Recently, I was asked by one of our long-time customers whether Plixer had abandoned its traditional Network Performance Monitoring & Diagnostics (NPMD) and Network Traffic Analytics (NTA) focus. They felt that since the acquisition of Plixer by Battery Private Equity several years ago, our product direction had pivoted towards the security-focused Network Detection and Response (NDR) market. 

My response to their question was an emphatic NO! Plixer has a 22-year track record of success in network traffic analysis and performance monitoring solutions, and we continue to provide our customers with advanced capabilities to address their NPM needs.

Network performance monitoring needs have evolved

While the core mission of NetOps teams has remained the same—focused on meeting key SLAs (service level agreements) around network performance, scalability, and availability—businesses today are undergoing major changes that affect the delivery of these network monitoring and management activities. These impacts include:

Expanded enterprise network fabric: Over the past several years, there has been great deal of technology change introduced to support digital business transformation initiatives. SD-WAN adoption, growth of IoT devices, cloud native and container-based applications/service meshes, and support for hybrid multi-cloud environments have contributed to an increasingly complex and diverse multivendor corporate network topology.

Changing workloads traversing the corporate network: Stable, predictable corporate network traffic patterns have been upended by work-from-home employee programs, migration of corporate workloads from on-premise to cloud/cloud edge, as well as the resultant impacts to baselining, forecasting, and alerting from the changing network utilization trends.

Lack of skilled personnel and the need to “do more with less”: Rapid technology change in organizations has outpaced the number of people with skills to manage and operate it. This contributes to challenges in troubleshooting/root cause determination, potentially leading to longer network downtimes. IT has expressed the need for increased automation, leveraging resources through cross-functional collaboration (for example, security issues may initially surface as network anomalies), etc.

Plixer has evolved its NPMD solution capabilities to meet these new challenges

Just as customers have had to quickly adapt to these changes, Plixer has continued to evolve and innovate its portfolio of NPMD capabilities over the past several years. To cite some of Plixer’s expanded capabilities:

  • Integration of SD-WAN telemetry to provide real-time, end-to-end network visibility. This can facilitate correlation and contextualization of alerts across the hyperextended corporate network.
  • Ingestion of cloud service provider flow logs, such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, to provide comprehensive visibility of network traffic flows in cloud/hybrid cloud environments.
  • Non-intrusive agentless end-device identification and profiling, including IoT devices. This provides additional context applicable to troubleshooting and for network planning activities (such as network segmentation).
  • Addition of advanced data science capabilities, including unsupervised machine learning. ML can be used to model network baseline traffic measurements and automate forecasting/capacity planning, as well as facilitate rapid network anomaly detection and event correlation.
  • Ability to stream network telemetry to customer data lakes for additional in-house network traffic analysis.
  • Application monitoring via FlowPro probes for improved traffic context, facilitating an end-to-end view of application performance and optimization, and driving improved DevNetOps collaboration opportunities.
  • Seamlessly protect and extend the existing investment in Plixer technology for NetOps use into SecOps via the Plixer Security Intelligence (PSI) add-on module, affording a common view of network traffic across both organizations.
  • Completely new workflow-based user interface to streamline and optimize network operations, including visualizations and collaborative investigation/triage capabilities.
  • Support for flexible solution deployment models, including on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid.

Plixer’s continued commitment and leadership in the network performance monitoring segment has been featured recently in reports from several industry analyst firms, including Gartner and GigaOM. Here are links to these reports (paywalled):

In summary

Going back to the original customer conversation that sparked this blog: comprehensive and continuous network traffic analysis is a fundamental capability that can be leveraged by both NetOps and SecOps teams. This has evolved to become a widely adopted IT infrastructure monitoring solution, equally valid in addressing traditional network performance, scalability, and availability concerns, as well as for security use cases. Plixer continues to innovate with new capabilities that complement both functional areas.

To learn more about Plixer’s capabilities to improve your network operations, visit our Network Operations page or contact us directly.

George Matthews

George Matthews is head of Product Management at Plixer. He has over 25 years of experience bringing enterprise and cloud products to market. Prior to Plixer, George held various product and engineering roles at McAfee, RSA Security, and EMC. He holds a Master’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).