Big Switch addresses data center scaling issues with SDN

Big Switch Networks, a data center networking company, unveiled a new capability of its SDN-based Big Monitoring (Big Mon) Fabric called GPRS Tunneling Protocol (GTP) correlation. According to the company, Big Switch will provide the GTP correlation solution using its Big Mon Service Node architecture in the Big Mon Fabric to meet the high-bandwidth needs of service providers.

GTP is a way to carry mobile data within the core of an operator’s network. In particular, it allows users to travel while staying connected to the web. With mobile communications on the rise, service providers are challenged to ensure a positive end-sure experience while maintaining the performance of their networks, which has created a need to correlate GTP control and data traffic on a per-subscriber level.

“The growing number of mobile subscribers has led to an increase in the number of subscriber sessions that Service Providers need to handle,” Praful Bhaidasna, director of product management, Big Switch Networks, told RCR Wireless News. “Scale is the most critical consideration in evaluating a GTP correlation solution. The ability to accommodate IMEI AND IMSI groups for the purposes of filtering and load balancing must also be considered in order to ensure an even distribution of traffic across a large number of monitoring and security tools.”

Conventionally, service providers had to use specialized network packet brokers (NPBs) — devices that provide a set of monitoring tools with access to traffic from across the network — to achieve GTP correlation. Unfortunately, legacy approaches are challenged to perform correlation across multiple tools due to limited scale, management and filter capabilities.

Big Mon’s Fabric is a next-generation NPB that uses SDN principles to provide scale-out data center monitoring. Big Switch’s approach to achieving scalable GTP correlation involves leveraging one or more Big Mon Service Nodes inserted alongside Big Mon Fabric’s visibility nodes to meet bandwidth and throughput requirements.

“Big Mon enables order of magnitude greater scale than any other network packet broker platform,” said Bhaidasna. “Multiple Big Mon Service Nodes can be clustered to deliver multi-terabit performance, thus serving tens of millions of subscribers. As subscribers grow and traffic increases, GTP correlation can be scaled within Big Mon in order to keep up with greater amounts of user traffic — particularly important as carriers transition to 5G.”

According to the company, Big Mon’s GTP correlation supports one or more Intel x86 DPDK-based Big Mon Service Nodes, which are centrally managed by the Big Mon SDN Controller. What makes Big Switch’s GTP correlation offering different is how the Big Monitoring Fabric Service Node allocates processing resources to GTP correlation, providing mobile operators with GTP correlation performance that can be scaled out as needed.

Among the key benefits of the solution, Big Mon’s Fabric with GTP correlation allows mobile service providers to view per subscriber session information for large numbers of simultaneous users; ensures the correct tool receives appropriate subscriber data; and optimizes tool performance by minimizing the processing loads of tools.

“Mobile Service Providers must deliver a high quality user experience in order to remain competitive, so ensuring available monitoring tools receive the right data from the network in order to determine service performance per subscriber is critical,” said Prashant Gandhi, chief product officer at Big Switch Networks. “Big Mon introduces a completely different and much more efficient GTP processing design for mobile traffic correlation. By leveraging its SDN-based architecture and scalable Service Node for advanced processing, Big Mon becomes a highly elastic network visibility platform for Service Providers.”

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