Shipping Supplier Overcomes Visibility Issues

ACI Data Center Environment Improves with Keysight and ExtraHop

A large national provider of packing and shipping supplies operates multiple modern data centers based on Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI), a software-defined approach built to ensure agility and dynamic scale. To net the greatest value from investments in ACI, network and data center visibility need to be agile and dynamic, too and that wasn’t the case for this Midwest provider with its previous visibility solution.

The Way Forward

While updating the data centers to feature ACI’s network security-centric approach, trusted advisors from CDW had recommended deploying ExtraHop’s RevealX performance monitoring solution to monitor and analyze traffic alongside a well-known visibility solution. Soon after refreshing the centers, the company’s IT began encountering issues with the previous network packet brokers (NPBs) becoming oversubscribed. As they did so, the solution couldn’t keep up with the amount of traffic being sent its way or perform deduplication and other advanced visibility functions reliably—and began dropping packets that might contain data vital to monitoring performance and security.

At this point, CDW suggested the client’s IT team consider upgrading to a Keysight Visibility Fabric to improve performance and scale and deliver better data to monitoring tools for analysis. The plan called for new packet brokers to aggregate and send analysis-ready traffic to RevealX, Cisco Firepower firewalls, and monitoring solutions from other premier Keysight alliance partners.  

Related Content: ExtraHop’s RevealX

Vision Provides a More Powerful and Cost-effective Approach

CDW worked closely with the company’s IT director, director of enterprise network services, and several infrastructure architects and senior network engineers to evaluate prospective new visibility solutions. The most important selection criteria included resolving the known issues with oversubscription to prevent any dropped packets and to improve the quality of data being sent to network performance monitoring (NPM) and security tools.

Keysight’s architecture and GUI excelled during evaluations. The Keysight engineering team built a mockup of the manufacturer’s environment and worked with CDW and ExtraHop to conduct a series of product demonstrations. Keysight’s Vision intelligent packet brokers, PacketStack+ software, and industry-best user interface (UI) topped the list of competitive advantages.

Vision packet brokers consistently handled the removal of duplicate packets at line rate—and at scale—and proved able to perform other advanced visibility functions as traffic volumes increased—all without dropping packets. Vision demonstrated advanced filtering capabilities like stripping off unwanted ACI headers and filtering out traffic from certain VLANs and IP ranges without causing performance to degrade.

After witnessing the product demonstrations, the IT team decided to migrate its existing infrastructure to a Keysight visibility fabric featuring high-end Vision X packet brokers deployed in two major Midwest data centers and Vision 400 appliances installed at smaller regional sites.

Proven Partnerships Pay Dividends

Working in tandem with ExtraHop and other monitoring solutions, Keysight’s Visibility Fabric delivers the real-time data, superior architecture, high-performance monitoring, and ease of use the shipping supplies provider needs to maximize the value of its investment in ACI. Keysight’s highly regarded user interface also lets analysts create much more complex filtering rules and policies as the infrastructure scales and changes.  

The Keysight visibility fabric eliminates the performance trade-offs the company incurred with its prior solution by allowing the team to increase capacity and improve quality simultaneously.  Evaluators believe the Keysight backplane and its ability to process data can support the customer’s needs without the packet brokers becoming exhausted as the company continues to grow.  The company is able to migrate to 100G capacities using the new visibility solution while at the same time achieving better sampling across its leaves in ACI.


As the rollout progresses, the team expects to achieve faster analysis and resolution of performance and security issues based on more reliable data from its network. Keysight’s capacity, ease of use, and the high quality of support from the CDW, Keysight and ExtraHop team positions the company to grow quickly for the foreseeable future.