Start-up Sideband Networks models live network traffic to spot trouble

Start-up Sideband Networks today came out of stealth mode with an appliance that it says can model live traffic to give visibility into applications and user devices in order to solve performance problems.

Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Sideband Networks was founded by its CEO Zane Taylor and chief marketing officer Sherman Tang. Its appliance can be used to model live traffic at Layers 2 to 7 at up to 40G bit/sec in the network core or other network points where visibility about applications and devices is needed.

"We can pull out patterns and events before they become an issue," says Tang, claiming the monitoring tool can be used for predictive analysis to determine where network performance problems are arising, with recommendations on addressing them as well.

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This might include creating policies to throttle back traffic under certain bandwidth conditions. Sideband says its application performance management approach bears some comparison with that from Riverbed and NetScout, but the start-up believes it will distinguish its product through its live alerting system.

Taylor, formerly vice president of operations at FireEye, says the discovery capabilities of the appliance will help network managers be fully aware of devices on the network, including mobile ones used in "Bring Your Own Device" fashion by employees. "One challenge for administrators is knowing who's on the network and what applications are being used," he points out. The Sideband tool can also be used for simulation and network modeling.

Sideband was founded November 2012 and has received private angel investments of $2 million.

The Sideband appliance (also available in software-based virtual-machine form factor) ranges in price, but the appliance can be expected to cost about $60,000, less for software-based versions that can work together on the network.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail:

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