Being able to look deep inside IP packets at real-time speeds is becoming more critical for network security and QoS applications. Start-up Bivio Networks is trying to take advantage of that trend with a special-purpose platform that handles inline packet inspection at gigabit speeds.
"We have the de facto platform for deep packet inspection services and applications," says Bivio CEO Elan Amir. "Our platform is becoming more important with the proliferation of gigabit networking…and the need for security devices."
For the last few years, Bivio has sold its special-purpose system to manufacturers of security devices including Arbor Networks, Check Point and Sourcefire. Now the start-up is selling direct to government agencies and integrators.
"Around 18 months ago, we started selling direct to government organizations," Amir said. "We’re selling direct under the Bivio brand. It’s becoming a major part of our business."
Amir said that Bivio had 20% of its business direct and 80% from OEMs last year. This year, he anticipates the percentages will shift to 40% direct and 60% through OEMs.
Bivio says its expertise is in its architecture.
"We are a system company and a networking company," Amir said. "We have built a hardware architecture that is very different from a PC or any application out there. It’s a combination of parallel processing, network processing and high-speed interconnect….We are the leaders in building this new type of network platform focused on deep packet inspection."
Bivio’s system architecture is proprietary, but the company’s network devices meet all relevant IETF standards.
"It’s as sophisticated as a Cisco router or a Foundry switch. But rather than switching or routing, it provides a computational environment in Linux," Amir said.
Bivio has shipped more than 400 systems during the last two years. Earlier this year, the company introduced the Bivio 7000, which is a 10G platform. The company’s systems range in price from $10,000 to $100,000.
Initially, the company’s primary direct market has been government agencies in North America, Europe and Asia.
"They have their own requirements, a lot of them being classified, and they have their own software," Amir said. "What they are looking for is a platform on which they can develop software applications and deploy network solutions."
Rivals in this market include CloudShield Technologies.
"We are getting some interest from banks, particularly in the area of financial transaction performance," Amir said. "In this application, we provide the packet capture, inspection, classification, computation and analysis. On top of that runs a suite of software that can interact with the financial-based systems."
Bivio was founded in 2000 and has 60 employees. It’s privately held and has raised over $60 million in venture capital.