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Napatech Announces Upgrade, New Intrusion-Detection Features

Napatech has announced an upgrade to its existing network adapter product, the NT20E2. It uses the PCI-Express Gen 2 bus, and it can provide twice as much bandwidth: 25 Gbps compared with the previous generation's 12.5 Gpbs. In addition, the new adapter family is low profile, fitting in half-height slots in the server, whereas the existing product requires a full-height slot. As networks get faster, it can become more difficult to perform intrusion detection on every data packet without interfering with network performance. Napatech is attempting to solve this problem with its line of intrusion-detection network adapters, including two sets of additional features announced this week.

"The challenge when you're monitoring networks is that you have to look at all the packets on the connection you're monitoring," says Daniel Joseph Barry, vice president of marketing for the Copenhagen, Denmark, company. "At 10Gbps, that can be quite a lot. At 15 million packets per/port, with our 2x10 Gbps adapter, that's 30 million packets you have to analyze. Normal Ethernet adapters are not able to handle that - they start dropping packets. They're not able to cope." The company's adapters, in addition to monitoring, also provide a number of offloading and acceleration features that keep traffic moving, such as deduplication, time stamping, reordering, filtering, flow control and frame classification, Barry says.

There are two members of the NT20E2 adapter family. The NT20E2 In-line is used for applications that require both capture and transmit in real-time, such as intrusion-prevention systems and policy-enforcement applications operating at 10 Gbps. The NT20E2 Capture adapter provides 20 Gbps packet capture throughput over the PCI-Express Gen 2 bus. Both provide packet classification with intelligent identification of flows, and flow-filtering and intelligent distribution to up to 32 CPU cores; the Capture adapter also provides merging, dynamic slicing, and deduplication of traffic. Napatech will be providing the adapters in limited quantities in June, Barry says.

Along with the adapter, the company announced two feature sets that take advantage of the new upgrade: Traffic Generation, and Capture and Replay. The Traffic Generation feature set provides full line-rate 20 Gbps Ethernet traffic generation, which lets companies make test equipment. "There are lots of products that can receive at that speed, but not many products that can generate the data to test them," according to Barry.

The Capture and Replay feature set lets users capture data and record it to disk, so if something happens to a network, they can replay the data later on the network, or in a lab, for forensic purposes. The feature sets are available now. The company is also demonstrating at Interop this week a 10 Gbps intrusion-prevention system based on its products. Napatech would not say how much the products cost, which are licensed to other vendors for end-user products. "Appliance vendors can use our adapter to build an appliance built on a standard server," Barry explains.