Procera announced something very important today, and it may not be the exact thing you are thinking of. Yes, we did announce the acquisition of Vineyard Networks, but that was an event, and it is the result of that acquisition that signals a big change going forward. We have long believed at Procera that Deep Packet Inspection was simply a technology, and we have consistently communicated that through our use of Intelligent Policy Enforcement (where we use DPI as our core technology). The combination of Vineyard and Procera takes the two technology leaders in the DPI and offers the industry an opportunity to embed, not just DPI, but “Intelligence” into devices all throughout the network.
Cloud-based services and Software Defined Networking are blurring the line between enterprises and service provider networks. Consumers are increasingly taking advantage of “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)” policies within enterprises, and are accessing content from multiple devices and networks, both as a consumer and as an enterprise telecommuter. Network operators are expected to deliver consistent services across all access infrastructures, and enterprises are looking for greater visibility and control over the security of their networks. The expectations of consumers for a high quality of experience are sky high, as they have come to depend on these cloud services – whether it is for Social Networking, video streaming, photo sharing, or synchronization of their media libraries with services like iCloud or Dropbox. Network operators are struggling to meet these expectations within their current capital budgets. The growing volume of traffic on both enterprises and ISPs networks require a greater level of network intelligence that can only be provided through solutions that provide context for data for both analytics and control. The growing power of general purpose CPUs has also been a great enabler, as no longer are ASICs or even NPUs required for high performance packet processing.
Intelligence needs to be spread throughout the network, and many systems are attempting to add “DPI” functionality to their portfolio. However, DPI is a highly specialized function, and evolving constantly to keep up with the changing application and content landscape. Many network equipment vendors and telecom equipment manufacturers are looking for packaged solutions in this area rather than trying to build solutions from scratch, and want a brand name with the largest signature library available. The reason that they are looking for a package is to meet the time-to-market competitive pressures, as more and more vendors are attempting to add the capability to their solutions, and being late to market could be devastating to a product. This need has been what has fueled Vineyard’s growth, and Procera saw an opportunity to create an end-to-end solution for consumers, enterprises, and network operators with the combination of the two technologies. Now Procera can offer OEM technology to consumer and enterprise vendors as well as our PacketLogic Products for network operators.
Why is this important?
Software Defined Networking is all about smart networks. The more information available to the network devices, the better the decisions that can be made. Today most policies implemented on routers, switches, and even firewalls are port-based or rudimentary application definitions. “Big Data” gathered from these same devices is based on IPFix or NetFlow, which leverages that same port-based information, and even worse, is normally sampled, missing large amounts of data in a world dominated by Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and social gaming. Network operators and enterprise IT professionals need more intelligence to understand network traffic, and then the same intelligence to be able to enforce business policies on the traffic. It will not be possible for a single device or a single location in the network to control all traffic (although that single location might be able to do a great deal!), and the more intelligence is embedded throughout the network, the better the network will perform. It is also extremely valuable if traffic can be accounted for using the same application definition on the enterprise system as in the service provider. This opens up new service models, gives enterprises better control of traffic on their networks, better quality access into cloud services, and secures BYOD networking.
With the addition of Vineyard Networks, Procera will accelerate the pace of innovation. We have led the market in the areas of performance, scalability, and visibility in service provider networks for the past five years, and we will now be able to offer our technology to networks of any size. We have big plans, and I invite you to join Procera in defining the network of the future – may it be smarter than the network of the past.