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Lancope Flowsensor 250 Monitors Remote Offices

Lancope is introducing a new Stealthwatch appliance specifically sized and priced for branch offices. The StealthWatch FlowSensor 250 provides NetFlow capabilities for traffic monitoring on smaller networks that may not be large enough to have the NetFlow feature in their routers or switches. The target markets for the FlowSensor 250 are health care institutions, government agencies or retailers that have scores of clinics, offices or stores for which they need network visibility, but the NetFlow feature isn't available on routers or switches at those locations.

Lancope already offers NetFlow appliances for large enterprises that would monitor traffic at speeds as high as 5Gbps, but the FlowSensor 250 operates at a capacity of only 100 megabits per second (Mbps), which is better suited to the network traffic at a remote office. The appliance is on sale in December and will carry a starting price of $2,995.

Stealthwatch monitors network traffic flows--a flow is a connection between two computers--and traces it to a particular software application and to specific data packets, then generates reports for system administrators to study. Flow monitoring is used for application performance and security monitoring of anomalous traffic. The anomalies could be security threats, such as a hacker trying to break into the network or an unethical employee moving a large volume of data off the network. But they could also be relatively harmless spikes in traffic that still slow down normal traffic, said Jim Frey, research director at Enterprise Management Associates.

"A great example is that someone in that remote site decides they want to listen to streaming radio and if it's a relatively low bandwidth link out to that remote site, that streaming audio can eat up 20 percent or even 50 percent of the bandwidth and make everything else slow," Frey said. "In most cases, you just want to get to the root of the problem as quickly as you can to get things back to normal."

Lancope's network an application management tool competes with similar products from CA, HP, NetScout and Network Instruments, Frey said, although he believes Lancope is the first one with an appliance that is sized for remote locations.