Guaranteeing packet capture with zero packet loss is no longer enough; it is merely the first step in guaranteeing delivery of packets for analysis!
To guarantee delivery you have to consider not only the design of the intelligent network adapter, but also the configuration of the server in which it resides. Understanding how server architecture affects guaranteed delivery is key to assuring that packet loss does not occur.
Capturing packets at line-rate is merely the starting point. It is also important to consider how the analysis application is designed and how it uses CPU and cache resources. It is also important to realize that with even the best design, congestion situations can occur that can delay packets in being delivered, which means that buffering capabilities are essential. Robust design of intelligent network adapters to assure long-term operation in low air-flow environments is also important.
In this brief, we provide an insight into these issues based on our experience with working with over 100 OEM providers of network appliances. We also provide some guidelines into how to avoid potential issues that can help network appliance designers to rethink and optimize their design.