Caspian, which formerly targeted the core router market, today announced partnerships with CacheLogic Ltd. and Shenick Software Systems Ltd., aiming to help service providers find and act upon P2P sessions. CacheLogic would provide Layer 7 inspection of each packet, and Shenick would offer the tools for quantifying P2P traffic and emulating its effect on bandwidth (see Caspian Intros New P2P Control and CacheLogic: Another P-Cube?).
The resulting triad looks a lot like the team Cisco has amassed. The company is acquiring P-Cube Inc., which has made a name for itself in corralling P2P traffic. Cisco has also acquired Parc Technologies Ltd., which develops routing optimization software, and invested in Corvil Ltd., which makes appliances for IP-network capacity planning. (See Cisco Plucks P-Cube for $200M, Cisco's Parc Purchase: An MPLS Play, and Corvil: Another Cisco Secret?.)
"It's very much like what Cisco's doing," says Jeff Ogle, an analyst at Current Analysis. And the comparisons don't stop there. "If you look at Alcatel's 7750 Service Router platform, it's about managing things by traffic flows as opposed to, say, Juniper's approach of having tons of knobs and buttons for QOS in the IP network," Ogle says.
All this activity stems from the discovery that P2P flows have the potential to paralyze networks by sucking up most of the available bandwidth. Companies such as P-Cube aim to identify P2P sessions, allowing carriers to either limit the bandwidth alotted to those sessions or terminate them entirely. Other companies in the market include Allot Communications and Ellacoya Networks Inc.. (See Cisco Reroutes Traffic Management and the Light Reading report, Flow-Based Networking.)
The idea is to let the network react in real time when P2P sessions are discovered. "You can think of this almost as a dynamic QOS applied by the network internally as opposed to an edge QOS that the service provider would pre-configure for you," Ogle says.
Caspian's routers would first identify which flows are lasting for unusually long times, one hallmark of a P2P download. CacheLogic's software would than analyze packets within the suspect flows to determine what's going on, says Dallas Kachan, Caspian director of marketing.
Some analysts expect Cisco to integrate the P-Cube functions into routers eventually. Could the same thing happen between Caspian and CacheLogic? Possibly, but Kachan says there's no immediate plan to try it. "I would say there's no technology barrier to doing it. It's just [a question of] time and customer demand," he says.
Ellacoya and P-Cube will be among the speakers discussing P2P traffic at Light Reading's Next Generation Services Roadshow, a seminar being held September 13 in New York and September 15 near San Francisco. For more information (in .pdf format), click here.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading
For more on this topic, check out:
- The Heavy Reading report:
— Next-Generation Routers: A Comprehensive Product Analysis
- Controlling P2P: Who’s Stealing Your Bandwidth?
- Flow-Based Networking: A Better Business Model for IP?
- QOS Characteristics of New Carrier Services: What’s Required