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Flow Analysis Suffers From a Bad Case of “Feature-itis”

January 27, 2009

The network behavioral analysis market never really took off. I’ve personally always been a big fan of the idea of analyzing the network flows and using that to figure out how what is going on in the network. This is useful from both a network planning, as well as a security perspective. But more from a network planning, if I’m to be honest.

Maybe that was the problem. Due to the vagaries of venture capital and how some markets are “perceived” to be hotter than others, the vendors in the space always seemed to focus on security – rather than it’s true calling.

But ultimately that doesn’t matter now. There are a scant few independent vendors that offer flow detection. Mostly it’s a feature of a different solution. For instance, there are at least two SIEM vendors (us being one of them) that offer flow detection as another data source for analysis.

Riverbed recently announced an acquisition of Mazu Networks for $25 million (and a mostly unachievable earn-out of $22 million), though Riverbed maintains that they will keep Mazu separate. Since there wasn’t really an independent market before, it’s not clear why there would be one moving forward.

We’ve seen this cycle repeat over and over again. A technology innovation happens, then falls a bit short of market expectations, and eventually the products are subsumed into other technologies. I laughingly call it “featuritis.” Many technologies become features. It’s happened with NBA and it’ll happen with other technologies.

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