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Promiscuity…the real problem behind many network failures

Net Optics Promiscuous mode on TapsWhat’s so bad about being promiscuous? After all, a variety of companies have built their reputation endorsing promiscuity.  That chorus of voices is lulling enterprises and SMBs into a false sense of efficiency and effectiveness. Of course, the promiscuity I refer to here is promiscuous mode.  Aside from Net Optics’ Phantom Virtual Tap, most solutions available today require that the virtual switch placed in promiscuous mode, which cuts switch capacity by up to 50%.  This model of network architecting demands an abundance of memory and computing power and “steals” resources from the hypervisor.  The Phantom operates in kernel, requiring minimal resources in comparison.

Why is this issue so critical to address?  Currently, there’s a lack of visibility into inter-VM traffic. With the Phantom, Net Optics released the first ever virtualization Tap, with the goal of providing the same level of visibility in the virtual network that we provide in the physical network.

Many companies operate blindly in the virtual sphere without realizing it.  The virtual networking of hypervisors leaves traffic traversing virtual networks invisible to physical tools. If you do not have fine-grained monitoring and visibility across your virtual network then you are blind to security threats, financial risks, and to the unknown. And in this case, what you don’t know can hurt you.

Inter-VM traffic is invisible to physical security and monitoring but the problem isn’t properly addressed by installing agents on every VM or using spanning virtual switch ports because they place a significant burden on the hypervisor without providing total visibility.

Inter VM visibility is best achieved with an external virtualization Tap.  Many existing solutions complement a specific set of tools or functions – limiting or eliminating your “freedom of choice” when it comes to consuming the monitored traffic.

Since the Phantom is engineered to bridge virtual traffic to physical monitoring tools, it instantly lets you find security breaches and resolve problems before they affect the integrity of your data center. As its name implies, the Phantom is non-intrusive and non-disruptive. It gets the job done without requiring virtual appliances, promiscuous probes or modification to existing environments.

Written by Bob Shaw at Net Optics

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Monday, 25 October 2021

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