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When a senior network engineering lead of a public employees’ retirement system helped design the datacenter powering its new member site, he knew he needed to make reliability and security a priority. Access to the online portal is vital as it provides more than 1.5 million members information about their retirement and healthcare benefits.The network engineering lead highlighted the importance of giving these dedicated civil servants convenient, consistent access to information and the applications that supply it. One of his key goals was to gain full visibility into the entire network, so his team could troubleshoot accurately — and quickly — any issues that arose after the beta testing stage.

Selecting a Solution

The project’s network engineering lead was also familiar with Gigamon from his previous roles at other organizations, and he knew the power the vendor could deliver.“When we compared Gigamon to a competitor during the evaluation phase, one of the key deciding factors was its reliable performance, especially as we migrated our network from 10Gb to 40Gb,” he explained. After careful planning, he chose to install Gigamon GigaVUE® Visibility Nodes in strategic spots throughout the network, so he could achieve better visibility into activity.

Maximizing Tool Efficiency

The organization also installed a number of inline bypass TAPs in front of its FireEye appliances. Gigamon and FireEye solutions work in tandem to help ensure the organization can thwart advanced cyber threats. The Gigamon Visibility and Analytics Fabric™ reduces network complexity, costs and security appliance contention for data, all while delivering relevant traffic to the FireEye solution, thus enabling the organization to quickly investigate and protect itself from malicious activity.

The combined solution also ensures that the networking and security team’s goals are met without overtaxing the network. Gigamon feeds only the relevant information to tools, ensuring they are not overwhelmed by unnecessary data. This helps reduce the number of SPAN ports required by the networking and security teams — and lowers the organization’s overall security tool budget. In an age where budgets are stretched more thinly than ever, this savings in OpEx is indispensable.“Sometimes, data has to traverse through multiple 10Gb connections to find the best path to a security tool, literally traveling down two separate pieces of cable, and Gigamon’s packet slicing capabilities enable us to get the proper throughput for this,” said the network engineer.

Recently, the organization needed to do a head-to-head comparison of several vendors’ software appliances. It simply plugged them into its Gigamon GigaVUE-HC2 node and was able to replicate the exact same conditions — same data, same splice point, same fiber, same hardware. This direct comparison was the fairest way to evaluate multiple vendors and greatly reduced the amount of time required for the evaluation. In the end, it enabled the customer to confidently select the best solution for the organization’s needs.Additionally, by using Gigamon in combination with IBM’s Tealeaf, the customer service team can now reference previously recorded web sessions during conversations with clients and explain to them what may have gone wrong. Given that the organization already had a GigaVUE-HC2 node in place, it simply added another module to support the Tealeaf integration. Then, it leveraged Tealeaf and Gigamon reference architecture to capture all visitor interactions with web-based applications, and troubleshoot why a given user did, or did not, complete a transaction successfully.


“Gigamon is essential for us. We rely on it on a daily basis,” said the network engineering lead. “It provides a great foundation for us to scale our network as its traffic continues to grow."