ControlTower Gains FabricPath Stripping

Networking technology continues to evolve. An example of such evolution is the development of something called FabricPath. FabricPath was invented by Cisco® in, or about, 2010 for their Nexus line of switches (e.g., Nexus 7000 and Nexus 5500) as part of their 3.0 release of VMDC. The key benefit of this technology is that it eliminates the complexities of Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) and thereby enables the building of massively scalable and flexible data centers. To accomplish this, FabricPath adds a new header to the frames that enter the fabric. This encapsulation header contains the source and destination addresses.


Source = VMDC 3.0 Introduction

One of the challenges with the deployment of new encapsulation technologies such as FabricPath is that they create blind spots from a monitoring perspective. You need to be able to “un do” this encapsulation to prevent blind spots. The reason the blind spots will appear in your network is because any legacy monitoring tools will probably not understand the FabricPath headers. If they don’t understand the headers then they’ll either discard the packet or put aside in the buffer. In either case, a blind spot appears as certain data packets can’t be properly processed and analyzed. Therefore, the encapsulated traffic is effectively hidden from the monitoring tools.

The great news is that Ixia just released a solution to help you maintain visibility into a FabricPath encapsulated network traffic. Our new NVOS 4.2 software for the Ixia Anue Net Tool Optimizer (NTO) includes a new feature that enables you to strip off the FabricPath headers so your monitoring tools can continue to deliver visibility into the network.

In addition to the new FabricPath stripping capability, the NVOS 4.2 software release also supports other new features like:

  • Advanced Feature Module (AFM16) enhancements
  • Improved filter configuration capabilities that simplify more sophisticated filtering
  • User interface improvements that make it easier to work with hundreds of ports

More information about Ixia network performance, network security, and network visibility solutions, and how they can help generate the insight needed for your business, is available on the Ixia website.

Additional Resources:

Video: Network visibility solutions

Thanks to Ixia for the article.


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