Napatech Pandion records 4x 10GbE streams

MWC 2016: When you need to see and search every packet

Napatech logoNapatech had one of the coolest devices at MWC, the Pandion network recorder. If you need to capture four 10GbE streams for more than a second or two, your appliance has arrived.

The box itself doesn’t look like much, a standard 2U server with a plastic front vanity panel reminiscent of the Dell servers from a few years ago. Then again anyone deploying these things isn’t concerned about how aesthetically pleasing they are, users probably don’t even know where the box is physically located much less how it color-coordinates with the top of rack switch. They are much more concerned that the Pandion does things they couldn’t do before and helps them solves problems they previously could not tackle.

Napatech MWC demo box

This is not a Pandion but shares the NICs with them

The picture above is not a Pandion, the ones at MWC were installed in racks and didn’t look too photogenic. This box is a dual Xeon demo unit with an assortment of Napatech high end NICs, some of which push packets in Pandion boxes. If you noticed the pleural that is because there are two Pandions, the low end 20 and the higher end Flex.

Both units can capture 4x 10GbE streams with nanosecond time stamps at full line rate. Although it wasn’t said, if you can do 4x 10GbE you probably can spec it out as 1x 40GbE but anyone who really needs the functionality of a Pandion will have little problem splitting or reassembling a feed. From there Napatech promises no packet loss, fast search, a RESTful API, and a web based GUI. In short it is about as simple a plug and play setup as you can ask for on an high level network appliance.

If you have the ‘little’ Pandion 20, you can store a ‘mere’ 28TB at ‘only’ 20Gbps capture rate but it still has 4x 10GbE ports. Plus two more 10GbE ports for management. And two more 1GbE ports for more management, you can never have enough management, at least in the US. The bigger Flex has the same outs but allows for a full 40Gbps capture rate and has 72TB on board that can be expanded to 648TB via 2U storage expanders.

Running the numbers, 40Gbps is 5GBps, 300GB per minute, or 18TB an hour. Even the ‘little’ box can do a lot for debug and diagnostic tasks, at it’s half rate capture speed you are looking at over 3 hours, 4 for the 72TB Flex. Those needing to do regulatory and related work probably need to step up to the Flex but no matter which one you pick, the capabilities of the Napatech Pandion are pretty impressive.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate