Containerizing capture analysis to save your network

2 mins

Containerizing your cloud-based packet capture analysis solution can provide a significant advantage for network operations and security teams. Let your analysts focus more on solving issues and less on how to meet your company’s IT and deployment requirements.

The continuing move to the cloud

Your IT team is under constant pressure to maintain uptime, manage security, and satisfy users while doing so with as few resources as possible. Fortunately, cloud solutions have made this significantly easier, simplifying procurement, deployment, and security.

Things have taken a step even further with the move towards containerization. This breaks up software components into easily manageable chunks that improve redundancy and reduce costs.

When it comes to cloud solutions, however, the IT industry often overlooks the analysis tools used for tracking, investigating, and reporting on networking issues and security incidents. Packet capture recording and analysis software, in particular, suffers from this, causing missed opportunities for efficiency and operational gains for your network and security operations teams.

The benefits of containerization

Containerized software is the natural evolution of the virtualization seen in the last few decades. The practice offers many benefits for anyone deploying software in their organization and across networked resources.

Containers save resources

The cloud world is governed by billing-by-use - memory, throughput, storage, and computational cycles. With traditional virtualization, a single system will use all of these elements much like they would if they were deployed on their own hardware.

With containers, each component of an overall application - user interface, database, processing engines, etc. - can be deployed with their own dedicated resources. This means that they are using only what they need when they need to do so, and your IT teams can break down these resources for redundancy and load balancing. Moreover, container solutions tend to use fewer resources overall than their traditional cloud counterparts.

Containers simplify deployment, upgrades, and recovery

By far the biggest benefit of containerization is the ease with which they can be deployed and upgraded. The start-up cost in both time and resources is lower with container deployments. Maintenance is also easier, as individual components of an application can be upgraded independently, often without affecting the other components. 

Containers provide a great buffer for the recovery of critical systems, too. Since they can be started faster and independently of other components, applications distributed in containers are easier to recover and help provide for greater uptime and reliability.

The benefits of cloud-based capture analysis

Network packet capture analysis tools tend to be overlooked as tools that can benefit from modern software deployment models and end up installed locally on workstations or field laptops. This means your organization is missing out on a massive simplification and improvement on the packet capture process, focusing on security, collaboration, and record-keeping.

Save data for retrospective analysis

Capture data that can be easily accessed in a cloud application is perfect for performing retrospective analysis or providing the context for researching incidents using historical data. Sometimes an issue is caused by something seen before. The ability to search through all of your packet capture data with standardized cloud interfaces lets your team quickly find answers through problems already solved, or apply new information to an unresolved issue from the past. 

Keep your data secure and recoverable

Packet capture data is extremely powerful but also extremely sensitive. Captures contain everything that happened on the network, including customer data, passwords, and more. The centralization provided by a cloud-based packet capture solution allows organizations to keep that information secure, rather than getting lost or copied into multiple locations. Moreover, keeping captured data all together in a cloud environment is much safer if you need to recover the entire system - and all of that important data - in the event of loss or failure.

Share and collaborate across teams

Traditional packet analysis applications that are installed natively force your engineers and analysts to rely on file storage (or worse, email attachments) to collaborate on incident data. Putting capture data in a centralized repository that can be analyzed through a browser or accessed through RESTful APIs greatly simplifies the workflow around packet captures, eliminates duplicate work, and lets your IT staff and network analysts share expertise in real-time while looking at capture data.

Putting it together

Combining a cloud-based packet capture analysis solution with the power of containers is a significant advantage for a number of reasons:

  1. It allows you to deploy their network analysis solutions just as easily as you would any other service for your users, with the same procurement, deployment, and security processes. 
  2. It allows for easy integration with cloud-based network management solutions that offer native packet capture capability (like those provided by Mist, Meraki, or Cradlepoint.
  3. It combines well with cloud-based SDN solutions that offer virtual interfaces for collecting network data (such as VPC traffic mirroring on Amazon Web Services).
  4. It provides for greater redundancy, efficiency, and protection of your sensitive packet capture data.

Ultimately, building a capture management and analysis solution in this way lets your IT, network operations, or security teams focus on issues rather than dedicating resources to the tools they use. This not only saves the network but makes your lives easier - turning you into an IT superhero.

CloudShark Enterprise can be easily deployed in a container environment. Learn more.