This week ExtraHop Networks announced that its wire data analytics platform now supports the streaming of data to MongoDB (amongst other places). The product already provided Open Data Streams (ODS) for Splunk and VMware Log Insight (and this week’s announcement also includes ODS for Elasticsearch) but where the MongoDB announcement is interesting is that it paves the way for ExtraHop’s wire data to be brought into a NoSQL environment, common in Big Data architectures.
Well, as I outlined in MWD’s recent report on the Big Data vendor landscape, ExtraHop is one of a new breed of players able to contribute ‘specialist sources’ of data to enrich the processing of Big Data analytics.
ExtraHop’s technology may well have been designed with network and application management in mind, and indeed that’s clearly still a focus for how the product’s marketed. However, the payload and content it can stream comes from all the protocol layers between L2 and L7 (i.e. the link, network, transport, session, presentation, and applications layers) and whilst the lower layers are certainly more interesting to network managers, those upper application function layers can contain valuable customer-tagged web session data. When the pursuit of the most well-rounded, real-time customer view is paramount then this represents a significant contribution to your data enrichment program.
The ability now to release such data from the confines of the ExtraHop analytics platform (and predominantly the preserve of network / applications management use cases) and combine it with machine data, human-generated data, and other sources in an open source NoSQL database (plus the option to go further still and use MongoDB as a staging post itself, enriching ever wider from Hadoop or enterprise data warehouses), puts these wire data sources firmly on the Big Data map.
Though these wider applications of IT Operations Analytics are starting to be mentioned in case study quotes, it’s still not yet at the forefront of ExtraHop’s own publicity (today the company’s homepage still focuses on “application performance, availability, and security”). However, for those with Big Data analytics problems at extremes of speed, it could be time to look beyond the network traffic use cases to think more in terms of what this data can tell you about customer journeys… and make these specialist sources your special sauce