In order to understand what's going on in a network, you need to have some kind of sensor that reports on traffic. In order to make sense of what's going on in a network over time, however, you need more than just sensors. You need data. Lots of it.
This week, network visibility vendor WildPackets rolled out its WatchPoint 3.0 solution, providing a distributed Big Data network monitoring solution. With WatchPoint 3.0, an enterprise can capture and store granular network data for up to a year in order to optimize networks and troubleshoot issues.
WildPackets CEO Tim McCreery explained to Enterprise Networking Planet that WatchPoint runs in the browser with a dashboard that automatically connects to the remote sensor for data.
WatchPoint 3.0 release improves on its predecessors by an order of magnitude in terms of scale and speed. It delivers those gains via an integrated HP Vertica database, the data backend of the WatchPoint 3.0 solution.
Vertica is a columnar database that can be 30 to 100 times faster than a traditional database, according to McCreery. Previous to the WatchPoint 3.0 release, WildPackets used MySQL and SQLlite databases as the backend.
The physical WatchPoint appliance includes the Vertica database, which leaves a channel open on which to receive data from network sensor devices. The WatchPoint appliance also includes the WatchPoint server, which delivers the interface that web browsers use to access the data.
WildPackets is licensing the Vertica database from HP and bundling it together in a single offering for WatchPoint customers.
WildPacket also offers another network visibility technology, known as Omnipeek. The Omnipeek console provides a different view into network data than what WatchPoint enables.
"The Omnipeek console connects to an individual sensor engine, one at a time," McCreery said. "While you can have multiple windows open, there is no aggregation of the data" but rather a discrete view of the data from a given device.
In contrast, with WatchPoint, data from multiple engines can be viewed and all the data can be aggregated.
Moving forward, WildPackets plans to continue to expand the business by going after new markets, particularly the growing cloud and security areas.
The company also aims to move beyond just the core level of network engineers to a level within the organization that takes a broader, more holistic view of the network.
"For us, it's a chance to appeal to a higher-level person in the organization," McCreery said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.