As most businesses are now completely dependent on computer networks, they are also at the mercy of their malfunctions. The costs associated with regular failures and network downtime are massive: surveys have put the average at around EUR 30 000 per hour, and average losses at around EUR 5 million each year. In data centres, increasingly fundamental for digitised societies both in the EU and around the world, costs can reach a staggering EUR 4 000 per minute. Most current network visibility and security products that deal with such issues are hardware-based, and very expensive. Licence costs must be paid upfront and deploying network monitoring often means specialised technicians must be called out, leading to further losses in time and money. This means solutions are not widely spread enough, and network problems are. SDN-Polygraph, an EU-funded project, has developed a cloud-based monitoring solution that can spot and even mitigate malfunctions in the networks, flexible software with an equally flexible costing plan and unique features. “The first requirement to avoid malfunctions and correctly operate a network is network visibility,” explains SDN-Polygraph project coordinator Dr Valentín Carela-Español. This means giving engineers the ability to understand what exactly is happening within the networks: seeing which applications are being used, detecting and mitigating attacks, and rooting out the causes behind performance issues. The project’s aim was to create a scalable, cloud-based, zero-hardware network visibility and security solution, as part of the technical revolution currently underway known as Software Defined Networking (SDN). SDN allows networks to incorporate software components to make it programmable, flexible and more resilient. The solution was SDN-Polygraph, a piece of software running in the cloud that can be activated with just one click and will seamlessly collect and analyse data, such as network traffic statistics, to pinpoint problems speedily. It can also act on the network to mitigate attacks, such as DDoS, which can bring systems down through a distributed flood of incoming traffic. SDN-Polygraph, which can be easily applied to almost any existing computer network, can work with either traditional or SDN networks. “All the original objectives have been achieved,” says Dr Carela-Español. “However, they have also been redefined, to focus on traditional networks due to the limited and slow introduction of SDN networks in the market.” Dr Carela-Español says it’s difficult to select just one thing to be most proud of from the project, and that the company was pleased to have received support from EU funding. “Probably the most important development for us, thanks to the project, is our ability to take our idea to a scale that would have been inconceivable for a small company like ours. It’s taken years, but all our efforts have paid off.” Indeed, the EU-funded project not only led to the development of a successful piece of technology, but also meant that the company, Talaia Networks, could grow. “We went from three full time employees to 10-12 full time employees, and this allowed the company to grow in all possible directions,” says Dr. Carela-Español.
SDN-Polygraph, networks, computer attack, defence, SDN, specialists, software, hardware