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NetScout ’embraces disruption’ by scrapping proprietary hardware in PFS

Netscout has shown off new software-driven additions to its nGenius packet flow system products family at the Cisco Live conference in Las Vegas. Making the PFS 5000 models software-driven divorces them from purpose-built hardware and enables operation on commercial off-the-shelf (white-box) switches. According to Netscout, the products deliver a new packet broker architecture and offer network packet brokers an open compute platform option.

Stephen Collins, network visibility and analytics analyst at ACG Research, said that Netscout is “embracing disruption” with its new products. “The value in networking is moving from specialised, purpose-built hardware to software-driven open compute platforms that scale easily while ensuring flexibility and agility for enterprise and service provider network operators, and Netscout is helping its customers realise this value.”

The PFS 5000 products are being treated as a first step towards the complete disaggregation of network packet broker functionality. By using a controller-less open compute approach, the company says that its customers gain ‘significant flexibility.’ Scalability is automated and network visibility is ‘more agile’.

Customers can use the software-driven models in stand-alone deployments or with other PFS products, all of which use Netscout’s Packet Flow Operation System. The PFS 5000 products operate at speeds of 10-100Gbps and use a self-organising mesh technology called pfsMesh, enabling them to scale on-demand for networking monitoring needs. The mesh system connects multiple packet flow systems together in real-time as needed.

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