World's largest temporary network relies on proactive monitoring
Background: When IT professionals and business leaders from around the world want to see the latest technology innovations, they head for Interop, the leading global technology event with the most comprehensive IT Conference and Exhibition. Interop is staged annually at locations around the world with shows in 2009 in Las Vegas, Mumbai, New York, and Tokyo. Interop is a media brand owned by Tech Web - A division of UBM and provides more than 13.3 million business technology professionals with content and tools to make strategic technology decisions.
Challenges: InteropNet is the network that serves the event and it has many unique characteristics. It is the largest temporary network in the world, serving tens of thousands of end users. The network "lives" for only five days at a time but it absolutely needs to deliver what one NOC engineer termed "101% uptime" because how would it look for the industry's high-tech showcase to have a down network? Besides the effect of a single outage on the ability of conference vendors to demonstrate their products, the impact on conference productivity would be tremendous.
InteropNet is unique in other ways, too. It would be hard to imagine a network that more seriously illustrates the meaning of "multi-vendor," with more than 500 top vendors from throughout the IT industry showcasing their latest products. In fact, some of the products may still be in their alpha or beta test phases and might behave in a manner rarely seen on "normal" production networks.The NOC team is multi-vendor as well, with 30+ volunteers drawn from industry, universities, and even the technical press. The necessity of repeatedly tearing down the network shipping it to a new location and rebuilding it in ten days is yet another unique challenge.
Best Deployment Scenario - Information Monitoring and Filtering Solution
Solution provided: The NOC team met these challenges by building a physically separate network dubbed SpyNet for management and monitoring traffic. The backbone of SypNet was the Net Optics Director data monitoring switch a traffic access appliance with aggregation, regeneration, switching, rate conversion, RMON statistic generation, and filtering capabilities. Five Director chassis were daisy-chained to provide a single logical system physically distributed around the conference locations. The five chassis together provided 136 network and monitoring tool ports supporting 1 Gigabit and 10 Gigabit fiber and copper media. Using Net Optics Indigo management software, NOC professionals could easily view the link status and activity throughout the InteropNet.
They could also direct traffic from any feed to any tool connected to Director, regardless of the match between the link and tool speeds and media types. For example a 1 Gigabit copper link could be monitored by a 10 Gigabit fiber tool just as easily as with a 1 Gigabit copper tool. Furthermore Director's filtering capabilities enabled operators to select traffic of interest on any link to prevent tool oversubscription and to drill down into problems. The distributed Director system replaced a traffic access solution used in previous events that had a much larger footprint and required running 36 fiber pairs to a central location, as opposed to the single fiber pair interconnecting Director chassis. All of the link tapping needs were satisfied either directly with Director or using Net Optics fiber and copper Taps and regeneration Taps providing the efficiency of a single-vendor solution.
Summary: The bottom line was that the InteropNet delivered high reliability, security, and performance at the events. The NOC team reported noticeably fewer trouble tickets being generated and the tickets that did show up closed more quickly than in the past. With the best monitoring tools the industry had to offer and 100 percent traffic visibility provided by SpyNet and Director, most network issues were resolved before users were ever impacted. The contribution of Director to the InteropNet's success was so significant that Director brought home two awards from Interop Tokyo: the Best of Interop Network Security Product Special Prize and the Best of Interop ShowNet Special Prize.
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