Permanent network TAPs for complex infrastructure

* Network test access ports

Permanent network TAPs for complex infrastructure

By Alastair Hartrup

Network test access ports were developed as portable diagnostic tools to gain temporary, out-of-band, nonintrusive access to traffic between two network devices.

Today, TAPs are available for permanent deployment in the data center, helping enterprises manage complex infrastructures. Leveraging a permanent out-of-band network access platform (permanent TAP), users are able to maintain 24/7 network visibility and real-time management benefits without affecting network performance.

SPAN (mirrored switch ports) and other network deployment methods once held their own, but the increasing data load placed on these tools is severely affecting enterprise infrastructure management.

Permanent TAP solutions avoid bandwidth pitfalls by establishing an out-of-band platform to deploy any critical network device. With a physical TAP integrated in a desired network segment, the out-of-band device has uninterrupted, hardware-level visibility into the tapped network traffic, without having to compete for access and, most importantly, without affecting network flow.

The detailed visibility that permanent TAPs provide is ideal for enterprise monitoring and management, giving TAP-attached devices the ability to identify errors and events — including link-layer events — within the network.

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Hartrup is founder and CEO of Network Critical. He can be reached at –

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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