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Hunting for the Needle in the Network

While many network problems usually manifest themselves only intermittently, their effects can cascade far beyond their initial cause, making it difficult to separate the cause from the effects. Narrowing down the problem to the specific piece of failing equipment, misconfigured application or compromised server, is much like hunting for the proverbial needle in the haystack. The packets look all very much the same, but which is the one that pricks?

Technical problems tend to be persistent and consistent, whatever their cause – the malformated packet sent by the failing equipment causes the same cascade of problems around the network, over and over again until the root cause is discovered and addressed. The challenge is to first clue-in to the nature of the problem, set a mousetrap to catch the problem when it reoccurs, and then trace it back to its root cause. This requires seeing the packets to get the full picture, narrowing the scope of data to be investigated and then drilling down through the network data to get to the pertinent packets triggering the cascades. With the ability to zoom in on the problem and nose around through the network data for clues, the problem packets can no longer hide among all the chaff.

While finding the needle in the network by hand is laborious and haphazard at best, systems such as IPCopper’s Lateral Access Device and USC8032 provide the capacity, processing power and logic to capture millions and billions of packets and make sense of them. They offer packet capture plus the means to make practical use of the data, using multi-dimensional parameters to analyze, order, sort and report. Further, traps may be set to capture instances of specific patterns, sequences or conditions in the network traffic and generate alerts and other actions when the traps are tripped. In other words, they give you the data and the tools to efficiently and meaningfully use the data to investigate and address specific issues and find the needle in the network.

LAD: LateralAccessDevice is software that turns a computer chassis into a high-performance, multi-purpose Internet / network tool that combines multi-dimensional firewalling, network monitoring, access control, packet capture, DNS, NAT and a host of other applications into one easy to use, integrated, high-security package. LAD takes you back to before the Internet!