This makes sustainable edge monitoring that can scale with network size and demand possible. Capturing traffic on the edge and passing it on helps identify and resolve performance issues sooner and helps reduce costs.

How to capture edge traffic

Before we can monitor edge traffic, we must first capture it. The industry-leading solution for capturing and filtering packets is network packet brokers (NPBs). But as the data centre is being bypassed, these can’t be just any NPBs: those selected must be purpose-built for edge monitoring and be costed appropriately, in order to be introduced across the network. It will always be more efficient and cost-effective to process traffic at the point it is generated – at the edge. If it needs to be sent through a network before it is processed, you soon encounter limitations to network scalability and capability. Any network strategy looking to the forward must acknowledge the likelihood of more decentralisation, not less: network applications and their users are only going to become more geographically diverse.

Introducing Ixia Vision Edge 10S and Vision Edge 1S

The Vision Edge 10S and Vision Edge 1S are edge-specific versions of Ixia’s industry-leading MBPs. They are sized to monitor a single rack or remote site, and perform packet aggregation and filtering for complete and comprehensive monitoring. Each comes preinstalled with Ixia’s Hawkeye network performance monitoring software, which also enables you to perform performance checks to monitor the experience of end-users: great for remote sites that do not have dedicated IT-support staff. Hawkeye is configured and managed using a cloud-based interface, and allows you to proactively probe for vulnerabilities by processing synthesis traffic through your network and comparing metrics to key performance indicators (KPIs).

Edge computing – the ability to monitor and assess edge traffic – is a necessary inclusion into any future-looking network strategy. Your users are moving; so too must your applications and services. And, equally, must your tools for monitoring evolve, to filter and analysis packets where they’re generated, identify vulnerabilities and ensure a consistent end-user experience. To learn how you can start incorporating Ixia Vision products into your network, contact us today

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