Monday, February 20, 2012

Sandvine Vs. Procera - Does DPI Need 100GE Interfaces?

A month ago Procera Networks announced its new top of the line product, the PL-20000, with the industry's first 100GE interfaces. Cam Cullen, Procera's VP Global Marketing, told me then that "their biggest customers are looking for high-capacity and high port density in DPI-based, policy enforcement devices. Some need large number of 10GE ports .. some ask for 100GE ports, now(see "Vendor Review: Procera Launches 100GE DPI Device and Shares Market Insights" - here).

As Procera uses ATCA hardware, they could react quickly to the customer requirements for 100GE interfaces. Sandvine, the leading DPI vendor (revenues-wise), uses its own hardware, and hasn't introduced yet 100GE ports to its high-end product, the PTS-24000. In fact, in a post to the company's blog, Sandvine's CTO, Don Bowman, claims that such ports are not needed and do not make economical sense.

Don claims that the current trend in DPI is to get closer to the network edge, where speed and capacity are still lower. Even if deployed for the classical use case of transit link control, the ROI is bad - "Using simple, but by no means unreasonable, assumptions, a carrier with 100 Gbps of transit will save $1k-$10k per month for a capital investment of ~$500k for a redundant system deployment. Excluding operational expenses (which are definitely not trivial, and will likely run in the ~$100k per year range), this means that a carrier can expect to see a return on investment within 60 to 600 months. I suspect few carriers would invest in such a use case, with the possible exception of extremely remote islands with enormous bandwidth requirements (of which there are none)". 

Don summarizes that  "It bears noting that the forces driving 100GE (primarily economic) are not the same as those that drove the adoption of 10GE (primarily the need to address Internet growth challenges). Service providers, in particular, felt the Internet’s growing pains, so 10GE was of major interest; in fact, Sandvine launched and deployed the industry’s first 10GE policy control solution"

See "Edginess and 100GE" - here.

This is not the first time the two vendors are, politely I must say, fighting. Previously it was about who was the first with sophisticated network analytics features (here).

See also:
  • 100G Announcements for DPI Products - here
  • Verizon Brings 100G and IPv6 "Closer to the Edge" - here 
  • F5 Platform Road Map - 100GE Ports Planed for 2013/14 - here

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