Pluribus Networks expands analytics range in its network monitoring solution

With the enhanced platform in place, Pluribus is able to offer a monitoring solution where the analytics are integrated directly into the network for $75,000 plus support for 100 million flows, with a billion flow bundle coming later this summer.

Pluribus Guy

Mark Harris, Pluribus Networks’ VP of Marketing

Software-defined networking startup Pluribus Networks has significantly expanded the analytics range within its network performance and monitoring solution, with the announcement of its new VCFcenter platform and VCF application portfolio.

“Before, we had our Insight Analytics for our analytics capability,” said Mark Harris, Pluribus Networks’ VP of Marketing. “VCFcenter is a single pane of glass that multiple applications can plug into. Insight Analytics is now one of three applications that wrap inside VCFcenter. The other two applications are new, and are also being announced now.”

The new applications are VCF Shark, which provides fabric-wide deep packet analytics, and VCF Reporting. The updated VCF Insight Analytics 2.0 can still be used as a standalone analytics solution, or plugged into VCFcenter.

Harris said that this expansion of the analytics capability was a planned phase of the expansion of their solution, and was necessary because customers have existing analytics solutions that they don’t want to discard.

“Customers who already have an analytics solution they like, but who also want to use our solution, wanted to be able to plug the other solution in,” he said. “That’s where the need comes from.”

Harris stated that customers want to use VCFcenter as the foundation of their analytics strategy for a very good reason – it delivers top of the line business analytics for much less than competitive solutions.

“Traditional monitoring with packet broker and monitoring tools has become really costly, and can easily scale into the hundreds of thousands – even into the millions for a large implementation,” he said. “Pluribus’ technology integrates the analytics into the network. The network itself becomes the sensor, and does data collection with no agents. It works with any network, is scalable – up to web scale – and affordable.”

Harris stressed their approach has been validated by both Cisco and VMware, who both have taken moves to do the same thing, Cisco through its Tetration Analytics platform, and VMware through its acquisition of Arkin.

“Both Cisco and VMware have also moved to integrate analytics into the network,” he said. “We saw that earlier, and implemented it faster. Cisco’s technology only works with their new switches, and with VMware, you have to install the Arkin software. Both are very expensive, priced for the Fortune 500. We are able to deliver the capability at a much lower price point – on average 70 to 80 per cent cheaper.”

Harris said that Pluribus’ approach really can deliver state of the art network monitoring for the masses – for everyone who can’t afford the more expensive solutions, or who don’t want to pay that much.

“We looked at this very hard, in terms of defining what our true addressable market is for this,” he said. “We would love to be able to deliver this to what we call the Fortune 10,000. These are companies who have a data centre, but which might be as small as one rack, one switch and 15 servers, and who spend under $300,000 total on IT. We really do think with the pricing that we have today we can bring this to this market — anyone who wants to have monitoring.”

Finally, Pluribus also announced the VCF Flow Collector, which is hosted on any hypervisor to instrument the vSwitch.

“For analytics to happen, you need flows of information,” Harris said. “You install a Flow Collector as a virtual image anywhere you have a hypervisor, to collect a flow of data, and it communicates that data to VCFcenter.

Harris indicated the Flow Collector allows Pluribus to use nothing but software to provide the analytics, as well as provide access to data flows that are often missed.

“Where the VMs only communicate to each other, if you are not on the vSwitch, you would never see that flow of information,” he said. “It’s ubiquitous data collection.”

VCFcenter is deployed on standard SuperMicro and Dell commodity hardware, and as two possible models – an Out of Band Flow Broker and a VCF Converged Analytics Fabric. Pricing for a bundle that supports 10 million flows lists at $USD 50,000 with support costing a further $7,500 for one year or $20,000 for three. A larger bundle supporting 100 million flows lists at $75,000, with the two support packages priced at $12,500 and $30,000 respectively.

“We will soon be announcing support for a billion flow bundle in August,” Harris added.

Pluribus sees the VCFcenter as further strengthening channel appeal for their solution.

“There is tremendous pent-up channel demand for an affordable and easily consumable network monitoring solution,” Harris said. “This is a $50,000 to $75,000 adventure, which means it isn’t just for their largest customers. They just haven’t had anything before in this price range for this market.”

The VCFcenter platform, the VCF Insight Analytics 2.0 application, and a VCF/Supermicro Bundle are available now. The VCF Shark and VCF Flow Collector will be available July 29. Pluribus will be doing demonstrations of the new offerings at the Cisco Live! event in Las Vegas through July 13.