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Linux appliance analyzes gigabit networks

Oct 27, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Network management specialist Wildpackets is shipping a Linux-powered appliance used by network administrators to analyze full- or half-duplex gigabit Ethernet traffic. The “Omnipliance” is based on a 3U rack-mount Intel Xeon server, and runs Red Hat Linux along with Wildpackets's flagship “OmniEngine”… software.

(Click for larger view of OmniPliance Linux)

The Omnipliance is available with up to four network interface cards, such as:

  • WACs (WAN analyzer cards, Windows-only version)
    • T1/E1
    • T3/E3/DS3

  • GACs (Gigabit analyzer cards)
    • XL-4 — 4 x SFP (small form-factor pluggable) optical transceiver cages
    • XL-4T — 4 x 10/100/1000Base-T (RJ-45s) (photo)
    • XL-2+2T 2 x 10/1001000Base-T (RJ-45) and 2 x SFP cages (photo)
    • Intel Quad (photo)

The “OmniEngine” software, on which the OmniPliance is based, aims to provide:

  • Analysis and monitoring of distributed networks
  • Multi-layer expert analysis
  • Application analysis
  • Network forensics
  • VoIP (voice-over-IP) analysis

Additionally, OmniEngine features an open API, and a “growing family” of free plug-ins, according to Wildpackets.

Standard PC hardware

The Omnipliance is based on a “dual Xeon processor” clocked at 3GHz or 3.4GHz. It comes standard with 2GB of RAM, upgradable to 4GB. The device boots and runs its Red Hat Linux-based OS from an 80GB SATA drive, and also comes standard with a pair (upgradable to eight) of 500GB SATA drives for data storage, configured in RAID 0.

I/O includes standard PC ports, plus:

  • 8-lane PCI-Express slot
  • 3 x 133MHz PCI-X
  • 1 x 100MHz PCI-X
  • 2 x 10/100/1000 gigabit Ethernet

The Omnipliance has a front bezel LCD panel and keypad for quick configuration, along with a client-server interface that works with an available “OmniPeek” Windows client. A browser interface limited to use with Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser also appears to be available.

The Omnipliance is optionally available with “Splunk Server,” a commercial software package aimed at centralizing Linux server logs and simplifying analysis thereof.

Product Manager Mandana Javaheri replied, “With the Omnipliance Linux, IT organizations that prefer Linux can take advantage of the expert analysis, application analysis, and VoIP analysis available through our OmniAnalysis Platform.”


The Omnipliance Linux is available now, priced at $25,000. Full-duplex GACs cost about $8,000. Intel's $2,000 Quad GT is also available as a low-cost half-duplex alternative, the company says. A version of the device is also available with Microsoft Windows 2003 Server.

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