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Array NFV platform melds ADC functions to virtualized server appliance

With a new NFV platform, Array aims to combine fundamental load-balancing functions with third-party services that include security and management.

Array Networks Inc. has introduced a network functions virtualization, or NFV, platform that blends application...

delivery, security and other networking operations in a single appliance.

The new AVX Series Network Functions Platform, rolled out this week at Interop ITX in Las Vegas, is a series of virtualized servers capable of hosting a variety of Array and third-party applications, said Paul Andersen, director of marketing at Array, based in Milpitas, Calif.

The NFV platform is tailored to enterprises and service providers who are intrigued by NFV's benefits, but concerned about the computing resources and overhead required to manage them.

Array is offering three AVX models, with the largest one capable of supporting 3 million connections a second, up to 32 virtual appliance instances and up to 140 Gbps of throughput. Customers can host a combination of entry, small, medium or large virtual machines on the NFV platform servers, depending upon their requirements.

Brad Casemore, an analyst with IDC, said by combining a cloud-managed NFV platform with virtualized server capabilities on a hardware appliance, Array is trying to resolve the performance tradeoff between dedicated devices and virtual form factors in how NFV is delivered.

"The platform aspect is important," he said, citing Array's support of third-party virtual network functions (VNFs), in addition to fundamental application delivery controller services like load balancing and Secure Sockets Layer VPNs. "That's significant because service providers are embracing NFV so that they no longer need to support a cornucopia of function- and vendor-specific hardware appliances. They want to consolidate, manage and service-chain different VNFs from different vendors on standardized hardware."

For now, Array has certified VNFs from Positive Technologies and Fortinet for web application firewalls and next-generation firewalls, respectively. But security services from other third-party vendors, including Arbor Networks, Imperva Inc. and Palo Alto Networks, can also be used.

For cloud management, the AVX NFV platform appliances support VMware vRealize Orchestrator, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and OpenStack Neutron.

Cloud grows among SMBs, but concerns remain

IT professionals at SMBs have an overwhelmingly positive opinion of the cloud, according to a study conducted by network monitoring vendor Paessler.

The global study of 2,000 IT decision-makers at companies with fewer than 500 employees found 80% of respondents had a favorable opinion of the technology. That said, companies have mostly moved basic operations, such as web hosting, email and file sharing, to cloud-based data centers.

For now, more complex business applications continue to be managed on site, although the study found many organizations do plan to migrate these programs to the cloud in the next 12 to 18 months. Use cases include data backup, network monitoring, customer relationship management, sales and ticket systems.

The shift in workloads comes even as IT managers express concerns about cloud security. Almost half said security is a "big obstacle."

"Migration to the cloud in the SMB market is underway and will inevitably continue. Ultimately, cloud adoption and BYOD will forever change the way small businesses handle IT," said Dirk Paessler, founder and CEO, in a statement. "While cloud will become a major part of how workers experience IT, system administrators will still be managing local area networks, switches and data rooms," he added.

Savvius debuts new versions of monitoring appliance

Savvius Inc. introduced two new versions of its Savvius Insight network monitoring micro-appliance, geared to retailers and other businesses with multiple locations.

The new devices offer faster analysis, larger storage capacities and, in the Insight Plus configuration, VoIP analysis, said Jay Botelho, senior director of products at Savvius, based in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Both versions have multiple 1 Gbps interfaces, "fail-to-wire" bridge ports and support for Savvius' Omnipeek analytics software.

"We took the same software we run in our 2U appliance and put it in this new appliance," Botelho said, adding that the Insight versions are geared to customers that may find it too expensive to put network monitoring and visibility systems in branch or retail locations.

The models are priced at $1,995 for an appliance with 256 GB of capacity and RAM, and $4,395 for a device with 1 TB of capacity and 16 GB of RAM. Multipack discounts are available.

Next Steps

Understanding the basics of NFV

Benefits of SMB migration to the cloud

Looking into monitoring appliances

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